FutureProofing: When Family Comes First


All is quiet in the Cowshed for about another ten minutes or so before the ladies come in. Sarah’s daughter has her sports day today and remembering back to mine it was always important to have my parents there to support me. So rather than her miss out on the last ten minutes or so, I’ve told her to just enjoy the moment and head over when she’s ready. Susie’s slowly heading in from Milton Keynes after a fall holding her baby daughter so when you see or speak to her, be sure to give her lots of sympathy.

And whilst they are later than they had expected into the office, it’s no big deal because from the get-go I had made it quite clear that family came first. Setting up the business from the ground up in this way was easy for me. Part of the business plan incorporates the intention to have a family so it makes sense to future-proof the company attitude to flexible working and more importantly, trust. And because I trust them and vice versa, I know they would never take advantage of their flexible work-style.

I realised this was important early on as I learned from my friends and peers, as well as those conversations you overhear sitting next to others in coffee shops and the likes. All this hindsight takes time to filter through into something particular to the business, but when it does, you realise that you have to shake some of the learnings as a child of being told what you can’t do and replace it with the learnings as an adult of being allowed to do things.

It’s incredibly liberating when something like this works and it’s only as a result of two and a half years’ worth of teething problems before happily bumping into the right talent to enable this to happen.

It may not mean we’re the Hungry Hungry Hippos of the IT Channel eating up everything that gets thrown at us, but it does mean we can get the same kick out of our professional lives as we do in our personal lives. And the happier my team are, the better they apply themselves, and the better the outcomes for the business and more importantly our clients.

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3 thoughts on “FutureProofing: When Family Comes First

  1. Wise thinking and planning. This negates the internal struggle and promotes integrity, which will always work for us in the long term.

    Love it! Remarkable!

  2. When I took over as ICT Director of a large department that had stagnated under a long-term previous management I asked my service heads to produce a guide/directory for users telling them what we would do for them and the framework it would be provided in (service levels etc.). The first pass astonished me, as each service head opened their section with a long list of what they didn’t do, what users must not and could not do etc. This was followed by a much smaller section of what we did do.

    It was extremely hard work getting the concept into their mindset of being positive. I asked them to tell their customers what we did do, and how well we would do it. They could then finish with “And in return for all of this, and to allow us to ensure we can do this for you, all we ask in return is that you do not do the following”.

    It took time, it was hard work, but it was certainly worth it. Our own staff were talking about how they suddenly were starting to get where they fitted in and how they were important to the overall business. As importantly, customers started to appreciate what we did, and the requests for/discovery of non-compliance issues reduced drastically.

    When your article concluded that its about shaking off the “you can’t do these things” and encourages an approach of informed consent it brought that episode tumbling back into my mind.

    Good luck with the enlightened approach to work – I’m certain it will pay dividends – and best of luck to both Susie and Sarah in their family draws.

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