You might have seen on social media a few weeks ago that we attended the event – Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Work Like a Woman with Mary Portas. Held by Glasgow’s Mitchell Library Business & IP Centre, unfortunately Mary wasn’t there, but speaking live from the British Library about her new book (also called Work Like a Woman), which is manifesto for people looking to adopt change and a new culture in the workplace.

We’ve always been inspired by Mary Portas. Hardworking, feisty and honest, she calls a spade a spade and has lots of knowledge and experience of not only the retail industry but working for big corporate organisations and branching out on her own. Mary has had a very successful career and as a leading the campaign for change. She’s fed up playing by other people’s rules in the workplace, and why should other women? Rules that are often made my men, meaning woman either need to fight a dirty game to succeed or hide who they truly are. Therefore, as woman, we need to either forget or dissociate ourselves from the values that really matter to us most as individuals.

Even with the event being a live webcast from London we left feeling super inspired! And while Mary is an advocate for pay equality and women having more of a presence in a variety of different industries, she addresses how a change in people’s attitudes and workplace culture can make this happen. With our 2019 planning day not too far from the horizon, we headed off home both vowing to read the book and decided what values we hold most important to us.

The book discusses a variety of issues from leadership, to childcare, company hierarchy and becoming self-employed. What I liked most was the assurance that it’s okay to be you in the workplace – whatever that ‘workplace’ may be. You don’t need to always ‘man up’, emotion and vulnerability can be shown, aim to work smarter not harder (i.e. all those long hours you’re doing because you think you need to prove something) and always be kind. While not everyone aspires to be leaders and managers, take pride in what you do and take responsibility for making your workplace a joyous place to be and for others that follow.

Now while it’s only Nicola and I, a two (wo)man team, there was still a lot we could take away from Portas’ book as we approach a new year of business. Tasked by our mentor to start this as soon as possible (well it is pretty much the end of November), we found incorporating our values into our 2019 plan, along with our SWOT analysis, goals, KPIs (key performance indicators) and industry analysis, would help Yellow Bird Digital decided how we could, would and should perform.

To answer this question, we took inspiration from page 95 of the book which you can do to. Simply scribble down the first thoughts that come to your head. We popped in some of Mary’s examples below;

  • Things I love: working with brilliant people, feeling energized by projects
  • Things I care about: Family, employees, the underdog, her charity shops
  • Things I’m good at: having a vision, inspiring people
  • Things I’m not good at: working alone, spreadsheets, politics
  • Things I need to do: pay a mortgage, look after children
  • Things I don’t want to do: work with boring and egotistical people, work weekends, have long meetings.

Write down as much as you can and hopefully soon, you’ll start to see a theme emerging. If not, you’ll have a better idea of your goals and purpose going forward – both personally and professionally. And finally, the most important takeaway? Always trust your intuition in business. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but you think it’s a pig – then it’s a pig! (As Mary would say).

If you’re in need of some help with your 2019 business plan, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. In the meantime, we definitely recommend popping the book on your Christmas list for Santa.


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