Why I dare to chair
It’s just under a year ago since my team and I discovered #CommsHero – we immediately found an affiliation with its values and ideas, the community it’s created and sense of fun. Oh and the t-shirts. The t-shirts are ace.
Having just missed the 2015 event we’ve been holding out to come to this year’s.
My excitement levels rose when I discovered the #DaretoFail theme, it couldn’t be more perfect for us – it’s what we’re all about at RHP.
And then I got the call*
“Do you fancy chairing #CommsHero London?”
I played it cool and took at least five seconds to respond: “Hell yeah!”
Yes it’s a bit scary, yes it means preparation and yes it’ll take me out of my comfort zone but for me it was a no brainer. And here’s why.
Who dares wins
We hosted a special event at RHP recently called ‘The art of innovation’ where we brought together top speakers from a range of mega successful companies including Facebook, Microsoft and disrupters of the travel world Mr and Mrs Smith.
Strong themes came out throughout the day about what the key to true transformation was.
But there was one thing that kept coming up. Every speaker (including our own CEO) discussed the notion that to achieve innovation, adapt and respond to whatever challenges your industry is facing you have to have a culture where people feel comfortable to take risks and fail.
Failure at every level
If you’re a leader reading this – I urge you not just to send a member of your team off to the event in order to tick a box on their PDP.
Go too! If not only to avoid a major case of FOMO, you’re crucial in role modelling #DareToFail and creating a common language around taking risks and trying new things.
RHP team comms will be there in full force– including our superstar Apprentice. For true transformation to happen all levels of the organisation need to feel empowered to ‘go for it’ and know it’s ok that not everything works out all of the time. The important bit is that we keep learning and try again.
Not just for ‘comms types’
Being from an HR background I love that you don’t have to be in Communications to be a #CommsHero. And I think it’s brilliant that traditionally ‘safe’ functions like HR are also being encouraged to #DareToFail. Yes you heard me – HR can take risks too (cue sharp intake of breath from HR traditionalists).
Don’t worry – I’m not talking about the sort of risks that will land you in a tribunal but those that push the boundaries in your people processes, provide frameworks for innovation and help you embed a culture where people feel trusted and empowered to try new things and not be afraid to make mistakes. HR consultant Tim Scott (#CommsHero speaker) puts this much better than me in his blog.
The bottom line
I’m lucky enough to work somewhere that’s already walking the talk with #DareToFail and seeing it have a tangible impact on business results. Programmes like ‘4 in 4’ where employees pitch an idea for a business improvement, Great Place to Debate where we’re encouraged to have a point of view and creating channels like our video booth for sharing ideas have all helped. But the real differentiator is that it’s led from our Exec team and it’s something that runs through everything we do including training (playing ‘Deal or no deal’ to explore risk is just one example!), appraisals and day to day conversations.
It’s no accident that 96% of our employees are satisfied with working for us, we came top of the 2016 Great place to work list and have been named the most innovative housing provider in the UK two years in a row. And we didn’t successfully launch the UK’s first digital only housing service (for new customers) by playing it safe.
Don’t get me wrong we’ve by no means got it all sewn up but there’s definitely been a cultural shift and we’re moving in the right direction.
Freedom to fly
Who ever achieved anything big sitting on the fence, watching from the side lines or staying in the office? So I dare you. I dare you come along to one of the #CommsHero events and see what it’s all about.
Still not convinced? I’ll leave you with this:
‘What if I fall?’
‘Oh but darling, what if you fly?’
It’s no coincidence there are capes at #CommsHero.
Head of Engagement
*By ‘call’ I clearly mean Twitter DM