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Episode 4: Triumph in the face of adversity – a candid conversation with our directors

Diary of a change manager podcast

In this exclusive episode, Sam is joined by co-founder and lifelong friend, Emma Henry. Together, they revisit the early days of The Inform Team and explore how the business sprang from an unexpected change.

Together, they bring to life the story behind Inform, and reflect on the values that helped turn sudden change into change for good.

Inform Directors, Emma Henry and Samantha Kinstrey recording the show

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Episode 5: The science of storytelling
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Episode 5: The science of storytelling

Creating change for good

Episode highlights

Welcome to Diary of a Change Manager. The podcast that makes change management easy.

In this special episode, our producer Ashton interviewed Inform’s co-founders and directors, Samantha Kinstrey and Emma Henry. We’ll explore their story: how they met, how The Inform Team came to be, and the trials and tribulations that come with success.

Browse our full transcript below, in simple, scannable sections.

You've got a friend in me

Ashton: Thank you for joining us. Let’s start with your history. How do you know each other?

Emma: Often, people ask where we know each other from, and the truth is that you’ve known me my whole life, haven’t you?

Sam: I remember you being born.

Emma: Yeah, my mum used to watch you when you were getting bathed in the kitchen sink. Truth is we grew up on neighbouring streets. So, my mum and your mum were besties back in the day, spent a lot of time in the local pubs and clubs. And it’s all grown from there, hasn’t it?

Sam: It has.  I remember knowing Emma from when she was really, really young. I don’t really know whether it was a baby, but really, really young. It’s like you’ve always been in my life in some way, shape, or form. And your brother, I remember your brother being born. I remember our mums and our dads being really close friends.

And I’ve got some fantastic photographs of us when we were really little when… well, when I was really little. You’re quite a lot younger than me, aren’t you? But, yeah, it goes back a long way, and I think it’s really deep our friendship. It is difficult to explain it.

Emma: I remember going up to your house when I was probably about eight years old, and you were living in Pimlico. God, it was the highlight of my weekend to go up and sit at your dressing table that you had and all your makeup.

Sam: Oh, god, do you remember that? I do. With the red heart. The red heart wallpaper. Amelia would kill for that dressing table now. I’m sure of that. Poppy certainly would!

The yin and yang of Inform

Ashton: What’s it like managing the personal and professional relationship between you both?

Emma: I think Sam and my relationship is just is really easy, isn’t it? Often people say, what when you disagree? And we actually don’t disagree often. We’ve got very similar outlooks. We work together to come to the right solution.

We tend to always agree on the things. We’ve never had a cross word. So, it’s an easy relationship for both of us. We’re both quite laid back.

Sam: Yeah, I think we are, actually. I think that respect we’ve got for each other as well. Because we are different, aren’t we? Everyone talks it’s about the yin and yang: Sam and Emma, and it is absolutely true. We come at everything almost from the opposite perspective. That’s how we can come together in the middle somehow and come up with an answer that turns out inevitably to be the right answer.

Emma: And it’s interesting. You talk about the yin and yang between us. In the early days when Inform started, we’ve pretty much done kind of every we’ve represented every kind of functional department that you would have in a business.

You were always more on the commercial salesy side. They had to wrangle finance off me with a crowbar in the end, but yeah, finance, HR, all the back-office staff operations is what I love doing. So, between us, that’s why the yin and yang works, isn’t it?

Sam: Yeah 100%. And I think the thing that really sets it apart, Emma, and this is something that I…

Emma: You just called me Emma!

Sam: Did I? Rather than Em? Oh god. Normally that means you’re in trouble! No, what I was going to try and say is, the trust that we’ve got between us, I don’t even know how to describe it. It just is absolute. And I think that’s because we go back so far, and we’ve worked together. I’m not sure you’ve actually ever worked anywhere else other than with the various organisations that we’ve been part of together. So, yeah, it’s absolute, isn’t it?

An unexpected change

Ashton: I’d like to touch upon a past experience you share. 2e2, the company you both formerly worked at went into administration. How did that traumatic experience impact you at the time?

Sam: So I’m casting my mind back 10 years. It was the end of January.

Emma: 26 January to be precise.

Sam: It was the day after my birthday. And we got news that 2e2 was going into administration.

We were all asked to go into the office the following day. And me and you and my whole team at that time, I think there was maybe 15 of us or something similar, along with about 100 other people, we were just told to go home and basically not come back.

Our laptops were taken. Our phones were taken. Our numbers even, that was a hard one, wasn’t it, when they took our telephone numbers? And I remember going to the pub around the corner with everyone, and we all cried. We all got a little bit drunk. But we said to everyone, right, we need you now to go home, dust yourself off, get up in the morning, and come to the ExCeL because there was an event going on.

There was an event going on, and we knew everyone, didn’t we? Come on. We knew everyone in the industry, and so we walked around that event. It took us hours to walk around and introduce people to prospective employers.

And then I think about a week later, I was due to be hosting an award. I was sponsoring an event. I didn’t think it was very appropriate to stand up and actually give out the award, so Ed did that for me. But we kept the table if you remember rightly. And all of a sudden, obviously, we couldn’t invite any customers, but we invited the team.

And by the end of that week, you and I got everyone a job except us. We’re the only two that didn’t have a job.

And then it was really, what do you do with that? Where do we go from here? And we sat down and had a think about it. I remember going off to Cornwall for a few days, disappearing because my phone was ringing off the hook. And I came back and we said, right, come on. Let’s make a go of it.

Let’s take what we’ve got and take it out to the market and see where it goes. And then we got that phone call from Mott MacDonald. “Where are you? Where are you going? What are you doing? We want to work with you.”

Then a month later or something similar to that, it was our first customer. That turned into a three-year managed service. And let’s be honest, the rest is history, right?

Emma: Yeah. And that project was a global Lync rollout, seeing thousands of employees. Across twenty odd countries or something. So, just a little one to cut our teeth on.

Sam: Yeah, exactly, yeah, just a small one. And I think within, what, three months, it turned into that managed service. And all of a sudden, now we had employees. We TUPEd people over, and one of whom is still with us.- That’s Jo-Anne. She’s our oldest employee.

Emma: In the nicest possible way!

Sam: In the nicest possible way. She’s not as old as me, obviously! So, no, those were very, very traumatic times. And I remember thinking that that day was the worst day of my life. I remember holding it all together in front of everyone and getting in the car. Pat came and collected me, and just crying and crying and crying.

Emma: It was awful. But the shame of it was is that we really enjoyed working there. It was the hundreds of brilliant, amazing people. We did some of our best work at 2e2. Some of the projects that we were involved in.

I still love the team that we worked with back there back then. Still love them to bits now, and I look back so fondly on those times. They were the greatest, apart from post-Inform, obviously, but some of the best days of our lives.

Sam: They were the great teams. And I was thinking about it earlier. Do you remember we used to send those emails out to everyone every week? I’ve still got them in my inbox. To all of our former colleagues that we just had contacts on LinkedIn, and we used to send them an email every week just encouraging them, helping them to find a job. Obviously, that was the much wider group, not our immediate team.

But that paid off so much when you think about all of the introductions, the contacts and just generally sort of supporting us through the beginning few years, really, of our business.

Emma: Definitely, yeah. And then there was all the practical stuff that we had to worry about when there was just you and I. We had to create a website for Christ’s sake. What do we know about making a website? How do you get an email address? All of that. There was just us, wasn’t there?

I don’t know how we managed to do it, but we did. I think it was pulling on people that we knew.

Sam: Well, absolutely. And again, I think those favours over the years that we’d done introducing people into 2e2, having those little fireside chats with people all the time when someone asks us, oh, go on have a chat with this person because they’re interested in getting into IT or something like that. Those favours were all repaid in spades when that happened.

So many people supported us. And we’re still friends with so many of them now, aren’t we?

Emma: Yeah, we are, yeah. For sure, yeah. I remember standing at the station one day, we’d been here working from your kitchen table as normal. And I was standing at Tottenham Hale Station, and opposite me was a big billboard, and I think it was HSBC. And it says something about there’s nothing like the satisfaction of raising your first invoice. And that day, I’d raised the first invoice, and I was like, oh my god. Got all the feels.

It was lovely. Really. But though it’s those poignant moments, isn’t it, that you look back on and say, bloody hell, that was…

Sam: How did we do it? Remember, we used to say we were a 24-hour operation? Yeah. I would be up at 4am, freezing cold at the kitchen table. It’d be pretty cold down here then.

Emma: I’d do the night shift. I was the night owl. I can’t do that now, no way. Post-two children later, no way am I doing that. But, yeah, all those little things that you remember.

And then in the early days when we were pretty much hand to mouth in terms of cash flow. So if we got a late payment, that was really tricky. We couldn’t pay ourselves potentially. So, couldn’t pay the mortgage. It was really hard, wasn’t it? Those really early days before they were before the big project.

Sam: Yeah, they were very, very difficult times. And I remember when what Mott MacDonald contract was coming to an end. There was another really sticky moment, wasn’t there? Where we hadn’t been paid on time. What do we do? Do we hold on to our people? But, yeah, that was just before our first big central government contract kicked in.

And we had enough faith, didn’t we, to just hang on for those extra few days. And, fortunately, we made the right decision at that point. And do you know what? I think our instincts are really good. We come at it from opposite perspectives, but our instincts are good. And we, I think, pretty much always make those good choices.

Silver linings and purple sparkly boots

Ashton:  What were you personal circumstances at the time 2e2 went into administration?

Emma: So, when was it? So, it was 2013. I had a two-year-old daughter. And George was not even an apple in our eye at that point.

We were living, Sean and I were living together in the Hertfordshire with Poppy in a tiny little bedroom. It was one of those new builds where you have two bedrooms and a box room. We knew we wanted another child, so we really wanted to move out. That came at the wrong time. We wanted another child and we needed to be able to pay our mortgage. So that was our situation at the time.

Had I broken my leg before Inform? No, that was 2e2.

Sam: God, I’ll never forget that. You fell over the cat. Oh God!

Emma: I was going to say, I had three cats who ended up breaking my leg, but that’s a whole different story.

Sam: Yeah, a whole different story. That goes way back, yeah. So, my circumstances. My son was already at secondary school, and Amelia was about to go to her secondary school.

It was really tough because we had nothing. Pat and I had nothing to pay the mortgage with. I had two children in private schools, so the pressure to earn was really, really significant. But you know what? They were really interesting times.

And one of the things that I look back on and it makes me laugh out loud. Because I wasn’t working, I was able to go with Amelia to her new school for the interview. And, of course, because I’d always been pretty busy prior to that, I hadn’t really read the email that they’d sent. So, I turned up in really casual clothes and a pair of boots that I still have. They’re those UGG boots, but they were purple glitter. Do you remember those? I’ve still got them. I love them.

But I turned up to this quite fancy pants school with my purple glittery UGGs, and the deputy head came out and said, “Oh, come on, Amelia.” And then he looked me, and he sort of looked down his nose and said, “And you’re next.” And I nearly died. Because I thought, oh my god. I can’t believe I’ve turned up dressed like this to meet him.

Anyway, we went in and had a lovely chat. He was such a nice guy. And as we were walking out, he said to me, he said, “As you can imagine, I meet lots and lots of parents and lots and lots of girls.” He said, “And I’m forever going to remember you as purple sparkly boots.”

And do you know what? It really made me smile. It made me laugh at a really, really tricky time, yeah. And that would have never happened, actually. Had we still been at 2e2, I would never have had the time to go and do that interview. So yeah, there’s always a silver lining, isn’t there?

Our people-first philosophy

Ashton: What’s really jumping out to me is that throughout difficult times, you’ve put others before yourselves. Why do you do that?

Sam: I think I get that from my dad, actually. My dad’s always been one of those people. He’s very generous. He was always generous from when he was young foreman, and everyone around me, he would give them all a job.

Some of them turned out to be quite good at their job, and quite a few other people weren’t so good at their job, and they wouldn’t last very long. But he always gave everyone a chance. And I think I get that really from him, that putting people first. I don’t know.

I don’t think it was even a conscious thought to be honest. We just did it, didn’t we?

Emma: And I guess on a practical level, Sam and I, we had a big network of people. I don’t think it was a conscious decision, but in the back of our mind, we would have been thinking probably, we’d be all good. We know lots of people.

Sam: And then and then we just thought, well, why don’t we do it for ourselves? Why go and take another role in one of those big soulless companies? Why don’t we just do our own thing? Give it a go.

Emma: And the thing is we knew that there was a market for what we had been doing. Back in the day, we called it employee adoption, didn’t we?

Sam: I think we practically invented the term to be honest. That wasn’t a thing, wasn’t it, until then?

Emma: We knew that 2e2 had a multimillion-pound business with us doing just that. So, we kind of took that and made it our own and grew it. And we had all of that, it was our area of expertise. We knew what we were doing. We weren’t learning a new craft. So yeah, all that background helped us make the right decision to start in.

Founded on flexibility

Ashton: What was it that sparked an interest in founding your own company?

Emma: I guess that when we were at 2e2, Sam ran the employee adoption component of the organisation, but we were always pretty autonomous. So the thought of gosh, the thought of just going into an office working 9 till 5, and doing that whole thing just almost terrified us, didn’t it?

We didn’t want to do that. If it was 10 years ago, so we all take remote working, working from home. You know, it’s just de facto now, isn’t it? But it wasn’t de facto 10 years ago, but that’s when we had children. We had young children, so we needed it to work for our personal lives as well as what we wanted to achieve professionally. So, all of those things thrown into the mix helped us.

Sam: And, again, I’m not sure it was even conscious, was it really? And again, that’s when I come back to I think our instincts are good. We chose some paths that we sort of walked down, just because we felt it was the right thing to do.

Say yes… if you can clear it with your mum

Ashton: Was it reassuring having one another’s support both professionally and personally?

Emma: It’s stability isn’t it? And recognition that we are very different, and we do have complementary skills. And yet we’ve always been each other’s constant.  That helped.

We always say, I don’t know how anybody can start a business on their own. As that one person, you’re responsible for everything. You’re responsible for sales, for marketing, finance, for HR, and they’re such different, they need such different skill sets.

We’ve always said that we’ve always been grateful to have each other.

Sam: I think that’s so true. Do you know it’s just made me think about when we first started working together, way back when you were…

Emma: In my school holidays.

Sam: Yeah, you were in your school holidays, weren’t you? And you used to come and work with us. And then you worked in your summer, and then you went to uni. And halfway through your second year, was it?

Emma: I had just started my second year.

Sam: Yeah. And you came to me and said, “Sam, I’m not enjoying it. I really need a job. I really want to come and work with you full time now. I’m done with uni. It’s just they’re a bunch of kids. I’m not interested. I’m much more grown up.”

Emma: The challenge was is that I was living like this kind of Jekyll and Hyde life. I didn’t go away to university. I was living at home in London. My friends were all living in halls. I used to go to uni like twice a week. But then the other half of my life was, yeah, working in an office, going out around the pub, which we did most nights. Having fun with my work friends, and I’ve decided I like that bit better.

Sam: But I remember saying to you,“I’m only going to say yes if you can clear it with your mum because she’s going to kill me.”

Yeah, I remember. It’s funny, those funny memories, how they kick in.

Emma: Yeah. yeah And back from those days, I’ve got God, it was when… so, you’d started a training business, hadn’t you, in Penagen, it was called back then. You started the training business, and I’ve still got at home the certificates that we crafted on certificate papers. 1995, one of them. I can see the date.

Sam: Do you know what? I’ve got somewhere. I’ll dig them out at some point. But all my business cards from when I first started work, I should get them out and find them somewhere, shouldn’t I?

Emma: You should frame them or something. One for your toilet.

Sam: Oh, another one for the toilet, yeah.

Emma: And I keep things like that. I kept our old Inform business card. That was our first one. Don’t have business cards anymore. No, we don’t need them.

Making the right decisions

Ashton: Building your business, I imagine you’ve had to make difficult decisions. So what prepares you to make the right decision and is it quite nice being able to soundboard off each other?

Emma: Yeah, 100%. It makes it easier having each other to soundboard, as you say, off each other. But I think we could tell you, oh you need to go on these HR courses. You need to go on that. You need to learn about law and employment and stuff like that.

But, actually, I think the grounding of the decisions that we have to make is just trying to be decent people and treat others as you would be treated unto yourself or whatever that fancy phrase is. But just be decent people.

Sam: I think what’s interesting about us is we absolutely are a people first business. And we were interviewing someone last week, and they said, “Well, is it real? Do they really mean it?” For us, it just comes naturally, doesn’t it? It isn’t forced at all. That is just that’s our default position, isn’t it? It’s to do the right thing by our people.

And I think that I would never have known it way back then, but it’s a huge strength that we have. Huge strength. Because if we do the right thing for our people, then they do the right thing for our customers, don’t they? And that is how the business has grown up. Again, I don’t think we intended, but it’s become our culture now.

And I think I think that along with focus are probably the two things that… There’s probably more, isn’t there, if you really start thinking about it, but I think we’re very, very good that when we have to absolutely focus in on what is important.

And coming together, two of us coming together and really thinking about everything from all the different perspectives because I know what it’s like when I go on holiday. You dread it, don’t you? Because I come back full of ideas and, oh, we should be doing this, that, and the other. And that focus is great, but having you as that sounding board, that someone that says, yeah. But, Sam, what about this? And have you thought about how it’s going to impact the other thing? Because we come at things from those different perspectives. It just really massively helps and we don’t go off down rabbit holes.

The key to success? Trust in your people

Ashton: I can see you put a lot of trust in people, and you put people first. How has that shaped The Inform Team?

Sam: We don’t have many people leave us, do we? No. And we don’t have many customers leave us either. And I really think that is absolutely testament to our people. And you could argue maybe that that is testament to the trust that we put in them. And I genuinely think that’s true.

We have many customers that move on to new roles in new organisations, and they tend to take us with them. We’ve never really, until probably two years ago, we didn’t have any Sales and Marketing. Natasha and the team joined us then. And prior to that, everything had been done just completely organically, word-of-mouth.

People pick up the phone. We still get people pick up the phone from our 2e2 days now. Happened just last week, didn’t it? And someone called you from NTT. And I think that trust that we put in our people allows them to turn up at work as their best self as well. We really do enjoy working with our people.

Emma: And I think that our whole working model, our whole business model is based on trusting our team. If Fred wants to go to the dentist and take an hour off of work. We don’t care. We don’t need him to book time off for that. He needs to pick up put a wash on or pick up the kids or whatever. Our whole working model is geared up for trusting our people to do the right thing.

Sam Flexible working is just a given for us, isn’t it? And I think that’s because let’s be honest, we’re both women, we’ve both had children, and we know how tough that can be. Yeah.

Emma: God, when we look back… I was talking to David, actually, our finance person and I was trying to get to a meeting for 9:00 o’clock the other day around the corner here in Vauxhall, and I couldn’t manage it. I was like, “David, do you remember? We used to be at our desk at 8:00 o’clock in the morning every morning at 2e2.” We used to travel all that way into work and be at our desk at 8:00 o’clock, and then we used to leave at 6 and we used to travel all that way. What a waste of time.

Sam: Yeah, exactly. Flexible working is, I mean, flexible working from two perspectives, really, isn’t it? Working from home is flexible working, but then also allowing people to work the hours that suit them. I mean, some of our people, because they’ve got young children and they’re single parents, right? They’ve got to be there to collect the children at 3, 4 o’clock, but once children go to bed, they can work a little bit later. And if that’s what suits them, then that’s absolutely fine.

We do not clock watch. We never have done that.

Emma: Yeah. And for me, having your children are a little bit older now, Sam. Well, they’re adults, they’re not children anymore. But I still have children, and I’m not sure that they believe that I work because I can take them to school. I can pick them up from school, I’m there at every parent’s evening.

Actually, they very much know that I work because they’ve got their future sights on Inform. Just being able to, as I’m sure a lot of our people appreciate, just the model is geared up for working parents. I couldn’t do it.

If we had an office, we talked about that early on, didn’t we?

Sam: We did. Said we’re never going to have one.

Emma: We said because when we started Inform, we had Hels who was up in Chesterfield at the time. We had Doug in Sheffield. We had Jo-Anne who was our first employee. She was down in Croydon. And we knew that we wanted to hang on to all those brilliant people, but we wouldn’t be able to hang on to them if we had an office. Where would we put it for Christ’s sake? I’m in Hertfordshire. You’re in London. It just wouldn’t have worked.

So, we made that decision really early on not to have to have the overheads of an office. It didn’t make sense.

Sam: Yeah. And it still doesn’t make sense. And we’re 105 people now, and it still doesn’t make sense. Where on earth would we put it? It makes no sense at all.

Reflecting on change for good

Ashton: The Inform Team has grown a lot over the years, but what were the challenges of working with such a small team to begin with?

Sam: You know what I’m going to say, don’t you?- Go on.- Was it year two, year three? I can’t quite remember now. 50% of our team were on maternity leave. That was tough. We were only six people and three were on maternity leave. I mean, you didn’t spend a lot of time on maternity leave, let’s be honest.

Emma: Three weeks. With a baby and a bumbo by my side.

Sam: But yeah, that was a challenging year, wasn’t it? That was a year where we just sort of kept the lid on rather than grew. We just managed to hold on and hang on, I think, that year.

Emma: I don’t know what was in the water that year. Like literally three babies in two or three months.

Apart from that, I guess, when we were at 2e2, I mean, there were probably, I don’t know, 1400…  about 1800 – there was a lot of people 2e2, but we had always worked within the employee adoption practice, hadn’t we? Although we had strong connections outside of our own team with marketing and the sales teams and stuff like that. We were pretty autonomous. There was no more than 15 of us were there at peak.

I think it wasn’t a huge difference. I’m saying that, but actually, it was different. It was in some ways very different in other ways. We were everything. We were CEOs, COOs, MD, finance person, HR. All of those things.

Sam: But it was a great learning experience, wasn’t it? Neither of us had ever started a business prior to that. No. And probably we wouldn’t have had 2e2 not gone into administration. I think we probably would still be there if it was still going.

So, yeah, what we thought of as being the worst day of our life has probably turned out to be the best day of our life. Because I wouldn’t trade this now for anything.

Emma: No, I wouldn’t. And I do say that to people now. When I see on LinkedIn that so and so has been made redundant or lost their job or whatever, and in time, I do say to them, “Today, you’re going to feel like it’s the worst day of your life. But trust me, it will all come good, and it happens for a reason.” I’m not a religious spiritual person, but based on our experience, I do believe that. Sometimes circumstances give you the kick up the butt that you need.

Sam: Which was what we needed. 100%.

Defining The Inform Team

Ashton: What type of people or values were you looking for to join The Inform Team?

Sam: OK, so I think there’s always been such a thing as an Inform Team person, and I’m not sure we can really put a finger on it, can we? We just know. We just know, and it’s really, really strange. You meet people very well qualified, come across brilliantly on paper, and we’ll get off an interview. Not so much now because we have Adrian to do that now. But we get off an interview, and we both always agree, no, not the right one. They’re not an Inform Team person.

And I don’t know. Have we ever really tried to determine what makes The Inform Team person, or is it just a feeling?

Emma: I think that when we came up with our values, so we’ve got three values. I’m going to forget them now because I always do, but delivering with creativity and passion, working together, and doing the right thing.

When we were asked to come up with or when we decided that we wanted to come up with values, that’s when we thought a lot about what it takes to be an Inform person. People without an ego. People who are happy to work together. People that realise that, I’m going to get this phrase wrong as well, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. People that really go the extra mile for our customers.

I think that was when we formed our values, that was when we really sat down and thought about what it was what an Inform Team person was.

Sam: And it’s attitude, isn’t it? Attitude over skills and experience. Because people can learn, can’t they?

I think one of the things that we’ve loved over the last few years is our apprenticeships. Now we’ve now got some brilliant people as a result of our apprenticeships, and we would never have met those people. And they come with different experiences. Typically, they’re much younger. We would never have come across those people had we not gone down that route.

So, trying to recruit people from different backgrounds, trying to be really inclusive, I think is really important too.

Emma: And what was interesting recently is we interviewed somebody recently, and there was two people in the running, and they had been shortlisted by two other people. And we said, “Don’t tell us, don’t tell us who your preferred person is. Don’t let us know. We want to agree on our own merit independently.”

So, we interviewed these two people. And I phoned you straight after. I said, “Who do you think?” We said the same person. And then we went back to the people that had done the first interviews, and we said we liked number whatever. And they said, “Oh, brilliant. That’s exactly the same person we’re really hoping.”

It’s a common thing across Inform rather than just us two, isn’t it?

Sam: Yeah. And, again, that has to come from our culture, the culture that’s being created. I think it’s that intangible “What’s an Inform Team person?”

Never be afraid to hire people who know more than you

Ashton: That’s interesting. What’s it like making decisions that impact people?

Emma: When it involves people, we’re really slow and deliberate about our decisions. We never make snap decisions depending on what the situation is. We really take our time to make decisions.

What’s great actually now is that we have a management team. We’ve grown to such a size that we have people that we can pull on. We can bring in other opinions. It doesn’t all just sit with Sam and I, which is very refreshing because that is stressful. We’ve had 10 years of being the sole decision makers, and that is you know, it does wear you out.

It’s brilliant having our management team now, because we can rely on them to input, to guide us, to give us advice. It’s not all us.

Sam: I was thinking about this earlier actually because Ashton asked me a similar question a bit earlier. I said to him, “Many years ago… “, and you will remember this person. His name was Patrick. He was one of the investors previously, and he said to me, “Never ever be afraid to hire people that know more than you, that are better than you, that have skills that you don’t have.” And I genuinely think you and I have got the confidence to live by that.

And that is absolutely critical if you want to grow a business that you do that. Because there’s no way that between us, we know it all. We just simply don’t. So, yeah, I think that’s really, really key.

Emma: And again, you and I don’t have egos, do we? And we do have some amazing people in our business. We’ve got some super brains within Inform and they are 100% cleverer than you or I probably put together. That doesn’t matter to us. We have no ego about that.

Sam: A company is a group of people, isn’t it? And if you’re going to have a group of people and you get to a point where you’ve got a 105 of them, you’ve got to have people with different skill sets, different experiences, different backgrounds, different ages, different everything in order to be able to get that really rounded opinion. And maybe even more creativity comes out of that as well.

We’ve got some incredibly creative people, and I’m not talking about just design creative, creative thinkers in the business now as well. And I love it when we have a sort of a bit of an ideas session. Everyone gets together to come up with something new. It’s fabulous to see it. I absolutely love it. And so, my feelings are very – I get excited when we get new people on board because you never know what they’re going to bring. And how that combination of the existing team, new people coming on board, you never know quite what innovation you’re going to get out of that.

I think one of the things we said right at the very beginning was we want to do interesting work, want to do fulfilling work and we want to always be ahead of the curve. We want to always innovate and be… Because I think we pretty much did invent end user adoption or employee adoption back in the day. And we always want to be out there innovating and doing things differently, don’t we?

Emma: Reminds me of that phrase, I may well have made it up, but the phrase is, if you’re the most intelligent person in the room, you’re doing something wrong. I don’t know where that’s from, but springs to mind.