Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Robert Mitton
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Introducing Robert Mitton
Today’s guest joining us on the show, is a man with his finger on the pulse.
There is a truth in business, especially online businesses that it’s all about community.
Build a community around you and you build flag-bearers, supporters and a captive audience of loyal customers ready to buy and help your business grow.
But how do you get to the point of knowing how this all works, and most importantly being able to teach others?
How The Dots Joined Up For Robert
Well, he started off his career in the travel industry, at a young age, he worked his way into management and gained experience in leadership and understanding what motivated a team.
Within the role, he developed an understanding of the importance of transcultural leadership and the impact this has on a business through innovation and motivation.
Which lead him to where he is today.
As our guest says “Throughout my career, I have understood that a community culture is needed to help power increased innovation and productivity in a workplace. From my practical research to working with different companies, I developed my consultancy in this field and have presented practical workshops that give leaders the inside knowledge on making this community-based culture work within a business.
The development of my understanding led me to write a book on the subject. Titled “How to Build a Community in your Business,”
So for our listeners building their own businesses, what is the quickest, but strongest way of gaining that community.
And are there common mistakes that he sees being made time and time again, even by people and companies that should know better?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with Robert Mitton.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Robert Mitton such as:
Why the United Kingdom are so poor at creating a community spirit in their towns and cities unlike other countries who seem to do it naturally
Robert explains how there are four key elements of building a community that makes a game changing community.
Why it is so important to encourage ownership within a community and get people to do their own thing to really make a community grow.
Robert shares the steps that he took to get his business off the ground, and the number one bug bear of his…..that can stop all companies from ever reaching their true potential.
Products By Robert Mitton
How To Connect With Robert Mitton
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Audio Transcription Of Robert Mitton
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes, hello, a good morning, everybody. Good morning. Good morning. Good morning. And welcome to another episode of the motivation or business coaching kind of random chatty kind of show, which is join up dots. And I’m delighted to have today’s guest on the show. He’s English. And probably he’s going into his beer today. Because last night, we got knocked out of the World Cup, it was all very depressing in our house. But now we’ve moved on from that now and we’re back on to the positive vibe that is the show. And he’s joining us on the show because he’s a man with his finger on the pulse. There is a truth in business, especially on the businesses, but it’s all about community build a community around you, and you build flag bearers, supporters and a captive audience of loyal customers ready to buy it and help your business grow. But how do you get to the point of knowing how this all works, and most importantly, being able to teach others Well, he started off his career in the travel industry at a young he worked his way into management, and gained experience in leadership and understanding what motivated IT team. Now within the role, he developed an understanding of the importance of trans cultural leadership, and the impact this has on a business through innovation and motivation, which leads him to where he is today. As he says, throughout my career, I’ve understood that community culture is needed to help power increase innovation, and productivity in a workplace. From my practical research to working with different companies, I’ve developed my consultancy in this field, and have presented practical workshops that give leaders the inside knowledge on making this community based culture work within a business. But development of my understanding led me to write a book on the subject titled How how to build a community in your business. So for all our listeners, building their own businesses, what’s the quickest, strongest way of gaining that community? And are there common mistakes that he sees being made time and time again, even by people and companies that should know better? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start join up dots with the one and only Mr. Robert Mitchell.
Robert Mitton [2:22]
Hey, I see that was pretty spectacular. There. Yeah. Well, they’re all heroes in my eyes. So I’m not sobbing about last night too much. But hey, thank you very much for having me in the introduction. It was great for that.
David Ralph [2:36]
It’s lovely to have you here, Robert. absolutely delightful. But yeah, yeah, I’ve got to get out of my system. I’ve got to get out of my system. It was like that, wasn’t it? You know, I said to my son, England is all about giving you a little bit glimpse of success, and then wiping it away at the very last minute and the whole time saying to my son is going to turn bad is going to turn bad. And he was saying, Are you a jinx? Like I could Jinx the whole world. But I’m not that kind of power. Right. Okay, so it’s out of my system. We are out of the World Cup. But well done, guys. You did your best. And that’s that’s what it all comes down to at the end doing your best. So Robert, you are an Englishman. You have got that English sexy talking about you. Really, you know, it sets the world on fire. Do you realize how powerful our voices?
Robert Mitton [3:25]
I do believe so? Yeah. Everywhere you go, especially because I’ve got this northern this in me as well. So like, hey, you’re English, but where exactly you’re from? And then I’m like, Well, you know, there’s a little bit in between Manchester in Scotland. And that’s where I’m from putting it on the map.
David Ralph [3:42]
Does that make a difference to the way that you see the world? Are you more pragmatic? Because the Northerners are more kind of down to a sort of industrial really, aren’t they? They see things in a different way. I’ve spoken to so many northern English people. And I certainly have a kind of, I don’t know, a dour way of looking at things which I love.
Robert Mitton [4:06]
Yeah, I mean, Nick, I guess so I think for me as well, I grew up in a very small rural town. So I’ve traveled a lot throughout my career. And I think, because I came from such a small community going out and traveling open my eyes a little bit more. So it made me more inquisitive and wanting to see more. And, and yeah, and I just feel sometimes, not many people get to do that. And they miss out on these experiences. And that’s what great, but yeah, definitely being sort of a Brit working in certain places, especially in education and trading, we still have a little waving of the union jack, their terms of how well we do it. So people see you in a good light, when they say hi, you’re British, and you’re in education and training. That’s great.
David Ralph [4:54]
So the word that jumped out on me was community now you grew up in a small community, she was saying, coming to frame the way that you look at your industry, the business that you’re in actually building a community because I grew up, I still live in the same town that I’ve always lived in. And I wouldn’t say it’s a community at all, it’s just a load of people that live next door to each other, as that kind of frame the way that you look at your life.
Robert Mitton [5:22]
In a way actually happen more when I was working overseas, you mentioned in the introduction, when I was working in the travel industry, you know, we as a community, we have to form pretty quickly, you know, you get a load of people working together in a hotel for a summer or winter season. And suddenly you are all these Brits thrown together in a little England scenario, and the community starts to bond. And that’s kind of where my interest in the whole subject actually came from. And it was interesting to see how a team got together. But yeah, you know what, it’s really different in the UK, I see more community when I go to sort of a countries, and that’s inspired me a lot more into how they use it to sort of develop more innovation. So stuff I would now like to bring back to the UK, you know, to help power of again, I think
David Ralph [6:17]
it is strange, isn’t it that we don’t connect in the United Kingdom? Do we we live in our own gardens, we put walls and fences all around us. And you know, I’ve lived in the same house for 20 years. I only know both sides. I don’t know one house further on. And I certainly don’t know the people across the road. We there’s no community at all, but
Robert Mitton [6:36]
certainly where I live, knows it’s so true. Yesterday, literally, I had a bit of a nightmare before the match, you know, my lock on my door was broken, I got the locks without and he asked the question. Oh, do you know any of the neighbors? So they could like help, but I actually stood there I went? No. So I think I knocked on the door yesterday not to introduce my neighbors for the first time.
David Ralph [7:01]
played outside. Robert, you didn’t miss anything. You wasted a few quid on that you should have been there. So how do you build a community in business fame, and certainly in the online world, we see it all the time where people are saying, you know, you’ve got to build a community, you’ve got to build a Facebook community, you’ve got to build this and back? Does it operate differently from an industry a corporation to somebody actually operating their own business? Or is there similarities?
Robert Mitton [7:29]
There are actually similarities. Interestingly, when I first did my research, and I wrote this book, it was actually written in the style of let’s look at this from an HR function. You know, I always say, you know, we all know good things come out of a community, wherever it’s a community of people living together, have a shared hobby, good things come out of it. So what I was trying to get from the research was really to say, why isn’t this within an organization. And it wasn’t until later on, when I halfway through writing the book and doing the research, that’s when I decided to build my business online, I realized then the methods that I’d learned from doing this from an HR function, and a consultancy could be applied to the online world. I mean, you know, I always say there’s these four different elements of build a community, you’ve got to have strong social capital, creative thinking, the sharing economy and motivation. I always say that the four main bits of the community and yeah, it’s, it’s actually totally the same. The only thing that I would say that’s different if you’re building like this online community, is you need to have this extra little thing called ownership, people need to feel like they own something, you know, they, they want to be able to say they have something within it. I guess that works with a lot of companies right?
David Ralph [8:49]
Now, what do you mean by that, then, so somebody who’s got like, I don’t this, we use the Facebook community, because that’s how most people do it online. Now, do somebody own about in there, but if they’re a member, been brought in by an admin, out of my own something,
Robert Mitton [9:05]
and whether they contribute to something that that could be a simple thing, and all my online learning community, we started this little thing called earn, learn and grow, you know, we produce the content, people learn from it, but they can make own content at the same time. And interestingly, when people do that, they become more active users on the website. And I made the mistake at the start, where I just opened the gates to the website to let people be free, and the ownership wasn’t there. And interestingly, over companies do it in different ways, as well. And there’s the brand of sort of white IPA, beard brew dog, and they give out little small, small, very small chunks of equity, which has ownership in it. And or people give out ideas, you know, just simple ideas like design, something that goes on to the cover of a product or something along those lines, it’s someone been involved in the process thinking,
David Ralph [9:57]
isn’t that interesting? Because, you know, I, I’ve got a Facebook community, I’ve got a couple of them, actually. And I do find that the majority of its me, it is one or two people that do a lot, and they’re really in there, and they engage. But the majority of its me, and I’ve often thought to myself, you know, what’s the point? You know, what’s the point? And I’ll be honest, you know, and these people in the group will listen, and these people will probably know about, I’m talking about them, but I spend time having one on ones with them, and encouraging them and really getting them and I go, yeah, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this. Every Friday, I’m going to do this. And every Monday, I’m going to do that. And I do it for like, one week I’ve been back it’s is kind of just drip dribbles away. So I’m doing this wrong vein, I should actually be giving them a little allotment, a little plot of land within the community for them to actually nurture and build their own stuff.
Robert Mitton [10:51]
Yeah, for sure. I had a similar problem with a neat community that I was running, I was always putting on events. To get people to every was like a London small business entrepreneur community. And the attendance wasn’t always that great. I mean, people started to come. But it was only when I had a community member come in saying, Hey, you know, can I do something in? Can we put it on? And I was like, Yeah, yeah, sure. And I think from that, people, notice that it wasn’t just me anymore, and people start chipping a little bit more. That helped me a lot with with that particular community,
David Ralph [11:27]
and said, what did this person do? So they came in? And how do you? How do you free yourself from feeling precious about it, so that the person doesn’t come in and do something really rubbish? And God, you know, it’s normally really good and on point, and what’s, what’s the point of this? I know,
Robert Mitton [11:44]
I was really sensitive about that, you know, I have this big thing is it is my community, my brand, you know, I don’t want anyone to disrupt. Yeah, I mean, to start, I always like, I mean, I never give this person sort of an administration role on the thing until, you know, we get to know each other a bit more. I’m always like, hey, yeah, you know, I’ll advertise the event, you just send me the details, I’ll see if it matches, and then we’ll put it on. And we’ll go with it from there. And, and, and that’s really way so I am giving a little bit trust, we’re not too much star. But and interestingly, yet, the trust is obviously a big thing. When you build it, I always say trust and transparency. And you’ve got to have these two things if you if you want this to go forward a little bit more.
David Ralph [12:27]
Right. Okay, so we’ve got trust and transparency. But let’s delve back into those four key elements because you will move em like a rocket. So what was the first one, but somebody can look at and think, am I doing this in my community? This is what I need to aim for.
Robert Mitton [12:43]
Yeah, so social capital, social capital is basically when social connections have meaning when people think they’re connecting to people, to help create something, or to do something to collaborate with something. And interestingly, if you do within an organization, you can test your current social capital, simple, like questionnaires, which you can send out to the team saying things like, when was the last time you collaborate with someone on this project? When was the last time someone helped you on this project? And similar questions like that, and if you know, when you get those answers back, if there’s not much writing, you know, you got low social capital, how you build that can be for, you know, events, it can be for people having like a way days team building, you know, they have to connect for it to happen. And I always say social capital is the first one that you should look up. And, and interestingly, you can totally look at it with it in an online community as well. With my online learning website, the same thing, you know, if I feel people aren’t interacting, I try and do like more webinars and get people involved. Someone takes over and runs their own event for me, you start to see the coke moving at this point with social capital.
David Ralph [14:06]
And that’s interesting, Ben, so all these, as I say, Facebook communities, where you just see the same person just whacking out working out working out, we should almost allow everybody to be admins of the group should we so that they can get in and actually do their own stuff?
Robert Mitton [14:22]
Yeah, definitely. Because I think for now, and I always say that what happens from there, this is where the magic starts to happen a little bit. Magic,
David Ralph [14:30]
magic, Robert, we like magic, this, this is the most positive I’ve heard you sound.
Robert Mitton [14:36]
From magic, you get, you basically get these sub communities that start. And this is where people go off, and they start to do their own thing. And they’re making things and they’re, they’re turning it around. And there is some great examples of companies that do this. And there’s an Australian software company called Atlassian. Every quarter, they go away, and they tell their team to work on whatever they want for 40 hours might not be related due to the work, but they do it and they come back. And what’s actually happened is the team has come together and they’ve joined forces. And so yeah, definitely getting people involved being creative is the answer without this section.
David Ralph [15:14]
So I suppose what we’re saying is, there’s a leader, but the leader isn’t there to lead it yet. It’s been to facilitate
Robert Mitton [15:22]
that to facilitate that to sow the seeds, right? You build your community, when you start to build something, you’re going to have the lead to be more of a dominant role. But as time goes on, in the communities forming, and people are starting to work with each other, you know, then they start to take a step back, but they still have to be like you said, facilitating it, because the minute things start to stop, then your whole community comes crumbling down. And that whole investment into the time of building it can go wrong. And I’ve seen communities do this before. And they they actually have to go back to square one.
David Ralph [16:02]
I wonder what’s the difference between a human community and say, a B community because a big community just get on with it? And they they’re busy bees, they they’re doing their things? And they’re whizzing around, everybody seems to know their task? And yes, there’s not any of them just sitting there going, what’s the point? You know, what’s the point just dislike the queen bee, put some more motivational images in and do a webinar, you know, they don’t do that. They just kind of do it. So I wonder why we sort of sit back waiting for somebody to, you know, really take the lead in all this?
Robert Mitton [16:34]
I think so. Yeah. The interesting thing is, one of the other key foundations I talked about is motivation. People have to have this intrinsic or self motivation to go and do it right. And that will only come if they want to be part of the community. That’s hard. I know if you’re building a community in a business, because these people are already working there. And they may say, Well, what’s the point of doing this? I just need to get with my work. Yeah. But something in person will be motivated by something. So he’s down to the leader to get to know what that motivation is. And to sort of use that to bring them into this this community way of working? Yeah, people and people can be very lazy and not want to do it, if they think what’s the point. And honestly, I think the reason to get people out of this is you let them build the community as much as you do. You know, if a managers tells you what to do, you’re not going to do it, right. But if you are building the community from day one, then it’s the ownership again, right? To kick back a
David Ralph [17:39]
bit, but I can see how that works in an office because I used to manage teams in offices. And I always used to build my community by kind of getting them to think but everybody thought they were crap. And let’s prove it, you know, it was us against the world kind of thing. And I found that worked really well. But we become a struggle, the unit and each of us was supporting each other. Is that the kind of thing that I should have been doing? Or is that kind of dark techniques?
Robert Mitton [18:09]
It could be a bit of both. And no, interestingly, what I would say that could work in that one is one of the other main blocks, which is the sharing economy. Look, I know this is a word that’s like thrown around a lot of the minute sharing economy, wine in people sharing
David Ralph [18:25]
around what they might do in your world. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard anybody say that.
Robert Mitton [18:31]
Okay, maybe it’s like a London bubble thing, you know, where people are saying, We live in a sharing economy. Now, the rise of sort of taxi hailing apps or people, you know, doing very thing, you know, it’s about what I’m talking about in this instance, is the sharing of skills. I mean, I guess you could say, it’s a positive swiping on what you were saying yourself. And, you know, here’s Barbara over here, she’s really good at something, I don’t know, let’s just say French, is Bob, he’s really good at coding, let them share their skills and learn from each other. So in a way you are getting to do that. Interestingly, it might not always be about a business related skill, but what you’re doing when you’re sharing skills in an organization is you’re creating social capital and motivation. So this is where all the little blocks of this like foundation start to sort of weld into one another. I would say
David Ralph [19:25]
you’re pushing people together, you’re you’re creating a new generation I think
Unknown Speaker [19:30]
here Yes. Wave is going to be our
David Ralph [19:34]
is going to be stuff going on Robert, after hours. You know, if you put Brenda with Balboa, whatever his name was beings they can receive the skills actually translate to somewhere else.
Robert Mitton [19:47]
That after after work French lesson might be a little bit more than the language or something, right?
David Ralph [19:51]
Yeah, I’ll tell you what, I start studying French straight away, I would mean, the World Cup finals, I don’t know how I feel about. Well, let’s play some words. Now let’s delve back into your story. Before course, we jump back into what makes a community is Tim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [20:10]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [20:36]
So let’s frame that with you. Are you doing what you love? Is this your key thing? Is it the thing that you just wake up getting really excited about? Or is it just something that you’re doing?
Robert Mitton [20:46]
No, it is. It’s something that I love. And I have been in jobs, which I don’t love. And I think now it’s what drove me to where I am now. If you don’t love it, then I was thinking, What’s the point show me money is a big factor in this. But to be honest with you, I’d rather be happy and enjoy life, you know, I get to travel. And I did a lot whilst I was researching the whole community thing. I get to work with people. I think the thing that I love the most is helping people in leadership management. And I’m a big believer that you have to love it. You have to do what you do every day. It gives me that motivation to get out of bed and rise to the challenge, right?
David Ralph [21:28]
Well, yeah, but with yourself and with so many of the people that come through to me by saying, I love what I’m doing. So they love the task. But of course they’ve got to get customers they’ve got to get sound Yes, I’ve got to get you know, the hustle muscle being flex on the daily business. daily basis. Have you got to the point where you actually think to yourself, it’s just coming to me naturally I you still out there sending out messages emailing? Because that’s the Draggy isn’t it last a bit trying to get business?
Robert Mitton [21:57]
Yeah, I think when I first started off, obviously, that was the bit that drives around, you are everyone in the company, right? And you become the salesperson, the customer service, the lead generator, and I still get that challenge now. And to be honest, I love it. And things come naturally, obviously I’ve got a good reputation and word of mouth spreads around, you know, especially in corporate training worlds and various things. But there was an instance last year actually where and things were just coming to me naturally and I was getting good work. And you know, what actually led me on to them building the online side of the business and the online community. Cuz I actually wanted to challenge myself, I wanted to go through that whole generating leads. And I know it gives me excitement in a way. And and I sort of that’s what I like, at the same time, as well as doing what I do. It’s getting to that process. Interestingly, whenever I had a bit of the business doing well, it goes well. But then I go back to square one and start something new again. It drives me more forward.
David Ralph [23:02]
So So how did you do this? Because I know the listeners are always struggling with this, I get so many emails from people saying, I’ve created this business. I know it’s gonna be good. I know people want it, but I can’t get it out there. So So how did you actually do that you’re sitting at home, you’ve decided to take the corporate lead, probably and do your own thing. Or maybe you didn’t maybe it was a side hustle. It was a slide of faith, you were starting to do this while still working in your company before it became to that point that you could actually go it alone. How did you do it? Robert?
Robert Mitton [23:35]
Interestingly, it was a side hustle for a little while. And I had I mean, the website itself, and the consultancy is all based around learning and developing people. So it always been in my career as a manager to train people. Interestingly, it happened very quickly, I was made redundant, however, literally about a month before I was going to have my notice in my manager, or just hang on another month and see what happens. So I had a very good manager, and how it happened from there, I leveraged off of other people’s networks, I start made a few mistakes, I was out there, you know, I was pushing myself online, and it wasn’t getting anywhere. You know, you do all the email lists, and you’re sending, and it works. But obviously the the percentages that come back are just so low that you couldn’t have a significantly build up that I learned how to leverage off other people’s networks, I approached all the training organizations, and we did little things where I said, Look, in a way you scratch my back, I scratch yours. And what over there was
David Ralph [24:44]
said, you know, that’s what Brenda said. And she led to where? I don’t know,
Robert Mitton [24:50]
I don’t know that French lesson is going on right now.
We did things like social media takeovers. I mean, at the start, I was a startup I had falling away. But you know, I said, Look, let’s do this thing where I leverage off your social media, it promotes you, it promotes me. And so I learned to use all the people that were doing well in history, who I’d met and build a relationship from that it helped me a lot more. So always rely on a community, right?
David Ralph [25:19]
People. So so it’s network network network, as they say that it really you can’t do this on your own.
Robert Mitton [25:26]
Definitely. But you know what I think, you know, when you look at that word, the network is important. And I made a mistake, I went to a lot of networking events at the start, which were not useful. It’s always a hit and miss, isn’t it, you go to one, and it can be fantastic. Go to one where you sat over warm glass of wine.
David Ralph [25:49]
With a passion, I don’t go to them. And I think I when I used to work in that West Bank years ago, I used to have to go to a lot of them. And they were just boring. They were really boring. I used to get by about 10 past nine, I was thinking how long till we can get down the pub at lunchtime. Yeah. And it was just you know, somebody droning on about something and being breakout sessions and been a drone till lunchtime. They were just so badly designed, but you know, I can’t bear to go to them. Robert,
Robert Mitton [26:18]
there are a lot i’d you know what my honest tip is when when I take a networking event, and each even when I run them, I go to more events on a subject. Because if you go to a vent a I don’t know who that say something like blockchain in education, then you know, the people who are going to these are all interested in the same subject. And I generally find those where I target people a lot more than these ones, where you go into a room full of people behind a bar. And I run my own events and a free workshop and not elevates me a lot more, because at the very end of it. And I get these people come up to me at the very end and say, Hey, Rob, great session. So it’s almost like I’ve done all the hard work at the start doing. Yeah. I mean, it’s just warm leads coming
David Ralph [27:06]
Robert Mitton [27:07]
Yeah, yeah. And you build your credibility. And that is so much more easier, at the same time going around a room full of 5060 people, shaking hands, having that conversation, moving to the next moving to the next.
David Ralph [27:21]
So So could you not have done what you’ve done just online? You know, so many people are sitting there, and I suppose I’m pretty much the same. I sit there behind my computer screens, I connect people come to me, but I rarely come out of my my recording studio. You know, it all seems to just come to me, would it have been better to do a hybrid? Do you think of online offline should join up dots go out into the arenas of the world, the Madison Square Garden join up dots Is this what I should have been aiming for?
Robert Mitton [27:53]
I think is really important to have a very strong blend of online and offline. I totally agree with that. Do that myself, you know, I run workshops, face to face, I run it online, helps build my career, my own little community network around the world. And I think Yeah, as a business owner, and as someone who’s trying to get my message out there a lot more. Yeah, this this blended approach works, the online will lead into more offline stuff. I started doing a lot of online workshop to free webinars, things like that. And that led me to do some, like face to face workshops across Europe as well in the Middle East. So it got me traveling further afield. I loved it.
David Ralph [28:37]
Yeah, I can I can imagine you do. You’re you’re one of those people that’s found your thing. I can already hear that. Your thing is just getting stronger and stronger. And you’ll go off and TED talks and all that kind of stuff. Is that on the radar? Or have you tested it up already?
Robert Mitton [28:53]
I would like to know that is on the radar soon for sure. I would love to do that. And for me, Geno wall. And it goes back to that whole thing of doing what you love. I obviously love travel. My career, like you mentioned in the introduction started off in the travel industry. And so whenever I build something, or whenever I go somewhere, I try and slip in a workshop. And it makes me happy because I could work and have a little bit of holiday in the same place. Sounds good? Yeah. So yeah, I mean, the TED talks are great. But honestly, if I can just find a venue as these these great places just across the world where they’re happy to be to put an event for free. And I’m brilliant. And get me a flight there 50 quid, you know, each way, I can go back and do an event, I can spend a few days in the sea. That’s what’s important to me. And you mentioned it in the introduction, actually, transcultural leadership, you know, I learned a lot more about how different people work. And I think that’s important to bring back into my consultancy, when I’m talking to managers about, you know, to culturally leading a team, you know, I’ve got this experience of delivering workshops and understanding how different people can get to work in a way.
David Ralph [30:08]
So if we just take you back for one last question on your own personal journey, before we move you back into the four key elements of building a community.
Unknown Speaker [30:16]
David Ralph [30:18]
On a scale of one to 10, it seems like it was effortless. You were in the job you were about to quit and your nice boss said, No, hang on a bit, because there’s something on the radar, and then you just sort of like eased into where you are now. How hard was it to get the business going? Because I think it’s bloody hard to be honest, to get a business going. But what about yourself? It is pretty hard.
Robert Mitton [30:41]
It’s, it’s this whole thing. What you see right now is is the bit that seems seamless, right? That whole image of that and Doc, isn’t it when you see them on the water, that bracelet underneath that they are peddling like, man. And that’s what it’s like, especially in a small business out when I started off, it was good. And I was like, wow, I am on the sofa here. And then at the time I was
David Ralph [31:04]
Robert, we will be Right, right. So starting point. breeze, everybody’s you
Robert Mitton [31:09]
know, me, you know, hit me with it, like three or four more times still hits me today working on business to business contracts for large businesses, and they don’t pay your invoices on time. This is Astro go. It happens to me a lot. And so yeah, it’s that whole notion of it seemed seamless, but I’ve had some hard challenges based around Yeah, cash flow building big
David Ralph [31:33]
companies do that, though, because I’m a solar opinion. And there’s a lot of investment that goes into join up dots. But basically, when I get invoiced, I pay it straight away. I just, I don’t like it to be gone. And I know that I’ve done the work by deserve the money, so I just pay it. But yeah, companies, they drag their feet, and I
Robert Mitton [31:53]
spent a lot to the guy or better. It’s the medium sized businesses. I don’t understand, I’m exhausted like you, I can’t live with this. Oh my God, I’ve not paid them, you know, it would drive me insane. I just get really frustrated where this invoice that was supposed to be paid 30 days turns about 90. And that’s you Jason and Jason and Jason it and and that’s the hardest thing for me. Because in the back of the mind, you want to grow the business, you see you’ve built up a lot of revenue. Recently, actually, you know, I took a gambling in developing the website and building it online, the cash flow was there, the invoices will come in, and then that invoice doesn’t come in and it and it kind of puts that fear in your mind. And what a grow and I’ve got the money but at the same time, do I need to keep the money in there a little bit longer? Just Yes. And it’s really held me back in, in growing to some level. I mean, I you know, I’ve had some investment as well, but you want to build it off your own profit. And honestly, to this day, that is still the hardest thing I go for 20% always me Yeah,
David Ralph [32:57]
20% every, as soon as you start business no matter what it is, but 20% the tax and 20% for investment. That’s what I did. When I built a little bit of nest egg. And a lot of it, I look back on it, and I kind of wasted rubber, you know, is like, I’ve just launched a brand new website, which I should have just had it done properly. But I kinda did it in little bits and piecemeal and stuff, you know, where I would say to everyone, go as expensive as you can at that time. And if you can’t do at that time, save up for it, because ultimately, it will be better for you in the long run. But yeah, I always do 20% tax or 40%, tax 20%. And then the rest is me on money, pay yourself first, invest back into the business and then get your cash flow because businesses they crumble on cash flow, don’t they?
Robert Mitton [33:44]
They do. And it’s interesting. pay yourself first. And I didn’t always do that. And I don’t think many solo entrepreneurs do I think it’s important to go look after yourself. Right, keeps you motivated, keeps you going. And I recently we have the saying, you know you sell the business for you to run the business, not the business to run you. So yeah, you gotta look after number one. And but yeah, it’s just still this challenge. I want to invest I want to grow. I want it to employ like a new soft salesperson in a month. But then I’m like, chasing invoices to make sure I can do it. So yeah, you’re still the person of all department.
David Ralph [34:26]
I’ll bet it gets easier. It gets easier. I mean, one day, you look at yourself, and you think I’ve got a sexy top show. And people are just coming to me. And then it does become a lot easier. But I element, you know, I don’t have them. And I’ll just read it on the screen. I don’t know why I said element. But I emphasize the fact that it never gets truly easy. Because you’re always moving into the next area of development of the business. You’re always moving into that area, but you’re not clued up on you might be clued up on what you’ve been doing, because you’ve been doing it but the next bit, it’s still into the unknown. So I’m in so it’s it’s not easy, but it is doable, isn’t it? It
Robert Mitton [35:03]
is Yeah. And I’m happy saying, Look, I’ve come to find out. There’s no going back. I’ve just got to keep moving. keep this going? You know, I can’t give up? Absolutely no.
David Ralph [35:14]
So So let’s jump back because we’re we’re moving on quickly through the show. So we had sort of social sharing where you build a community and you allow people to be involved. You give them little plots, you give them tasks, so they can actually be creative, and then give them the motivation to do it. But don’t just say do it, but make them feel like there’s a reason why they need to do it. Okay, there they were the first two. So what’s the next of the four key elements of building a community.
Robert Mitton [35:42]
So we’ve got early, it kind of leads into one more, which is actually creative thinking. So this is having a process where the team can creatively put ideas together. And you’ve always done something in the way you do it. But why can’t we see if we do it any differently. And this is where trans cultural leadership comes in, actually, you know, the way you’ve done, it is always been different. But someone from a different background or culture might do it differently. getting people together simple exercise, like a brainstorming activity might solve that problem. Interestingly, creative thinking activities in themselves create social capital, this is where you start to see all the different foundation blocks all start to merge into one. And but I think it’s important at the very start to get the community to build, you know, the values, the aims, the objectives, and it goes back into the ownership in a way.
David Ralph [36:34]
How do you do that one line jumping in there, once again, because people just kind of dribble in don’t lay over a period of time. And how do you get them to build them?
Robert Mitton [36:43]
They do they do. We have online, sort of like online focus groups, from time to time, like a town hall style online meeting, we’re asking for, you know, opinions on the way we can improve things or do things and you know, taking the sessions aren’t as good as the actual classes or anything like that. But you know, what they, the people that do come are the people that value it, and you think yeah, these are the people that are probably going to help spread the word of mouth a little bit more as well. So, and I always judging now. But yeah, just like online feedback, and not like in a form I can say like in a webinar situation. And but yeah, going back to building those aims and objectives in a company. I’ve worked in far too many companies where they put, you know, like, the vision of the company is this and the objective. Yeah, when people put these values on a wall, yet people don’t listen to them. Really, what I’m really trying to say is that the community needs to become the business goals and objectives. Because if it is just this art on the side, then it’s going to get forgotten, right. And if it becomes interlinked with what the business is trying to do in the long run, then becomes a business. And that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to make the community, the business in the HR function. Online, if you’re building a community of users, you’re trying to get again, the community needs to become what you’re trying to achieve. And when I’ve done workshops, the last workshop, I did, actually, I had a woman there in a retail online retail website. And and she was trying to build a community and to help the marketing of the products. It’s surprising how a community can be used. For HR for building you are selling things, you know, it’s great, I think it’s it’s the way we’re starting to work more now.
David Ralph [38:43]
And is it something that an expert, you know, online, offline, online, offline, I’m very much online at the moment, but is an expert in a creating a community spirit in an office naturally going to be hitting home runs online? Or do you actually have to sort of assess it and go a different way? Are there different things that you do first, online to offline and back and forth?
Robert Mitton [39:09]
Yeah, I mean, if you’re building up in the business that the community needs to be predominantly offline to start with, though, interestingly, we’ve got to understand that businesses, even small businesses may have their team members in another part of the country and have a part of the world. So you’ve got to enhance this online thing, use communities to help grow your remote your virtual workers. And so technology can play a massive important part, there’s so much software in development tools, which are going to help the business in the future. So I think it’s important to have the two online offline. My website, obviously, predominantly online, but I’m starting to build up an offline following, which helps, and the really does have to be that blend totally. I know,
David Ralph [39:55]
I always throw this out. I used to be in training development. So I had this bug bear. And it was always the middle management, it was always the middle management that didn’t really want to change what they already had. They say they did. So the directors would hire me bring me in their senior directors, they were fine. But the middle management, were just going through like a tick box, because they were just protecting what they had. Do you find the same? Do you find that the the top guys bring you in, but it’s a struggle to get the actual middle management to take on your ideas and push it through to the teams?
Robert Mitton [40:31]
Yep, totally. There’s actually a whole chapter in my book about building stopping the resilience in your organization, not everyone’s going to follow the dream that you want. And to happen. I worked for a company who had a very sort of power culture, I don’t know if anyone’s listening, whose research Charles handy has this thing about Gods of management, where they all fit into, like these Greek gods, my manager was an Apollo, you know, the God of War power, and who insisted on micromanaging was, and which is terrible. I built with a small community in my sales and marketing team. And it was almost like I was defense for Genoa, I think the first thing that you have to do why I always say is, before you go and build this, you really have to pitch it. It’s like a pitch in a business, right? you’re pitching a new idea, idea of working. And and I think, you know, showing positive case studies of how things have worked in over organizations, like I mentioned at start Atlassian, or of organizations is going to stop the resilience, doing it step by step, you know, but yeah, you just need to open up piece of a manager’s eyes because some people don’t look at what’s going on in the outside world. They’re just focused on the middle thing.
David Ralph [41:56]
We’ve been nightmare. Now a nightmare rub it on now you got you gotta be burn and honest, middle management, just protect what they’ve gotten. It used to drive me to destroy, they don’t, they don’t want to encourage the team. You know, some, some people do. I’m being so you know, throwing over as a blank canvas. But there’s more often than not, if I’ve got a really good member of staff, Oh, that makes my life easier. I’m going to keep them. And they just don’t seem to buy into the vision of the directors and owners of the company. And they’re always great. You go in there, and they’re really positive and enthusiastic. And yeah, we need you here. Let’s get you in here. He used to drive me mental.
Robert Mitton [42:35]
Yeah, definitely. Career right. At the end of the day, that second of their boxes with that time to shine like the big penny. Everyone else is slogging out doing the hard work. And every month, interestingly, isn’t it how you always remember those glitches a lot more than any of our managers. And when I do like leadership and management training, when I ask people to give me an example, of a leader on manage the always think of those examples, more than the good ones. And yeah, they’re scared of change, right? They don’t want this, they they like things how it is, it’s like what you said they took it off the they sign the forms. And that is a massive change. I mean, there’s a change management process, which you could implement. However, I say, you know, the whole community building process should be the change management, because then you have people getting involved with it. There’s a really good case study, I think it was when Ford took over. I think it was like the Jaguar plants. They they were they were trying to get away from systems and processes to people having more of an entrepreneurial mindset. And when they were building everything, and they got everyone involved from the workforce, the managers, even the trade unions, you know, they helped build what it is today or what it was. And and yeah, I think that’s why we you have to approach it, we have to get them in, we have to help get those little mini middle managers been involved with building these aims, objectives, values and visions. And,
David Ralph [44:09]
and you care about the ROI, the return on investment, you know, they, they bring you in, you do your training, you do your best stuff, and then you leave. And I used to think to myself, bring me in again, bring me in again, so I can see what effect I’ve had. And I always used to think about I actually hadn’t had that much effect, maybe for the first three weeks, four weeks. I mean, it just drips by I think that’s one of the problems with training and development. That it is, yeah, we’ve done this, we’re making a difference. But it’s very, you’ve got to keep on going in there and keep chipping away at it. Once you leave. It’s kind of gone somehow.
Robert Mitton [44:44]
Definitely no, I agree. And honestly, I would say about 90% of the work I do I always have a contract, which lasts about a year, sometimes it’s been a bit more, and it is in the corporate setting. And yeah, it has to be continuous because yeah, I do I do think of the return on investment. And when I do this I purpose build the course to what they’re what the company is wanting, what are you actually trying to achieve? What what are your KPIs? And we build potentially, the workshops and the courses around that? And yeah, because you know, there are far too many people that can sometimes going to workshop for two hours, they learn something, they forget about it, yeah, it has to be continuous, right? It has to be. And that’s what we want, when I’m when I’m also doing like bits of consultancy, to build in a community, you know, we’re trying to build develop innovation and productivity. So the community has a goal of ROI in a way as well. And we want people to become more innovative, productive, help with the sales, you know, innovation and new products. And so important. Yeah, and when people do things like that, and put their mindsets together, good things can happen.
David Ralph [45:54]
Absolutely good things, as we saw in England football team, they all knew their tasks, they might not the best players, but they just kind of it started to become something didn’t, it became just because I kind of knew what I needed to do. And they knew what their colleagues were good at, and were bad. And they just, it was it was more almost like they were thinking for each other more than actually playing for themselves. So just before we bring the show to an end, we’ve got one more and we got I’ve ticked off three key elements. I think we’ve got one more.
Robert Mitton [46:25]
Yeah, so we I think they’ve all been kind of like Moshe, we’ve got social capital, we’ve got creative thinking, we’ve got the sharing economy, the skills, and the fourth one was motivation. So getting the right understanding what people want gain the motivation level. Do you know what, interestingly, when I talk about all these four elements that always interlinked? You know, I mean, let’s go back to the social capital, you know, people need to have connections, how do you do that? You have created thinking sessions. So there you go. The second elements mixed in. Another way of creating social capital is the sharing of economy, the skills swaps, hey, I’ve even done things like job swaps getting, you know, tired of customer service, always complaining about what sales do in sales, what they do swap jobs for the day, and what you’re doing, you’re also creating that social capital, and you’re creating that motivation. So yeah, when when I talk about the four elements, they’re always interlinked, and they can merge in with each other. The only one, like I said, which is slightly different from the offsets the ownership. And this tends to be the one which I said, which happens if you’re trying to build more of an online business where you’re trying to create the user base, right, you need to get the people involved ownership. So yeah, four elements all very much interlinked. And at the top of that, leaders, like I said, At the start, they have to be involved at the start to get the cogs moving. They take that step back, you know, you were saying to be that facilitator, but they still don’t like going away, they planting the seed, and they’re watching the whole thing grow from the sideline.
David Ralph [48:06]
Let’s play some words. Now from one of the great leaders of the world. He’s no longer here, but his words dinner, Steve Jobs,
Steve Jobs [48:13]
of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards, 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future, you have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
Robert Mitton [48:48]
It was a pretty good leader when he he was I actually have one of his quotes on the back and one of my business cards, the people who think they’re crazy enough to change the world are the ones that might just do that.
Unknown Speaker [49:00]
David Ralph [49:01]
And then what was it about him? Well, not just him, but those kind of leaders that actually inspire more than their companies. You know, because we’ve Steve Jobs, people love Apple don’t know, they, you know, I’ve never bought one Apple device in my life. But I’ve got a whole show built around him. And I love these words. So how does bear words emanate out further than just their cooperation?
Robert Mitton [49:27]
Yeah, they see things differently, right? They it’s almost like he take their A game changer, which makes them interesting. And, you know, he had that vision is like, Why? Why do we build a computer just for this reason, you know, he created a brand, he looked at things in a in the way they look in the way they touch. And he changes things. And I think that’s how you can see those types of leaders that are willing to go above and beyond and they really are, believe in what they’re doing. Yeah, he stands out a lot. They are the game changers. They are our leaders of fault, right? They see things in a different way. So and
David Ralph [50:12]
I know you crazy well, but are you a person that is crazy enough to think they can change the world?
Robert Mitton [50:17]
Yeah, with the power of a community, right?
I think so i i do things differently. And I run my workshops differently. I think I challenge people, which has got me into some areas of conflict. It’s got me in good places in my life at the same time. But I I if I’m not happy with something, or I think someone things are wrong, I will say it. And yeah, I’m happy to be that person. Definitely.
David Ralph [50:49]
Now, the question we always ask based on the back of the Steve Jobs, speech is the big story. Through your career, you would have been doing things you would have been working to a point. There’s always a point in somebody’s life when I think Hang on, hang on, I think I think I know where my path is starting. This is my big moment. Do you remember when it actually occurred to you? But direction that you should be going in?
Robert Mitton [51:14]
Yeah, definitely. It was when I was working. I mentioned earlier on when I was working for this business, you had quite a bit of a power culture. And I was managing the sales and marketing team. I realized from that moment that managers don’t always do things in the right way. And they don’t look after the team in the right way. And there was definitely a skills gap shortage in that T. g know what that team in essence, why is it pI? My first my first dog, they were literally my testing ground. I think I was a manager in that business for just under two years. And the stuff we used to do some crazy things in motivation. But you know what, I built a community, I had the lowest turnover in the organization. And it was it was from that moment that that when I left, I really took off and went and did my own thing. And so in a way, working for a negative organization in a power base manager drove me to do what I am doing now. So thank you for that.
David Ralph [52:16]
Well, I say thank you, myself too. And I think most people do is it’s those dark times, those dark times that actually make you assess, because when it’s all going good, you just kind of float along, don’t you and you just float along go. We got a holiday soon. That’s good. And as a few pints, and England’s going to win the World Cup on time. It’s all gone wrong. It’s all you to just blow along quite happily. But the dark times are the ones where you sit and go, I’ve got to change this. I’ve got to change this and more often than not you look back on them and go thank God for that.
Robert Mitton [52:46]
Yeah, definitely. You’ve got to it. Yeah. And again, in front my whole business career, you know, when when something goes wrong payments, or whichever, it makes me actually become more creative and thinking, right, we need doing this we need to be doing juggling mobile. So we’ve always got things coming in where something goes wrong, another side,
David Ralph [53:06]
big buck by minute payments, you can’t get that off your chest Kenya.
Robert Mitton [53:12]
The number one thing that ruins small businesses and startups right, yeah, Tam them? Yeah,
David Ralph [53:17]
this is pay just pay. They’ve done the job. The money companies, you’re sitting in there, and matching the HR lady who’s making the payment, actually having to wait 90 days for a salary to come through. I think she had to do something about
Unknown Speaker [53:30]
it. All right, yeah.
Robert Mitton [53:33]
Barbara, I know,
David Ralph [53:36]
it’s all going to come down Barbara, pay your money, live your life and be happy that you’re supporting innovation and creativity and slight madness across the world. And that’s what it is they’ve done the work that just just pay them? Well, okay. So this is where the show has been leading up to this is the end of the show the bit that we call the Sermon on the mic, when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time, Robin, speak to the younger version of yourself, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give him? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the music. And when it fades, you’re up, this is the Sermon on the mic
Unknown Speaker [54:20]
with the best.
Robert Mitton [54:35]
So this would be to my 2021 year old self after sort of traveling for so long across Europe and Middle Eastern and enjoying life. And coming back to the UK and seeing that life really stood still. And you were very worried about because you’d had the time of your life for about seven years. And you were worried about mixing in and, and getting a job and starting back from day one. And you did it. You know, you regretted leaving this wonderful life of meeting people and traveling you you were sat there working in this call center and you realize, you know what if I just don’t. But what I’m going to say to you right now is that, you know what, when you went away and you actually did that traveling, that’s going to become very useful. Your experiences from meeting different people working and living in different places are going to be so valuable to you in the next sort of five, six years, that it’s gonna make you offer different services and make you stand out from the crowd. So you know, just keep working in that call that a little bit more and I promise you life is gonna get much better soon.
David Ralph [55:50]
Always does always does even for your darkest moments, you can always move through to brighter times, as I say tomorrow, tomorrow as she knew what she was talking about, then she
Robert Mitton [56:05]
did. Yeah, let’s sing it from the rooftop.
David Ralph [56:07]
Yeah, that’s all get out there people let’s build a community of ginger haired people singing any songs at the top of our boys. And we changed a Well, well, well, but thank you so much for being on today’s show. So what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you? And yeah, you can connect with me purely on my website, Robert nixon.com. That’s ma TT er, when and from there, you can drop me a line, find out what I’m up to, you know, follow me on all the social media trends, we will have all the links on the show notes to make it as easy as possible to connect. Well, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again when you got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Robert mitten, thank you so much.
Robert Mitton [56:56]
Thank you, thank you for having me. Yeah, have a good day.
David Ralph [57:06]
So interesting stuff, how you build a community and you build a community by giving people tasks, getting them more involved giving them a motivation. And it’s interesting with all the online communities out there, which I’m very much involved in, I don’t see a lot of that I see a lot of the owner, the leader just pushing content out all the time and very little coming back in the way of, you know, ownership of others. So it’s made me think about doing things differently. Hopefully, it’s made you think about doing things differently. If you’re in a company, then build that community into it. If you’re struggling with getting that going connect with Robert and I’m sure he will come around and do some training courses and training and development with you. But the most important thing is come back to join up dots because we’re going to be here again. And we’ve got so much coming your way that we’re linking to the join up dots website. So head over there whenever you can, and hopefully you’ll see some more stuff, more online courses, more freebies, and a lot of other stuff. It takes a while to get there, but it’s coming. Until next time. See you later. Bye bye.
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