Almost every business we’ve ever come across has listed ‘honesty’ or ‘integrity’ as values they possess and hold dear. But in traditional business practice, it can be quite rare to find people who actually uphold these values. We believe the business world is changing - people are now held accountable for hiding or twisting the truth, for maintaining unethical practices, and for generally being snakey.
In today’s vlog, Matt and Chris are sharing some of our own experiences with honesty and trust, and talking about how working collaboratively and openly might lead to a better future for business.
Have you come across a business that’s let you down, or one that’s surprised you with their candour? We’ve like to hear your stories.
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We are good to go.
Okay. Dun dun dun dun de dun dun de dun.
Very good, Chris, very Star Wars.
It's sort of worked.
Lockdown, we're back in lockdown. Sing the lockdown song, Chris.
Um, lockdown, lockdown, de de de de dee.
Wow, that's disco, I like it.
It was disco. It was like get down. Yeah.
Yeah. Good. Very good.
Yeah. That's it today, isn't it really...
So what are we talking about today?
Well, it's another Monkey Monday. We're back and back doing this remotely, I think, for a little while. Um, it's not very planned, this one, we just thought we would talk about, um, kind of trust and honesty, really. Interesting phrases that float around business.
Yeah. I mean, um, and maybe it's good if we could share two different stories of, uh, two clients, we're not going to name names. Um, but it's just quite an interesting take on two different relationships we have within our business and what, how that affects what we do for people.
Maybe I can just throw out a frustration of mine actually, straight away, because I've seen - well, we see them all of the time, don't we, especially when people start looking at their own branding and they end up with this, their list of values, that company values list, don't they. They've all done it. I think even we've done it. But every single one I've ever seen ever, anywhere, of every business, always has integrity or honesty or both - integrity slash honesty. Uh, but how true is that really in your business? Do you have it? Do people pay attention to it? You know, I've been to factories and they have these lists of values on the wall, written on the wall there for, for their team to embrace. Do they look at it? Do they even care about it? I dunno. It's like, it's like people say we should be honest and have integrity, but then a lot of, I guess, businesses don't... I don't know. What do you think?
Well, I think, yeah, I think it's fair enough. I mean, um, a lot of the time when you're in a business, like you're trying to put - or in olden times, we'd be trying to put a veneer of stuff. So if someone came to us and said, we want to, uh, give you a million pounds to do a project of this size, we would have gone, yes, sir, we'll pretend to be the biggest web agency in the world. But now we would approach that same project and go, actually, we're a small agency who will do this job really well. But first of all, here are the three reasons why you wouldn't go with us, because we're small, we're smaller than these big guns over here. You know, we would be open and honest, and and get those difficult conversations out of the way straight away, because it really helps your cause.
Yeah. And it helps the people asking, asking us that question, doesn't it? Because, uh, you know, we don't want to just, we don't just want to win everything that comes to us. And I'm sure in your world out there as well, in your B2B land, do you really want to always win everything? Regardless of everything? It doesn't make much sense. So, uh, we don't have a list of values up on the wall, and I don't know that I ever want to have something on the wall that reminds us that we need to have integrity and be honest, because it's built in to, I think, who we are as people. And it's just a weird one, isn't it? For me, it assumes you're all a load of liars.
Yeah. And it, and in business, that's sort of what it was. I, I sort of, um, do a lot of theatre work and, um, in my TV land and there's a thin veneer of what the public sees and what is behind the scenes. And that's how a lot of people run their businesses. It's kind of odd, but if you take away that, then you've got, there's nothing to hide. It's like hearing all those stories of people who managed to run two lives and have two wives and, and how they spin those plates. And at some point, um, that's all going to come unstuck. And it's the same in business. If you're telling lies or you're trying to be someone who you're not, you are going to be found out at some point.
I mean, I don't know that many companies go out there and lie as such, do they. But they do, they hold their cards close, they can hold their cards close to their chest. And some, at some points that's just going to cause friction. And in our experience, uh, it's just really good to just to get stuff straight out there. Tackle the, um, difficult parts of conversations really early. We'll say, well, this is this. Um, even working with, you know, complicated web development, it's really good just to say, hey, we've hit a real problem here, this is really challenging. Working in partnership, I think is, is key for B2B, and creating relationships with people and not businesses - because it's easier, isn't it, if you've got a good rapport with somebody, it's easy to go back and say, hey, providing this service or giving you this product or doing whatever we're doing for you, we've hit a problem here. There's something maybe we can resolve together and work on, uh, as opposed to hiding behind something and trying to, you know, pretend that that issue isn't there. I think having, just having that laser focus on working together and honesty, and just going, well here is a problem, I think is, is really valuable.
Yeah. And it's the same with sort of setting budgets really isn't it? That, that there's often a, uh, cards close to their chest - how much does this cost? Uh, well, we don't really know, but uh, we've got, um, how much money have you got to spend on that? Um, I'm not going to tell you. Well, why, why? Because you could come up with some amazing ideas, given some of that knowledge. And obviously people who are buying services have an idea of how much they want to spend, but they, they sort of also need to have an idea of really what they want to achieve off the back of it. And then - because if you say, I've got an extra two grand to do something or other. And if you find the right partner, they're going to come back to you and say, we can do something really amazing. Whereas if everyone is like skimping down to the nth degree, going well, can you knock a hundred pounds off that here and there? You're going to get something very different than if you have a really sort of good relationship with someone.
Yeah. I mean, it's interesting. I mean, we've, we've got some stories in our heads, which we'll share for us, but I do think we see it everywhere else, don't we. We see it from our customers' customers, the relationships they have with their suppliers, it's, uh, the ones that we see do really well are those that spend time to make, you know, good, meaningful connections and make sure that they build a really great team. Their team, their tribe. You know, it's, it's their customers, their suppliers, their internal team. If they're all on the same page and working towards a destination, it feels and works so much better than, you know, these kinds of gated organizations that, uh, they're just about, you know, they just care about the bottom line, I guess.
Yep. All right. Storytime then, Matt.
Okay. Who are you doing?
Are you going to start?
Okay, I'll start. Shall we start with the slightly more negative story?
Yeah, go on.
Well, this was an interesting one for us. Um, you know, with a company we've worked with for quite a while and, um, our relationship's always been, been very good, very communicative. Sometimes people change in the business and that's when, that's what makes it really interesting, because when the people change, the relationship can change. And, um, we were very used to working in a certain way, where people, you know, from that organization would come to us and say, hey guys, we're looking at this over here. How can we do that? And that's what we would tackle. We would go, okay, awesome. Yeah. Well, we'd maybe go down this road. Here's some ideas, here's some thoughts. Let's, let's have a quick session together. Let's work out how we can achieve that. And, um, we went down this, this road with a particular request with a particular customer, and then only a little bit after that did we find that this kind of new person in the organization was talking to, um, other providers. Which is really cool, you definitely should do that. We encourage our customers to do that. Um, there's lots of value in sometimes bringing in a real expert over here and that's really cool, but, um, it was something that was purposefully kind of hidden from us, and it felt really bad, in a way, it felt uncomfortable for us that we didn't understand from that partner that, um, it was almost like they were cheating. It wasn't really, but it was, it was a little bit disappointing. And I think maybe if we'd understood their position, if they'd come to us and said, hey guys, we have a real specific thing we're looking at here. Here's a document about it, here's a bit of a brief, we think we have this budget for it. We want to let you know that we're shopping around as well for this, we want to see if there's someone that can maybe bring a different conversation to us. We'd be like, whoa, cool. Well, first off, let's make sure we get that brief right together so that you get exactly what you're after, and then we'll be really happy to put up our proposal against it, or maybe we might have even gone, do you know what actually, guys, I think this person over here would be really great to talk to for that. And that's, that's the kind of really meaningful relationship I think you can have with a partner, is when you're there not to sort of go, give me all of your money, but to go, hey, what's best for you to achieve this goal? And that was, I think that would have been a much more rewarding conversation for them and definitely for us.
Yeah. I think we're, we're also quite open about stuff. And so when we get requests that we are probably not the best fit to fulfill, we will say, well, there are people out there who specialize in X, Y, and Z, who will do a better job in this regard or, um, yeah, I think it's a very interesting dynamic, really, to see. Especially when you've worked with a client for so long, for something like that to come out. It does feel weird. And I think the fact that it feels weird means there's something not quite right about that relationship at that time. Yeah. It's interesting. It's also like, um, if you were in business and you go, well, how much do we charge for a product? Um, maybe I could phone round all people, all my competitors and see what they do, but maybe there's something better that you can do with that. And you go, I've phoned around all of our competitors and created a network. So the whole value of the entire sector goes up. And do something that's, that's not - we're not trying to pull the wool over their eyes or go, oh, they're charging 12 pounds, we'll charge 11. You know, if you elevate the entire world, it's sort of a slightly nicer place to be.
Yeah, no, that's, that's really, uh, really good to think about isn't it? And things, you know, it's more about collaboration than competition, I think. And, um, yeah, I just, you know, it'd be a much nicer world if, uh, there was that kind of level of trust and honesty everywhere, I think. I dunno.
Yeah. I mean that there's some businesses who, um, work in lots of different sectors where you could form alliances with people who do what you do and say, right, okay. We will target the, the, these big guns over here, these like big contracts, which are really tricky to do. And you might prefer doing these smaller installation of whatever, some widgets or other, and we will pass on these kinds of clients to you, and you can pass on some of these clients to us, and you form a nice alliance. And you're both not trying to spend the same marketing budget, just going, we're better! No we're better! You know, there's some interesting things there.
I think so. When you look at that approach as well, the value that gives the customer who is looking for this stuff, I think is really important, because you're helping them straight away. You're going, hey, well, no, not us, but these guys, yes. Uh, or actually you've come to us with something really unique that maybe us and these guys over here could work on together to do something like this. And that's kind of way more powerful, and it's putting the customer first rather than well, this has come in and we can't, we wouldn't do it as well as these, but they've chosen us, so let's crack on. It's a different way of approaching business, I think, that could, uh, it could really, you know, improve both the happiness of the business itself, but definitely the, the happiness of the customer. Do you want to tell the more happy story?
The happy story. I think, um, we had a client come to us wanting some specific, um, work and, um, it started off on the usual foot. How much does this cost? Okay, fine. We'll start off with a certain part of this project and, um, we all realized that we, we connected as people and we got on really well and that we can all be honest and open, and say all these things, like we can come, come around to a point where you can say, well, we've got 50 grand to achieve X, Y, and Z. Do you think that's feasible? Uh, and we can then go back to them and say, well, why don't we do this portion? And we can spend some of that other money over here doing something else. And we're quite happy. We're not trying to like go, oh yeah, someone's mentioned 50 grand. We'll take all that, thank you very much, and put it in our back pockets. I think just having that level of honesty and having that, that level of friendship that you can have the conversations that go okay, we'll spend, um, we'll spend 10 grand of that and you spend 40 grand of that elsewhere. You know, you can have some of those really interesting conversations and it, and it feels massively different than just going, how much does this cost? How much does this cost? And because we can give proper advice rather than just go, yes sir, yes sir, no, yeah. Or trying to get more profit out of something, you know, it's a really different conversation.
I think it is. I mean, we're talking very B2B here. Um, I mean, I think it could apply outside of the B2B world as well, but it's, it's just a case of, um, breaking down those initial barriers where, uh, everyone thinks everyone's just out to make a buck, rather than, you know, do a good job or do something that they're passionate about. And I think that's, that's the big mind shift, if you like, that organizations could make to make their offering better, I guess, better than what they used to be.
It's also coming to big business, because I was - I'm not sure if you listened to Radio 4 this morning, but there was an interview with a guy from Unilever who, um, they're a massive company who do lots of different products, but they're saying things like, we don't want to pay the minimum wage. We want to pay a decent wage to people and, um, having those conversations out there and we're, we're not just trying to serve these shareholders over here. We're trying to, um, have, uh, a wider communication and that, uh, conversation with the entire community, that business community, and people will buy into that. And it, and it's definitely coming. Like we understand that, uh, Apple have, um, not paid workers enough in China in the past. And, and the entire world is, is getting ready to become open and honest and try and do a new version of capitalism. I think that, um, uh, people are getting a bit wound up about the, all the PPE stuff that the government has done, and the cronyism, and the cronyism within politics and business. I see all that sort of evaporating away, and our little parts, where we're open and honest down here, will filter out to the rest of the business community at some point.
Very good. Chris Goor for prime minister, everybody, I say.
I'd vote for you.
We've just got to be nice to each other. That's all we've got to do.
There we go. Let's end this with a Bill and Ted quote. Be excellent to each other. Party on dudes.