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18 – Leading Teams Virtually with Darren Carrington

Leading Teams Virtually with Darren Carrington

Episode #18 | Leading Teams Virtually with Darren Carrington

Today we are in conversation with Darren Carrington, Founder and Director of YouNique Consulting, as he gives great insight into his background in broadcasting and radio, what it takes to work in high-tension environments all over the world, leaving his radio background in the UK to take a leadership role in the UAE and how leaders, entrepreneurs, and small business owners can motivate and empower their team to enhance performance and profit.
YouNique Consulting is focused on helping businesses identify, understand, and improve the overall health and profitability of their company. They provide bespoke solutions to fit their clients’ individual and organizational needs allowing Human Capital to perform at its best by utilizing each employee’s capabilities and abilities.

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Warsha 00:01
Welcome to the Dare to Scale Show with me Warsha.

Evan 00:04

And me Evan.

Warsha 00:05

So, what is Dare to Scale, over the years that we’ve been coaching founders and business owners, much like yourselves. We’ve worked through a framework called Dare to Scale.

Evan 00:18
Dare to Scale indeed. That framework has helped loads of business owners. That is what this show is all about. So, put on your big picture thinking hat. 

Warsha 00:28
Oh and your headphones, and come join us and enjoy the ride.


Warsha 0:40
Hello and welcome to Dare to Scale Show. Today we are talking to Darren Carrington, Darren is the Founder of YouNique group and unique certainly is what he does for his clients. Darren it is such a pleasure to have you on the show today.

Darren 0:55
Thank you Warsha. Thank you, Evan he’s wonderful to join you here today as well. I feel really honoured thank you for the invitation.


Evan 1:01

Welcome, Darren and it is an absolute honour to have you as well.

Warsha 1:04
So Darren. First, before we go into all the wonderful things that you do today for all your clients because I know there is a very specific value that you bring to today’s modern leader to today’s entrepreneur, but before we go that we absolutely want to know first of all, about you, please tell us what you do and what is this massive background that you bring to the table.

Darren 1:31
How long is this podcast, Warsha? Great question very open ended because we can sort of go on and on, but to grab the attention of your audience as well. What I’m doing now is not what I started out in in life doing as part of my career. I think it was always part of the destiny. It wasn’t something that I had any consciousness around. I come from a broadcasting background then more than 25 years working and getting a great face for radio, but in terms of radio I did some TV stuff as well. And that opportunity, literally took me all over the world, that works in the commercial sector. I worked with an organisation that provided radio and TV to British forces all over the world. So, part of my uniqueness if you’d like, in terms of the experience that I have to share with clients that I work with today. That comes from spending time working in radio environment in the likes of Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and when you’re in a voluntary capacity, so you don’t have to be there you choose to be there, and some of the experiences that come out as a result of that, they are counting building they are strengthening in things that you experienced such as rocket fire mortar attack you know leading teams whilst under these extreme pressures, how that then translates into working with people in a coaching and consulting environment. Today, the two really do dovetail quite nicely.

Evan 3:01
Darren that’s amazing and when you were sitting, you’re working all over the world, particularly with the forces. I know there’s a certain group of aviators that you actually rub shoulders with

Darren 3:12
We did rub shoulders Yes! Michael Jackson told me never to name drop once upon a time, and I’ve always chosen not to do that since. However, I think this is worthy of dropping a few names, especially when it comes to the squadron called the Red Arrows, anyone that’s not familiar with the Red Arrows. This is the Royal Air Force aerobatic display team. I mean from a young age I used to look up in the sky and watch these remarkable aircraft go overhead, and not once did I ever imagine I would be rubbing shoulders with them but also sitting behind one of them when we’re doing Loop d Loops over RDF Akrotiri in Cyprus. So, part of my role as the programme director for BFBS the British Broadcasting Service. I want you to really sort of put my hat in the ring and put something out to say look, I want to work with you guys I want to do a documentary for you guys, and I want to take a backseat ride as well, and immediately came back with lobby to do a documentary with us. Thank you very much to celebrate our 40th anniversary, and no you can’t get in the backseat for your civilian and it doesn’t work like that. And for somebody that is quite shy and retiring you know me quite well. I didn’t take ‘No’, very easily. So, I kept coming from different angles, and I put a proposal together where I really wanted to showcase these guys in terms of what we had achieved over the 40 years, and my proposal when something in the lines of, I want to be able to shadow you want to have an access all areas of proof to the squadron, when I come in I sit with you for the briefing, I come back after the sortie, we do a debrief. I want access to that I want to see all of the warts and all that goes on behind the scenes, and the cherry on the cake really be getting into the back of one of these to experience the best possible, I guess, example of what GE might feel like when your pilots going through some of the magnificent aerobatics. And of course, what I did experience in the end was nowhere near the level of G that the pilots would go through, but I got a taste of it and to be honest that was enough

Evan 5:16
Absolutely sure. And you just have to take your hat off to the skill that those guys actually have and the camaraderie, I guess, because, I mean, what they do is very, very dangerous, and to be there and actually experienced that with him would have been absolutely incredible, but it also is it’s a lovely segue into you learning how they function and shadowing them and seeing how they work together is a wonderful segue to what you do now with YouNique.

Darren 5:43
It is and one thing that really leapt out to me through that whole experience of him was the fact that you have nine these pilots who are highly, highly skilled and to be considered for going in for Red Arrows role, whatever position you would play within the formation, you have to have completed, you know, several online operational tours in hostile environments. So, these are really high, high caliber pilots. They’re all playing an individual role that really support the, what the public sees, and that really aligns it you say beautifully in what I’m doing today because I help people shine in their own right but how they then come together and support that team that organisation to achieve the overall objectives. So yes, absolutely perfect.

Evan 6:34
In terms of entrepreneurship when was it you metaphorically hang up the mike and stepped into the entrepreneurial space. And how long have you been doing that since,

Darren 6:41
I think I’ve always been an entrepreneur, even when I was in school, I used to be seen, often in playground, you know, going out selling things that I didn’t want anymore and I found my colleagues at school that did want that and I was fanatical about collecting car badges, the decades that go on cars go around to car breakers yard and get some of these. I’ve got to be quite honest and say some of them, they were on the floor, they didn’t always get to be exchanged for cash. Maybe two for one from time to time, but I got to the point where I go through this phase and I found out that somebody else might want to be interested in taking some of my car matches, so I’d end up selling them so I think I’ve always been a bit of an entrepreneur, to look at opportunities and see where the market might allow me to get involved and be part of that moment. But I reached a point in radio. I didn’t know if I was falling out of love with the industry, or just really needing a change of the company I was doing for, and I had an opportunity of going to the Falkland Islands, as part of the promoted role within BFBS, and this was an undefined tool in terms of normally it would be, you’re going to Cyprus for three years you’re going into the Falkans for two years or you’re going to Germany for three years. There’s normally some sort of definition about the time you spend there. There was none of that for me going to the Falkans and I thought, I’m at a point now that if I didn’t make the leap. I will either have to stick with BFBS for the rest of my career, or I do something completely different. And I didn’t want to have any regrets I didn’t want to feel that I woke up one day and I was resenting the company I was still working for, and the industry I was still in, so I wanted to prove to myself that I still love radio, and I still love radio even after not being on the radio for such a long time I still love radio, and I still call myself a broadcaster, because everything I do I feel that I’m relying on the skill set that I acquired along the way. So, when I came to the point of making that decision. I started looking to get back into the world of commercial radio, and I saw an opportunity in the UAE, because of the look from the outside looking in, what the UAE had achieved. Certainly Dubai, you know, in terms of the infrastructure, coming up with the architecture, radio was lacking. To me, there was a big gap that needed my help. So I started casting my eye on coming to the UAE, and I reached out to Gulf News Broadcasting, they had these stations Radio One and Radio two. And I felt I could help them with tools, and they may eventually made me an offer I came out here, and I was the head of Radio Two. I was still in love with radio, the right thing, I’m still in love with radio, but what I was realising that there was a need for me to be doing more, and that was in terms of the leadership so being the head of the station, where you’re in charge of the presentation team who in charge of the programming. I was responsible, and part of my responsibility, although it wasn’t part of my job description. My responsibility was to make sure that I was nurturing and developing presentations, and this was my, I guess my first experience of working with a culturally diverse presentation team, so I had to really dig deep in looking at you know, methodologies techniques and approaches that I’ve been used to a long time, with a Western presentation. Now I had to do something very, very different. And I started to think, okay, about human behaviour. Something I haven’t really thought about when the early stages of my career started to take off within radio. When I started to go to Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq with BFBS, I started to think, okay, just gone through a rocket fire and mortar attack, and I don’t need to be here. I’ve chosen to be here, is that madness, why is that when some of my colleagues back in the UK would go nowhere new or buy that opportunity if it was the last thing available to them. What is it that makes one person want to do something, and run towards it? Another person wanders fast and as far away from as they possibly can. And it’s the same situation. So, when I got to the point of working with this culturally diverse presentation lineup, there’s more stuff we need to be doing, it’s not that I’m falling out of love with radio. I’m feeling unfulfilled, and I need to be doing more and I wanted to be doing more, I want to help other people be better versions of themselves. And that time I didn’t know how to go about that. So I started looking at opportunities, and there was a company in UAE, that really started to stand out and shine in team development team building and experiential learning, and that company is still going today, it’s called Abami and it was set up by a chap called Greg Nuget, who I mean he was a balmy, and I saw this as an opportunity of getting in and doing some of the stuff that I could then rely on some of my presentation skills, you know what sort of public speaking skills and get out and do some of this team building. And to be quite honest with you, I failed miserably at the start. You can still see the bruise at the end of my nose, when I fell flat on my face.
Evan 11:54
But you start free to start from where you are.

Darren 11:57
Exactly. But because I wasn’t Graham, people were expecting Graham, but I’m Darren, I bring something uniquely different to the table and not Graham. Graham, I couldn’t mimics Graham if I tried, you know he was, he was such a character you know he didn’t need a microphone, because if he was out doing a live event. He had such a deep resonating voice that bellowed across the field, he didn’t need a microphone. We’re different, you know, for the first couple of outings of me doing for them deliveries for a client, I got bad reviews. That could either take you off of course, and put you back into your shell, or thinking well, I just got to think about how I’m doing this not where I’m doing it and to whom I’m doing it. And that’s what I did. I thought that working with the Abami was great, it was a wonderful experience. And I really admired what they were doing. But there was no follow up with the client afterwards. So, if we did a half day or one day or two day retreat, Everyone had a fantastic time and it was a whirlwind, it was great, but what happens often. How do we see the impact of our time together, how do we measure that? And that’s what Abami weren’t doing, because it was not part of their objective, they weren’t doing that. I wanted to get more involved in that. So, if I’m working with somebody, I want to see the impact of our work together. I want to see what you have managed to achieve. So, I started skating, you know, in terms of their more one on one consulting and coaching, as opposed to doing more team. Although I have diversified, I’ve done more training, workshops, but the core of what I do is really on that one to one and developing people through their journey.

Evan 13:34
It’s such a rich experience that you have, and obviously that you put onto the table. Tell me when you made that transition from. If you want to call it employee to entrepreneur, what was the one thing that you have to unlearn.

Darren 13:49
That’s a great question. That’s a great question. I think I’m still trying to unlearn it, and that is the perfection, seeking perfection, and I still want to make sure that everything is, is where it should be in terms of quality and standards, and in my experience in terms of working with you as an individual. I want to make sure that when you talk about that experience to anyone else, no matter who it may be, is a positive one, and you can come back and relay some sort of growth, because without that. My success is not there, if your success is not there. So, that seeking perfection, I think is really because you’re doing everything yourself to start with that seeking perfection can be debilitating, it can be you can hold it back and waiting to inflict the trigger on on certain parts of that journey can be delayed almost indefinitely because we’re waiting for things to be just right before you go out and present that to the client or present that to an individual or an organisation. I think I’m still trying to unlearn that I still have a trace of that and it’s not quite ready I can polish it a bit more before I presented that polishing needs to be more polishing.

Evan 15:03
I love the candor with that one. I was guilty of that as well. And when I, when I learned was, it’s almost like making an excuse. And it reminds me of Warsha because in our household Warsha says its speed and excellence over perfection, getting it done.

Darren 15:19
Absolutely. Again, I simply get back to my radio days because when I was aspiring to get into radio. I started off in hospital radio so I’d go down once a week to a local hospital, and I’d go and visit the patient and gather their requests, and come back, we’d have a request show that would play those requests and then we’d go off and then we do aspire to get our own show maybe weekends or evenings. And once I got to this point where the station controller was granting me my own show. I used to have, I’d say nightmares for want of a better term or description must have nightmares about the music running out. The second deck, not working, and I’ve got to feel I’ve got to talk for however long before I can put the next piece of music on and style that. I’d said my early days in radio was very much about bridging the gap in the shortest times available to see what I had to say but also getting the comfort zone of the music, so ways to prepare and, but you do a bit more preparation, just in case. And I was always very, I guess, then one of those personality type models off disk where your, your high seas very cautious very conscientious, really, really low on decision making but high on seeking perfection, that was me that my radio career, a couple of things happened along the way that sort of broke me from that and help lacks on that needing to be overly prepared. And when I first started out in radio, we go back to the day where you had to scroll through or scan through newspapers, if you were doing an evening show. And quite funny because there would always be razor blades in the studios and get along, razor blades were for splicing, the tape you would be obviously recording on tape that you do some edits. The Breakfast Show team they would go in and they will start cutting out what they were going to be talking about on the radio so you will get to the point at the end of the day if you were doing an evening show. But you pick up is like looking through a fishing net, because there’s nothing for me.

Evan 17:17

Darren 17:20
nothing for read.

Evan 17:22
So yes, I’ve seen cartoons like that.

Darren 17:27
During your preparation and there was no Internet, before the days of internet really taking off. So, you start to go through encyclopedias and get your practice in some of the method, and I used to go in because I knew that I would do a late show and there’d be nothing for me to resort to from the day’s newspapers to open prepare and prepare just in case that piece of equipment went down and I had to pad for time. And I think that’s something that the stood in well, although I still like to be prepared. I’m more confident now that I don’t need to have a whole sort of file of stuff that I can go and rely on. I’m quite capable now of using my experiences to weave into situations and make connections. And that’s what I think transition from my early days of radio into connecting with the listener, coming up with stories that were relative, and they can connect with them made it real for them. And that’s what I do now, I will still put stories into my coaching sessions, consulting sessions that client can relate to.

Warsha 18:29
That is absolutely brilliant. Darren thank you for sharing this such a rich experience that you’re bringing to what you do today at YouNique group and I want to bring you straight to that to say, tell us a little bit about what you do today?

Darren 18:42
Thank you Warsha, the whole thing about YouNique. The spelling is quite unique in the sense, as well because it’s spelt Y O U N I Q U E. And to me, although it’s one word, I bring it down into two words is about you. So, when I was mentioning about Abami. Abami was great at what they were doing, but essentially the programmes were maybe tweaked a little bit but essentially the programmes were the same one client that they wanted a decision making programme, would be the same format it might be a different activity but it was the same format with YouNique, I want that to be completely bespoke and tailored around your needs as an organisation, but also the needs of the individuals within your organisation that will allow you to achieve the operational objective. And that’s something which I think is quite unique because if we focus on the people within the business, and how we don’t go in with a one size fits all approach, it’s about working with Warsha, individually, what are your talents, what are your, what are your potential blind spots, Evan, you might have different talents, you might have different potential blind spots. And if you start to identify what those potential blind spots might be. We can then really spend a lot more time on providing to those talents. So that’s where unique comes into its own in the sense of is bespoke yes, we can come up with methodologies and tools, which are not always our own tools we might use. Use DiSK and Values Indexes, you know, a foundation if you’d like for finding out where somebody is when they’re starting out on the coaching journey together. But essentially, that what we do in between is about building that around your specific needs. As an organisation, but more importantly the people within the organisation who will help me that those organisational objectives.

Warsha 20:28
Nice. So, could you give us an example. So, when you go into a client’s office, what are some of the typical things that clients actually ask for or they may not even ask for and something that you can identify for them, and possibly fill that gap and really hold their hand to continue to fill that gap.

Darren 20:49
I think a lot of experiences where if you’re dealing with the group head of HR learning and development. They will have had similar experiences when they go out to potential clients or potential partners and say look, as a client we’re looking for this, and I’ll give you the example I had just a couple of days ago I had a call with head of HR for university here in the U.A.E, and they said, we have got such a rich and deep experience within HR, we are disconnecting with the people that we are here to serve. So we want to do a customer service programme for HR, so I had a call with them, and to me it was about identifying with the individual is about where we are now, through the pandemic you know how we needed to connect with people. And I said to them, is it about putting the human back into HR, they didn’t quite like that for some reason, she said, Well, we’ve never taken it out, and I said no but we need to be. We need to be more aware of who we are here to serve. And not just the HR department as a vehicle. Now we have to think about skills that we haven’t previously focused on because there was a need to, it was more about the processes and the experience of making sure that everything went seamlessly. But now when you’re looking at maybe bringing people in, on board, and that onboarding process is a very different process for doing it virtually you, there’s a lot that you don’t see going on. So, it’s about understanding individuals on an individual basis, and reading some of the things that they will be displaying in visual clues that you wouldn’t necessarily pick up on, or difficult to pick up on when maybe interviewing them through a webcam. So, we started to look at the individual insights here and how you can develop communication styles around a virtual platform. So, that is just one example of how you can make it a bespoke experience for that particular organisation but also the people within that organisation.

Warsha 22:53
That’s wonderful. Darren, I remember we were having a conversation around this a few weeks ago, and you were sharing with me some very specific ways in which How now, looking after your team has changed because mostly the world has now gone virtual. So could you tell us a little bit about that and how do you suggest now for entrepreneurs or founders or CEOs of companies to some of the best practices that they can utilise to make this a wonderful experience for their teams who are now working from wherever they are,

Darren 23:29
You’re absolutely right, Warsha, and how we work now, is having a major impact on performance, productivity, and if you think about people, we all feel that they can lift the Jiva me have one thing these teams missing after another, you know, there’s a lot of pressures still out there, you know, if you think about where we were in 2020, and the gaps in terms of revenue, were starting to show themselves. Everyone saw the proceeds we get part of the 31st December into the first of January; everything will be resolved. Well, wasn’t that wasn’t reality. Yeah, there’s still that stage of levity, there’s still that overwhelm people, again, are adapting to being able to perform via a webcam and doing stuff, virtually, nobody’s had any formal training on this, and that’s what’s lacking even leaders are going in the expectations on them and their teams are showing up. Well, some of them may be showing up, majority of them aren’t showing up there. When I say not showing up, they’re not putting their camera’s on, because that needs to be a sense of reassurance, I guess, making people feel comfortable that you know whatever’s going on your background, we don’t care that we just on that. This is a safe environment, and leaders need to take that responsibility and make that a safe place for them with their teams to make them feel that actually, whatever is going on, and you know we all have different backgrounds, from where we come from, and a lot of people feel very conscious about what is behind them. In terms of the viewing angle of the camera, and some people are happy to share that some people are not happy to share that. But does it really matter if you’ve got a really close-knit team, and sometimes the leader needs to show some of the way forward by showing their vulnerabilities as well to the team. So, I think that’s an area where we need to focus on helping leaders, show their vulnerability that they don’t have the answers. And when you have people on your team, they’re not necessarily showing up, but I’m not even speaking. I also have over to when I did my first day training as a young apprentice in the automotive industry. I think they’ve three or four, somebody is saying, Look, if you’re caught in a road traffic accident, and you’ve got somebody who’s rolling around in absolute agony and you can hear their screams from around the corner. Ignore them. You crazy, but they’re in pain. But just think about the ones that aren’t making noise, they might have a blocked airway or something like that. And that made perfect sense to me because you know that the ones who are screaming, they will live their life they might be in a lot of agony, but they’re alive, the ones that aren’t making noise. They’re the ones that need tending to. And I use that analogy in my virtual trainings as well, because the ones that aren’t speaking of the ones that aren’t showing up on camera. There’s a lot of mental health issues, starting to rise from this, and we need to be drawing those people into the conversation, we need to be setting that space of safety and comfort for people to show up. There’s a lot you can tell just by somebody was actually speaking, or they don’t see is actually more beneficial to you. If you can read the signs and read the signals and with those clues that person is displaying through the nonverbal communication. So, there’s a lot the leaders have to take on board that they haven’t really had preparation training around. This is a very new field for them.

Warsha 26:58
That is absolutely true. Darren, there are two things that you said earlier that really stood out for me. One is, people today are working from wherever they are, and in most cases, they are at home. It’s a reality. There will be babies there may be cats there maybe dogs there will be family members walking around, and honestly, there are children who are learning from home. So, it is a reality of today so what you said is so true to really give them a safe space to say, you know what, that’s what life is about. And it’s okay, because we all have the same background happening at home, and how leaders can really make that safe space to say. That’s all right, and just show up, because we know what’s happening. And the second thing that you said was, someone who’s not making any noise is probably the one who also needs help and that brought to mind the fact that I learned some time ago that when somebody is actually drowning in water. They are not actually thrashing about they don’t make noise they because it’s very silent, and they just go bobbing in and out, and they’re unable to speak, or just raise their hand or anything so that’s the one you got to watch out for. So, that’s brilliant what you said, thank you for sharing that the people who don’t speak up are the ones who probably need more hand holding and more help and support,

Darren 28:24
Absolutely Warsha Thank you. And again, you know I think leaders are drawn to the ones who are responding and contradicting. And that, if that was in a face to face environment into a locker meeting room in the workplace, you’d be able to read nonverbal cues from the people that aren’t saying, but when they’re not showing up on camera and they’re not seeing anything. Develop alarm bells there as a leader you have the responsibility to go and investigate, and how you do that is the key, really creating that safe space, but also when not doing this, and allowing this to continue. What we’re actually doing is reinforcing those behaviors. And we’re saying it’s okay. And in reality, it’s not okay. And I listened to an audio book the other day, Steve Harvey. Things like his success, act like his success and he uses an example where he says, you know, lifting the lid, and what we’re doing by allowing us to continue is putting the lid back on and screwing up tightly, and what he means by lifting the lid. He said if you were to catch a flea and put it in a jar and screw the lid shut. He said that flea has the capacity and the potential to jump 2000 times his height, but what it will do as soon as you put it into the jaw, you will jump to potential anyways his head, so you might do that two or three times, and it will learn that you can only jump so high, and it would tell me jumps, it will stop short of hitting his head on the top of the lid. Now, as the family expands the fleas are coming into the family. And also have that natural potential within them to jump to 2000 times their own height, but what they’re doing, they’re following the patterns of behaviour from the parents, and they only learned, to jump and to stop short of the lid. And that’s what we’re doing effectively by allowing these behaviours to continue and not intervening, as a leader is a tough gig at the moment, being a leader, It’s a tough gig.

Evan 30:23
I totally agree with you. I mean I’m our internal meetings, Warsha is very insistent everybody turn your cameras on don’t care to any cameras on, I want to see you. And it makes the world of difference, particularly good at, insisting on sort of ad hoc lunch non meetings but it’s like a coffee time mostly, it’s just a kind of social kind of time with the team, so you’re still feeling connected, even though we’re all, you know, dispersed everywhere, and it’s amazing. One point that you made, which was quite interesting, and Warsha you picked up on this. It’s the silent ones, and I’m just casting my mind back to the corporate space when I was there, even if you are in a meeting room and there are quiet ones so often, they’re ignored them. But what’s become so much more important now is to take the cues that you can see which is a small part of a video camera, or at least a video screen. But aside from that, what’s the biggest change that you’ve seen with this working remotely and managing remotely,

Darren 31:27
I think it comes down to, accountability, and the engagement is really, I guess the two biggest areas of concern at the moment. And if we can nuture the peoples within our teams to be more comfortable coming into a meeting, and they’ve got an assignment they have to contribute something, so that is communicated to them ahead of the meeting. So there’s no opportunity for them to be not saying anything because we’ve asked them to work on a specific area, and that specific area, it means that they need to do something, it might be, you know, give us a list of your virtual biscuits and I don’t know, I’ve just been completely stupid and random. So, what are today for today’s meeting, I’d like you to come up with a virtual biscuit tin you know I want Jaffa cakes I want everything in there but I want you to tell what is in the tin, so everything goes down, and so that’s your contribution, and that you may not be contributing towards the outcome of the purpose of meeting you are contributing. If I notice, as your leader that you’re quiet, reserved you know you’re, you don’t like to be in front and centre or under the limelight. I’m going to give you a different task,

Warsha 32:37
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant, and what a great tip right there.

Darren 32:40
Yeah, I think we just have to assign different roles, even to those quiet ones, and just to make sure that actually they feel part of what we’re doing, they feel involved, and part of my sort of negotiation and influence work that I do a lot of that comes from the research that came out of Harvard in the late 70s, part of the Harvard Negotiation project, and Roger Fisher and Dan Shapiro, came up with the emotions in negotiation, and they sort of ground it down to, I mean, if you think about the number of emotions that we as human beings, experienced, I mean there were hundreds and for you to go through and label them and experience them it’ll take a long time, but what he did they managed to sort of grind them down and come up with five of them. What I’m not going to share with them right now. But I’m going to share one of them, and these are what they call five core concerns that we as human beings, all have in common. So, if you could actually come out, and you can you can create these whiteboard concerns you will actually have them on your side and know something about the other person even if you know nothing about them. They know that they have these five things in common with you, and that’s Appreciation Affiliation Role, Status. I’ll come back to the last one in a second. But yeah so, it’s Affiliation. So, you need to. In this scenario, you need to make sure that that person, that would not normally be coming forward and saying something, they feel affiliated to that meeting, they are part of that meeting, even if it is just going through a virtual biscuit, they are contributing. And they are being appreciated for their partner, they’re playing within the meeting as well, that they have a status, they’ve got a role to play. So, all of these five VPS core concerns we all have within us, and we always crave those be met on a visual basis.

Evan 34:36
So Darren with all of the new things that you’ve learned and experienced, even just in the last 12 months, what’s one of the biggest tips you can give to entrepreneurs out there on the way forward.

Darren 34:47
I would say, be open. It’s very easy to be focused on what we know has worked in the past and what is working for us at the moment. and I’m also taking a spoonful of my medicine here when I say this in terms of being open, I’ve seen myself over the I guess the last 12 months, certainly towards the back end of 2020 where I was almost closing down and I was, I was not being open to suggestions of taking into a different direction. I think the more I’ve had time to think about this, the more I’ve had opportunities to discuss it with other people, and now more open, because when we are open, so many more opportunities can be presented to us without us even having an idea that they might have even been coming on the radar. So, I think just be open, be open to your own way of seeing things but also open to other perspectives and perceptions of how people see you, and how you’re doing your business.
Evan 35:45
You were talking about the newspaper looking through it all the articles taken out much earlier. I just had a quick Google search because we can do that these days. That last core concern is actually autonomy

Darren 35:59
Autonomy that’s it.

Evan 36:01
So with being open. There is a little bit more of that letting go, I imagine that’s also what you’re suggesting that some of the business owners and leaders need to be aware of is letting go because people are remote,

Darren 36:13
Absolutely. And again, you know, the fear of not going according to plan, and whatever those repercussions might be. So that tends to drive a bit of micromanagement let somebody do what they’re employed to do and if it doesn’t go to the intended outcome, what are the learnings that could come from that. So, autonomy is a big one, is a big one, let them do what you’ve employed them to do show that you are trusting them believe in them empower them to do what they do. Because if you don’t, you know, again, it’s like the lid on the job, you’re keeping the lid on. Undo the lid out and jump as high as they can jump, and if it doesn’t get to the right height, obviously, they’ll get there. Why don’t you show them what it was that was missing in that previous jump, they’ll get there next time around.

Warsha 37:01
Fabulous. Darren you shared a lot of great tips for leaders where they’re managing a let’s say a midsize to a largeish team. What are some of the tips that you can give the entrepreneur or the founder of a small business where they’re looking at. They’re just building their team; the business has just begun to flourish. The teams are now beginning to take shape. So, there’s, let’s say they’re between five and 10 people, what would you say are some of the first things that they can do to begin to build that great culture.

Darren 37:32
I would say, getting to know each other, is key. And when we talk about getting to know each other. Let’s talk about getting to know each other outside of the workplace and I’m not talking about just socialising, I’m talking about knowing a bit about, you know, what makes that individual tick, what do they do the weekends, do they have any sporting interest in getting a bit of individual interest will not one person, because when it comes down, I hear the question. Very often, how do I motivate my team and I said well, what do you know about them. And invariably you will come back, what that person would respond with, is all about what they can do professionally as a team, but what about them personally, what are they as people don’t have time for that. And that’s what it comes down to, not having the time. And when we have that distance thrown into the mix as well, that to have one on one meetings and catch up with the individuals on the team, just get to know them with people. That’s what’s missing at the moment so I’d say get to know them as people, then you’ll start to hear some of those clues that you can use to motivate them, I’m doing a webinar tomorrow on the value of values. And when we think about values is overwhelming. There are so many that we can go through and we can align yourself to this multiple integrity and what about collaboration, I’m all about teamwork. But when you start to get to know somebody on an individual level, they will share indicators that you pick up on. Okay, so I know Warsha she’s very much into you know that bonding, I can use that she knows her people focus, I know what that’s about and I can use some of that in my conversation. And then somebody else might show something else they’re into cats or they into pets or something quite specific or into fast cars, you can use that specifically in your conversation, and you can show that you are actually taking an interest in that individual. So, you’re seeing what they do on a professional capacity, you’re paying interest to what they do and what makes them tick, what motivates them. And I think that’s the biggest thing is missing at the moment, and the time, we need to actually start learning some of these things, but in reality, it doesn’t take much time. It can be a quick five or 10 minute conversation, and in that conversation, you can have some very powerful clues that come forward, that you can use to motivate those individuals of your team,

Warsha 39:59
Getting to know the team and testing spot on, absolutely spot on. Because especially most founders, most entrepreneurs of young businesses are already dealing with a lot of things, and it’s so important to actually make time to get to know your people first, because the culture in your company, for it to even take shape. Yes, as a leader, you’re setting the tone from the top, but at the same time, getting to know your people is something that you’ve got to make time for, because these are the people who are looking after your company making your dreams and the company’s dream come true so beautiful, beautiful tip, and especially of the last two months, isn’t it, there’s been an immense pressure on small businesses to continue doing what they’re doing. And just to be there and one of the things that very often under pressure we tend to overlook that it’s while you’re looking after your business, your people actually form part of that business an integral part of that business is looking after your people. So, great tip Darren absolutely great tip. So, what’s next. At the YouNique group, Darren, what can we look forward to what’s coming?

Darren 41:09
Well I discovered in this whole, learning journey of pandemic is and I am going to use a motorcycling analogy with you here. When I was doing my motorcycle training and going through my test that used to say to me, don’t look at the front wheel. If you’re going into a bend, don’t look at the front wheel. Look around the bend, look at where you want to end up not looking at the front wheel. Because if you look at the front wheel we never get to the bend. And I think what I’ve been doing for, certainly the last few years has been focusing on the front wheel. Now I’m looking around the bend, you know, I drive my wife around a long time but now I’m actually looking around the bend, where I want to take YouNique. I want to get to the point where I can impact a lot more people, and that’s got to be through online and you’re about scaling, I need to scale, I can only be with one person for so many hours a day seven days a week 70 hours a month, etc. My purpose is to help a lot more people. And the only way I can do that is to scale it by doing more online so that’s when I’m looking around the bend. I need to get that platform, where is readily available for more programmes and products and services that people can access that doesn’t require me to be a one on one with him, I can just then create an opportunity for sort of checking in with them. And I think that’s where I need to be. And I guess we all knew this was coming, but I think I had to be enforced quicker than we would have maybe wanted them to be,

Warsha 42:43
Oh yes that change has certainly been accelerated. So, the future is here and future is now. So, great one, there’s a very specific question that we love to ask all our guests, and that is your ‘I Dare to’ statement. We all know what that is, we all actually fulfil it. Every day it during the course of our lives, yet we rarely ever actually say it. So if you were to articulate your I dare to statement, what would that be?

Darren 43:18
Talk about being authentic in one of my programmes called Mistral. The X lesser represents a certain part of the journey. The A is for authenticity. I think when I work with clients, I’m driving them to be bold in taking the actions to get them to be greater versions of themselves, I think I need to dare to be bold, being authentic to what I encourage my clients to do, because I’m very used to helping people be under the spotlight and getting into the limelight for them to be better versions of greater versions of themselves, and in doing so, I’m not as bold as I could be put myself in that spotlight because that’s, that’s something like you’re, I guess most uncomfortable with

Warsha 44:02
Brilliant and yet you are stepping outside that comfort zone that you’ve just recognised, and that’s exactly what you’re saying. Brilliant, really really love it, and you know what, I’m being transparent as well and I know Evan will 100% agree with me when I say this because I right now speak on behalf of us both. When we first thought of starting a podcast, Darren, I don’t know what scared me most writing a blog or starting a podcast, and thankfully, I talk better than I write, so I thought, you know, whatever Evan, big deal stick a mic, and just talk to each other. That’s pretty much what we what we said we are going to do. And look at this, this is, today we are recording this 17/18 episode already. And what has come out of this is conversations with some amazing people like you. It has been such a journey of discovery for us. So Darren, again, we’ve known each other for a long time. A long time. And yet there are aspects of what you do, and some of that rich background that you bring it has actually come to light, because of this conversation.

Darren 45:09
And again, congratulations on 17 episodes 18 episodes. Amazing.

Warsha 45:15
It seems like yesterday and here we are. So, something else that when we were researching and learning how to create this podcast, we had our trainer say, do you know, I’m on my 150th podcasts or something, and if I listened to my first couple, I cringe. And that’s a good thing because if I wasn’t cringing that means I haven’t grown, so it’s perfectly okay we start from where we started and right in the beginning as Evan said speed over perfection and excellence over perfection. So, excellence is what can we do best today, we give you so much love and support for your podcast that you are going to be starting. We’re looking forward to that. And I know that our listeners are going to want to now say, hey, Darren, We need to talk to you. So, what is the best way Darren for people to get in touch with you,

Darren 46:09
The best would be will be on LinkedIn. If you just go search for Darren Carrington, I always respond very quickly, and that’s the best place to find me. And you can also go to my website at YouNiqueconsulting.com Unique with a Y

Evan 46:22
Fabulous, thank you Darren. All of that will be in the show notes, so very very easy to find along with the transcript. Darren it’s been an absolute pleasure. It’s always a gem of a pleasure to speak with you. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful conversation.

Darren 46:34
Wonderful. Thanks, Evan and thanks again Warsha for the opportunity. Always great to catch up with you both, and to be a guest on your show I feel really, truly honoured thank you so much.

Warsha 46:44
Thank you for taking the time the pleasures is ours, and I know our listeners are going to love this episode. Thanks Darren.

Darren 46:50
Thanks once again, Take care.

Warsha 46:53
Hey, thanks for joining us, and listening right to the end,

Evan 46:59
Head on over to daretoscale.fm to subscribe, and access show notes, and transcription.

Warsha 47:05
Also, did you know that we have a Facebook page for our podcast listeners, come join the conversations at daretoscale.fm/Facebook.

Evan 47:16
Oh and also remember to give us five-star reviews other entrepreneurs can find this podcast like you and get value to scale from within.

Warsha 47:25
Fabulous! We will see you at our next show. Bye for now.


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