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"Companies will always survive if the group of humans within them are living by a code and they adhere to that code more often than not. People need to feel like there is a law and religion within their organisation which they can count on."
Today’s guest is Jeff Wellstead. Jeff is CEO of Big Bear Partners and Chief Strategy Officer at GtmHub. Jeff is an expert in helping rapidly growing or hyper growth start ups manage their people challenges effectively.
Before moving in to Consulting Jeff was the VP of Global HR at Message Labs and Global Director of HR at SpinVox. In both roles Jeff was responsible for helping these rapidly growing starts up overcome the people challenges as they grew and continue their hyper growth trajectories. In the case of SpinVox Jeff oversaw the 9 fold expansion of the team from just 50 people to over 450 in under 2 years!
As a consultant Jeff works with organisations to create the environment to allow their people to thrive and succeed at work while supporting the founding teams in overcoming the strategic challenges that they face as hyper growth start ups.
We cover some really interesting topics in this conversation including:
How Jeff and the team grew SpinVox so quickly and the challenges they faced along the way
The people and cultural challenges that hyper growth start ups face as they scale and the warning signs you need to watch out for if you’re growing a business
The importance of understanding where you are in your growth journey and ensuring you build the necessary structures to maintain your unique culture as your firm grows
The importance of employee experience In todays world and what you should be thinking about if you’re looking to recruit and retain the top talent in the industry
And much much more!
You can find out more about Jeff on her LinkedIn page – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jrwellstead/
You can email Jeff at Jeff@BigBearPartners.com
Specific Things We Discuss in The Show:
Dunbars number - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number
Message lab - https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/messagelabs
SpinVox - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpinVox
Employees First, Customers Second by Vineet Nayar - http://amzn.eu/edvxufq
Exponential Organisations by Salim Ismail, Michael Malone and Yuri van Geest - http://amzn.eu/henljqZ
What We Talk About:
00:04:12 - How Jeff decided to take the job at MessageLabs and move to the UK.
00:07:22 - The differences between UK and US work cultures and how Jeff adapted to it.
00:08:26 - How Jeff approaches people challenges with his clients.
00:10:27 - The challenges MessageLabs faced and how Jeff helped them overcome them.
00:15:14 - What Jeff did to attract 'tech talent' to work for a company based in a town nowhere near a big tech hub.
00:18:37 - How Jeff moved to the start up SpinVox and oversaw the people side of their hyper growth trajectory.
00:23:22 - How Jeff identified and persuaded top industry talent to join SpinVox.
00:28:06 - Jeff's key learnings from the cultural challenges SpinVox had to overcome as it grew rapidly and how you can apply them to your own business.
00:40:49 - How to maintain your firm's dynamic and entrepreneurial spirit as it grows and professionalises.
00:45:26 - Jeff's move in to People Consulting with hyper growth start ups.
00:51:33 - The key growth challenges start up businesses face and how to identify and resolve them in your own organisation.
01:00:59 - How to maintain your organisation's unique culture as the firm grows and avoid the common cultural mistakes that many businesses make.
01:11:34 - Employee experience and the importance of creating a great place to work to attract and retain the top talent in your industry.
01:26:39 - Jeff's book recommendations.
01:32:22 - Jeff's closing advice for you whether you’re just starting out in Consulting, In the middle grades or approaching Partner level.
01:37:26 - How to get in touch with Jeff.