So this is the last of our exploration into our values. And we have deliberately, in the words of Vanessa Williams, ‘saved the best for last’: Altogether now, ‘Sometimes the snow comes down in June’……oh ok suit yourself.
And that last sentence pretty much sums up our philosophy around lightness and laughter. Work doesn’t have to be dull. We are fortunate to have been blessed with the ability to make people smile. Not all people you understand…there are some people who find it hard to smile. That’s a shame. Work is a serious business and we have been around organisations who have been through some appallingly difficult times and had to deal with life and death tragedies, and at that point, levity and lightness are not appropriate. But that is not every day! Most days pass by in a haze of meetings and phone calls and occasionally we can all get our heads down and maybe, if we’re lucky, crank out something of value that makes us glad that we did.
Robin lists on his bio the number of jobs that he has done in his life. It is many. That is mainly because he was an actor for 20 years which meant that he had to keep his children in shoes and couldn’t wait around for that call from Mr Spielberg (I’m still anticipating it could come – RF) and as you found out last week we’ve put ourselves at the front line when trying to understand what certain jobs really are like in reality. So flipping burgers, climbing refinery towers, changing gas governors, doing a bin round and working in a motorway service station are all things we’ve done to gain a little more understanding of what work is like. And we can tell you honestly, the people that do those jobs are not dull. They are not humourless. They are great fun. The jobs may not be all wine and roses but the people who do them day in, day out are funny. You know them, you work with them. Whenever possible, tap in to that energy and enjoy all the laughter you can – it’s the best medicine.
We don’t take things too seriously
Wit is in short supply at the moment. The days of twitter and social media means that everyone is a journalist and everyone has the power to put their opinion out there, whether it is reasonable or not. The last few weeks have seen some extraordinary responses to global movements that defy belief, yet out there those opinions are, and we think that the world could do with a bit of wit now and again. Some of the funniest and most enjoyable things to come out of this troubling lockdown period have been the creative ways in which people have amused us on Instagram, Facebook, especially tik tok and occasionally on twitter.
If you haven’t seen @andrewcotter and his experiences with Olive and Mabel then you’re in for a treat. Thank you for your humour Andrew, it’s been wonderful.
So with all that in mind and with the understanding that the world is hurting and pining for a ‘new normal’ then we believe that not taking things too seriously is good practice. We know that grief is real for many families, and we know that hardship is a reality for many many people throughout the world and we appreciate that it is hard to find laughter and lightness all the time. But when we sat down as a group at the start of February to discuss which things we wanted to have as our values then laughter was at the top of the list. Not just because we like to laugh, but mostly because we love to see others laughing and smiling. We don’t mean trivial; we just mean bringing lightness and humour to most situations as Dudley Moore famously said in Arthur; ‘Isn’t fun the best thing to have?’. We still stand by that now, despite the sadness that has accompanied 2020.
We learn better when we’re engaged
Which is good news for Robin’s daughter Lily who gets married to Harry next summer. Congratulations to them both.
But actually it’s not that sort of engaged that we’re talking about. For a long time we had ‘engaging people’ as our strap line and though we changed that a few years ago we still believe that engagement is essential. We all know from our own experience what it feels like to be engaged at work or disengaged and so we still try, every day, to create work that engages audiences and ensures for the small time that they interact with the monsters, that our sessions are engaging, active and above all enjoyable. It really doesn’t have to be dull.
Even in these difficult times where most of us sit on zoom calls day in, day out, we’re still trying to make those days as engaging and fun as possible. So look out in the near future for our latest offering, where we’re going to be using our skills learned as TV presenters and bringing that into the world of conferencing and virtual engagement. More to come on that later in the year.
We like to take the weight off peoples’ shoulders, not add to it
This is an echo back to ‘we like our clients to become our friends’. As we said we don’t want to let our friends down, so rather than being a small organisation which is viewed as difficult and troublesome, we like to be a benefit to the people with whom we work.
We know that work can be hard; work can be challenging; work can be serious; but if at all those times you have people that you’re working with who are lightening that load and lessening that burden then we will have done our job.
We try at all times to raise a smile and ensure that people don’t take themselves too seriously. Alan did a TEDx talk on this very topic, which, by the way, he took very seriously. You can see it here.
So if you remember playing the Ambassadors Ball late into the night with senior execs, or Nose against the Wall exercise with the CIO of a global energy business or re-enacting the final scene of Gladiator at a night club in Miami or being there when we closed the Growth conference with our version of ‘Let it Grow’ from Frozen or running round the Ukrainian countryside for fun, we say thank you. Thank you for any moment over the last 25 years when you found yourself laughing with us, smiling at our attempts at humour, joining in with the fun, singing along and most importantly for not taking yourself too seriously.
For all of our company values, click here.