In my penultimate role for BT I set up the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy and team for the Wholesale division. It was great fun and we had a lot of success engaging customers, colleagues and suppliers in finding better ways of serving each other and working together. After I left BT to set up What Goes Around I offered CSR consulting and research as one of our services. We’ve been trading for very nearly four years now and in that time I have researched and written one CSR report for a client, and that was back in 2011.
Our primary focus at What Goes Around is currently all about enabling companies to be more effective through improving communication, collaboration and creativity. Our experience in the field of CSR and sustainability is no longer current, so our clients don’t think ‘We must get Doug in for advice on our CSR strategy’, and CSR no longer fits closely enough with the work we love doing.
So as of today, we no longer do CSR consulting and research. Over the summer months I’ll be thinking even more carefully about what we are not, so that in turn, you will see what we are, even more clearly. We’re on a journey, this step will take a few more weeks to finish thinking through, and it’s something I’m very excited about. As things become even clearer, I hope it excites you too.
There is another, perhaps even more important reason why this change is necessary. Once clients engage and then work with us we typically get lovely, helpful feedback on our approach and the outcomes of our collective endeavours, but at the same time, I know that people are sometimes confused about what we offer, and how we can help them. As Neil Morrison elegantly put it to me, ‘Your conversion rate is great, but you simply don’t get enough enquiries’. Rob Jones has made similar observations, and they’re both right, and the situation is not good enough. It’s not good enough for our customers, or for us.
As well as acknowledging Neil and Rob’s help – I also want to give a hat tip to Ian Pettigrew. Ian has been generous with his time on a few occasions recently and has offered time to think and useful advice around clarity and purpose.
So my question to you today (and whether you are the head of a department, a front line employee, a board director, a small business owner or any point in between, it makes no difference), is this. What do you offer that nobody wants? Find it, and stop it so that you can free up time for something more effective, more productive and more enjoyable instead.