Mike Saville and Russell Cosway from Gydeline introduce the first episode of the Blue Sky Stinking podcast and discuss topics raised, including, good reasons for starting a business, getting sound advice and benefiting from mentoring and coaching.
CONTINUITY: It’s Thirsty Thursday and, following a Board meeting at their workplace, Zero’s Heroes, we are in the Dog and Bone Pub with Zelda and Bob
ZELDA: I’m sick of working for my dad, he won’t give me any of the freedoms that I deserve. I’m thirty-(mumble) now and I can take a stronger hand in running the business.
BOB: Yeah sure, ‘cause you’re so skilled in business – you’ve been at it so long.
ZELDA: I know, right! It’s not that hard. I watched dad in the boardroom today, he took it easy on the factory manager, I would have kicked her out on her arse if I’d been running the show
BOB: Absolutely, you could probably run the factory floor and run the business in your spare time.
ZELDA: You know what, I probably could. But I want more, I want to run the business not the factory floor. Dad has had his time, he doesn’t understand the modern customer, social media and the digital world
BOB: And so, you’re just going to ask Nero to step to one side whilst you take the reins? What could go wrong?
ZELDA: Well, I could I guess. He is getting quite old and should be thinking about retiring
BOB: ‘cause all he talks about is taking it easy and focusing on his gardening.
ZELDA: Really? Never thought he was a closet gardener but perhaps mum has converted him. So, do you think he’d let me take the reins and step to one side?
BOB: (chuckling) Why not!
ZELDA: Ok, I’ll do it, can I get you a drink to celebrate?
BOB: Always good to toast the new boss
CONTINUITY: The following day at the Zero’s Heroes offices and, after the Friday Managers Meeting, Bob grabs Nero for a chat.
BOB: Nero, could I grab you quickly before you meet with Jakob?
NERO: Sure thing, what’s on your mind?
BOB: I had a drink with Zelda last night and she has some interesting ideas on your future in the business
NERO: Oh, does she now!
BOB: She is going to ask you to step aside and let her take over running Zero’s
NERO: Oh really… and of course you told her that she was incapable of running a business
BOB: I thought I’d made it clear that it was a bad idea, but she seems determined to confront you and I’d thought I’d give you a heads up
(Knock, Knock, Knock)
JAKOB: Ah, there you are Zero I was waiting in your office and got bored looking at your shabby desk
NERO: Shabby… It’s brand ne… Oh, haha – glad you popped in anyway, we were just discussing a hostile takeover bid for the company
JAKOB: Really! Must be pretty hostile if you are talking about it
BOB: Zelda wants to take over running the company
NERO: Hey (laughing) what do you think of that Jake?
JAKOB: Well, yes, ha, great jape guys. I know Zelda is lovely… Really lovely, but she wouldn’t do that… Would she? And it’s Jakob by the way!
NERO: Yeah, yeah Ja-Kob, she’s lovely, but pop your rose tinted glasses off for a second and give me your honest answer
JAKOB: Rose tinted glasses?
BOB: Oh, because Zelda’s lovely in a professional, businesslike way!
JAKOB: Right, yeah, ok. Well, she’s capable team player. She’s been running the admin team now for a couple years, you’ve had her attending the board – I thought you were lining her up for the next step.
NERO: Next step? Next step! What next step? That girl had a team of 4, 3 of them left with in month, some of my longest standing, trusted people left, just like that. The next step is the front door step!
JAKOB: Saved you money
NERO: Only because the finance and factory teams took up the slack
JAKOB: Still, she only recruited 1 new replacement, saved you money – because the other teams didn’t grow
NERO: Pah! So, she runs a team of 2. How does that qualify her to run my company of over 250 employees?
JAKOB: True, probably a step too far but a bit more responsibility and a decision-making role maybe?
BOB: She could start her own company
JAKOB: Great Idea
JAKOB: Why don’t you back her to start her own company
NERO: Why don’t you? You’re the big Angel Investor about town… But there is no way you can make Zelda into the Founder of a successful business
JAKOB: Bet you I could
BOB: Guys, this is a fantastic idea
NERO: Bet you can’t
JAKOB: Ok, So what’s the bet?
BOB: (worried) Guys!?
NERO: Your… Vintage Aston Martin DB5
JAKOB: Holy smoke, that was in Goldfinger you know!?
JAKOB: Ok, right, my priceless DB 5 against… err
BOB: Nero, Jakob…
NERO/JAKOB: Shut up!
JAKOB: (desperately thinking) Right, ok…My DB 5 to you if the company folds and…and you pass control of Zero’s Heroes to Zelda if she make’s a profit
NERO: What… Hold on, no, no, no
JAKOB: But you’re so sure Zelda will fail, what’s the risk?
BOB: In what timescale?
JAKOB: I dunno, let’s say before you draw your state pension?
NERO: (pondering) So, 51% of Zero’s Heroes against your restored DB5… (decisive) It will be like taking candy from a baby
BOB: I’ll go tell Zelda
JAKOB: She mustn’t know about this, we have to make her think it’s her idea
NERO: Agreed. I will invite her for dinner over the weekend, but you had better get thinking on how you’re going to save your DB5 from being my car of choice on my retirement drive around Europe. Great idea Bob!
BOB: Thanks, hold on… What?
CONTINUITY: It’s Saturday and at Nero’s home Zelda has been invited to tea.
MUM: Zelda. So lovely to see you darling, come in, come in, dad is in the lounge. I’m just working with Carlos on the meal
ZELDA: Thanks mum, need any he…(interrupted by Nero shouting)
NERO: (from the lounge) In here Zelda!
ZELDA: Coming dad
NERO: Hi darling, good day off? Gotta love the weekends!
ZELDA: Yeah, good thanks. Thanks for the invite, never know what to cook for one.
NERO: Glad you’re here. What a week, huh? That problem on the factory floor could have been much worse
ZELDA: I know! I thought you were going to kick Chris into touch
NERO: You think I should have kicked out one of the most experienced factory managers I know?
ZELDA: I think she may take you for a ride sometimes
NERO: What do you think I should have done? Always happy to take advice. I trust your opinion.
ZELDA: Really, that’s nice to know. I think I would have taken control of the remedial actions personally and shown Chris the way to get things on track quickly
NERO: Fancy getting your hands dirty huh?
ZELDA: Funny you should say that… (interrupted)
NERO: You want to run your own business instead of working for me…
ZELDA: (flustered) Yes… what? No… well kinda
NERO: I’ve always said to Jakob that you have untapped abilities
MUM: (from the kitchen) I’ve always liked Jakob
ZELDA: Shut-up mum…Yeah I have! I was thinking of… (interrupted)
NERO: Setting up on your own and you didn’t know how I’d take it? I’m delighted… What can I do to help?
ZELDA: … Err… What? I… But… Well… You… you think I could start my own business?
NERO: Absolutely! Why not? Don’t you think you can?
ZELDA:: Of course I could. I’d be awesome. I’d make you proud
NERO: Great, I say go for it. Then, once you’ve broken your teeth on starting and running your own business, you may be able to help me into retirement with mine
ZELDA: Exactly. I was talking to Bob about that the other day. He was all for it.
MUM: (from the kitchen) Dinner’s ready
NERO: Great timing! Let’s talk over dinner…
CONTINUITY: The working week starts. Zelda is at her desk as Jakob passes by to see Nero
JAKOB: Morning Zelda, Hi Jo, Greetings Gerry
ZELDA: Hi J, how’s it going?
JAKOB: Oh, you know, irons in the fire, businesses to inspire, directors to mentor, same ole same ole. How was your weekend?
ZELDA: It was great. I had the most wonderful idea last week and dad gave it the green light over dinner on Saturday
JAKOB: And what is this amazing idea?
ZELDA: (in hushed voice so team can’t hear) I’m going to start my own business
JAKOB: (hushed too) Really! That’s brilliant – I’ve always thought you had hidden depths
ZELDA: Dad said that too… almost word for word. I do don’t I!
JAKOB: Well, ask if you want any help. I’d love to see you being a huge success. See you in a bit.
Jakob starts to walk away towards Nero’s office
ZELDA: Jakob! Could we catch a drink this evening?
JAKOB: Let me check if I have anything on… Nope. Look forward to that – meet you in the Dog and Bone?
ZELDA: Five thirty – it’s date
JAKOB: Yes, yes it’s a date!
Discussion Transcript (10:12)
RUSSELL: You gotta feel sorry for Jakob, he is not thinking clearly it seems
MIKE: Maybe, perhaps he sees something special in Zelda. But, before we dive into the characters and what we can learn from the Zeros, we should introduce ourselves.
RUSSELL: Probably a good idea. Well, I’m Russell Cosway and..
MIKE: I’m Mike Saville and we are from Gydeline. We want to make businesses more attractive… EPICally attractive. By EPICally, we mean more attractive to Employees, Partners, Investors and Customers
RUSSELL: And for some organisations, more attractive to Buyers too. And when we say attractive we’re not necessarily talking about external beauty which marketeers, web designers and brand promoters create
MIKE: We’re more interested in the inner beauty of businesses. We use advisory and software services to improve, grow, become successful and on the way make them compliant
RUSSELL: Groan… Not compliance – yawn!
MIKE: And there’s the problem… How do you make compliance less boring?
RUSSELL: You create a podcast that’s interesting, entertaining and informative
MIKE: Yep… And here we are – episode one, The Winner Takes It All
RUSSELL: Nice segway
RUSSELL: So, let’s explain what we’re going to do. Each episode will start with a fly on the wall insight into whats going on the life of Zelda Zero, her father Nero and Jakob Oakstock, along with a bevvy of other characters
MIKE: There will be, inevitably, things to be learn from their escapades, mistakes and innovations and we’ll be spending a little time after the drama to discuss those between ourselves and with expert guests from other companies.
RUSSELL: That’s probably a good point to invite anyone that has a hankering to be a guest expert to get in touch. If you know stuff about business, there is a good chance that Zelda and the others will stumble into it at some point and we could call on you to share your thoughts on related matters.
MIKE: In the coming weeks we will be covering starting a business and the practicalities, finance, marketing, websites, logos and data protection, to name a few of the subjects.
RUSSELL: So if you would like to come and have a chat, drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll try and get you involved
MIKE: So that’s set the scene a little, perhaps now we should get back and discuss the first episode. What are your initial thoughts on Zelda?
RUSSELL: Confident and forthright that’s for sure. However, not great at reading people and a naive view of what it takes to start a business
MIKE: Yes, but don’t we all start business a little unprepared
RUSSELL: True, and you learn all the time. But she has had a business man for father… What do you think on Nero?
MIKE: Well, obviously successful. He can even afford to keep Carlos as his familys live in chef and life-coach.
MIKE: Not sure if betting on his daughters failure is the most caring or loving thing to do. He could be lining her up for tough lessons professionally and personally.
RUSSELL: Jakob has to answer to that accusation too. As a friend, he definitely holds a torch for Zelda but she is unaware of his motivations
MIKE: Yes, and that all lines up to be a very poor basis for forming a business and clouds your decision making. What is a good reason to start a business?
RUSSELL: Well, having a real tangible solution you seeking to deliver to the marketplace would be a good start. She seems to be, “oh I’m going to start a business”. I think here initial thought was to take over her fathers business – and that was a pre-made business. But obviously being thrown the gauntlet and manipulated into coming up with something else, she really doesn’t have anything, but having a good sound product, probably an idea of what customers and what interest in the market there is are key elements of starting a business. Can anyone start a business?
MIKE: Interesting question. So anybody can but there’s so many elements around the passion, the motivation, the skills and experience. You might have the apptitude for picking things up that all goes to impact whether you’ll be a successful business owner or not. History is littered with those people that have had many, many failures before eventually becoming successful. So it’s certainly a learning process adn the learning process is something you can do through experience or maybe it’s something that others can help you with. So thinking about coaching or mentoring, what do we think about Jacob as a coach and a mentor?
RUSSELL: Obviously he’s got a background of being naturally rich, which doesn’t necessarily give him a good background to being a coach or mentor. However, we get the feeling that he’s probably helped a number of business in the past. I think that’s a good point to discuss the difference between a coach and a mentor. So often you hear those two phrases rammed together as if they are interchangable as such. The difference is, a coach is somebody who uses skills a techniques to get the best out of somebody and help them to develop themsleves. I think of football coaches; you don’t see footballs coache that are top class international players themselves
MIKE: Yes, you don’t need to be able to do it yourself to coach someone else to do a skill or a thing
RUSSELL: Exactly. So coaching is a group of techniques more than anything married with being good at getting the best out of people. Mentoring has a difference aspect. Although there’s coaching in it potentially, mentoring is about having the experience and knowledge to be able to advice people on good course of action and where things fail and where things succeed. Usually through experience. If Jakob is any good it will be because he’s run businesses that have been successful possibly some that have failed.
MIKE: It’s also about pointing people in the right direction and shortcutting some of that learning for them.
RUSSELL: Yes, absolutely
MIKE: So, between the two of them, Jakob or Nero as the best mentor?
RUSSELL: I think mentoring your daughter would be tough. Clearly, he’s not got the highest respect for his daughter capabilities
MIKE: Just as tough as mentoring someone you like the look of?
RUSSELL: No! There is a severe danger… well his rose tinted glasses have already got him into a bet that could lose him his DB5. So, I’m not saying it can’t work mentoring a family member and hopefully you’d want to pass down that fatherly advice. Unfortunately, what he’s done now is put himself in a position where he can’t mentor he daughter, he potentially succeeds in losing half his business. So, family members are potentially a good source of information, if they’ve run a business or done this kind of thing. But they may not have the separation you need in a mentor to give the hard advice. So there are a number of other issues mentioned in this episode…
MIKE: Yes, some stuff got scooted over like the unfair dismissal comment made by Nero, that’s something we’ll have to cover in the future
RUSSELL: Nero as well. They mentioned retirement age and him getting older… A discussion on agism could be good subject too
MIKE: An investment, angel investments and whether being romantically involved is a good basis for investment; Not the best reason for giving money to a business. There is a problem with having a bottom pit of money; does that make you lean, carefull and keeping an eye on costs. That doesn’t always help you realise your vision in the best way.
RUSSELL: Vision! We’ve got to have a session on vision and values
MIKE: We’re not short of subjects that’s for sure.
RUSSELL: Hopefully we’ve whet the appetite for the next episode
MIKE: Let’s hope so. Next time Jakob and Zelda have a moment of inspiration and we’ll get to discuss about some of the basics that need consideration when starting a venture
RUSSELL: Mama Mia!
MIKE: And that’s the title of Episode 2
RUSSELL: I know, that’s why I said it
MIKE: Oh ok… Great. It only leaves us to thank a few people in getting this podcast off the ground.
RUSSELL: We must mention Harriet Teagle, she’s our artist in (digital) residence who created our album art and put a face to each of the characters who you can see on our Blue Sky Stinking page
MIKE: Hold on… We haven’t explained the name.
RUSSELL: We wrote an article on that – we’ll put a link to that on the episode page
MIKE: Good. We’ll also have a link to Camhayle Theatre Group who audibly brought the charaters to life
RUSSELL: You mean they’re not real people
MIKE: Yikes, could you imagine that!
RUSSELL: And worth saying at that point, that any similarity of the characters to anyone you know is purely coinidental and doesn’t mean they said or did any of the things we portray… Although we have based the stories on real life events. So maybe they did!
MIKE: Thanks for that! And finally we thank you listening to the end of episode 1. Please comment, like, share and join in. That’s how we’ll keep this podcast going and growing. We’d love to hear what you think of the characters. We’d love to know what you think about the scenarios they’ve got themselves in. We’d love to hear about your ideas about where they go in the future.
RUSSELL: We’ll look forward to seeing you in the next Episode… Mama Mia
MIKE: You had to say it again didn’t you