Make it Cheaper is a fast moving, fast growing business helping small and medium sized businesses save money on their everyday bills like insurance, utilities and telecoms.
Their culture reflects that energy – it’s fast paced, target focused and populated by largely young people, where Make it Cheaper is often one of their first jobs.
So lots of focus, loads of energy and often inexperienced in making that sort of culture work sustainably for themselves, the people around them and the company.
The founders at Make it Cheaper had already done a great job in creating a performance related culture, with quite a lot of emphasis on mindset and attitude though, by the time we started working together, it was a little disjointed but built on a great foundation.
The challenge was to help put in place a true high-performance culture, embracing all the fantastic things that were already there, adding some structure and removing any unhelpful habits that might have developed.
In short, our job was to establish a performance baseline, put in place structures that would work and equip leaders and performers to thrive sustainably, for today and tomorrow.
The first thing we did was to understand the existing culture at Make it Cheaper. Not just in a high level, outward facing brand sense, but in a real, practical, everyday sense.
- How did leaders think act and behave?
- What were the rituals and rhythms that took place in the business and were they helpful in a high-performance sense.
- What was going on that was great and needed to continue?
- What was going on that wasn’t useful and needed to stop?
- What wasn’t going on that would be great to start doing?
To do that, initially we spent time with the key leaders and founders of the business to get a clear sense of the flavour of high performance that would be right for the business going forward.
Make it Cheaper is a unique business with a unique culture and their version of high performance needed to reflect that, now and in the future.
At the same time, it needed to be soundly based on established high performance principles, so it wasn’t just something that was labelled high performance without reference to all the research, data and our direct experience in what high performance actually is and what it really means.
Then we spent a lot of time in the business, having structured conversations with teams, groups and individuals and we sat in on daily and weekly huddles and meetings to get a sense of how it really felt.
Creating a high performance narrative
The outcome of this element of our work together was to create a high-performance narrative for the business, so that there was a common currency of language and understanding in terms of what high performance meant at Make it Cheaper, the responsibilities and expectations of everyone in the business and the rhythms and rituals that would support and sustain it.
This was a key foundation for the other elements because it set out a clear mission and also debunked some commonly held myths about high performance.
Development of the narrative also meant that Make it Cheaper:
- Could share it with shareholders, partners and other stakeholders as a key point of difference and focus
- Could be used to inform choices when faced with different options
- Had a great document to support on-boarding, performance reviews, goal setting and recognition
There were many more benefits to the narrative creation and use, though for Make it Cheaper, these were 3 of the key benefits.
The second phase was to make sure that all Make it Cheaper team players had a clear idea of what performance meant for them individually so it could become personal.
Combined with the power of the narrative, this would really start to bring high performance to life in a meaningful way.
The outcomes here were that each team player:
- Understood their performance
- Were clear about how their performance connected to results
- Accepted and acted upon the belief that performance improvement is a way of life at Make it Cheaper
We ran around 6 of these sessions with around 30 people in each one, holding them early in the morning, around lunchtime and at the end of the day to minimise business interruption and maximise impact.
The third element of our work was focused on making sure that everyone at Make it Cheaper understood the practical things they could do to ensure they thrived in what is a high pressure and potentially high stress environment.
The leaders at Make it Cheaper were passionate about making sure that everyone’s physical and mental health was strong and robust and that at the same time as they were putting structural elements in place to ensure this, then individuals were also taking responsibility for looking after themselves.
To do this we ran a series of 2-hour workouts on the high performance approach to stress and resilience, focused primarily of physical and psychological readiness for the conditions they were likely to face.
The fourth element was focused on high performance coaching, equipping the key sales leaders and managers at Make it Cheaper to coach even higher levels of performance so that every person they lead would know:
- Their strengths, so they can lead with them
- What is causing their successes, so that confidence is robust and winning is repeatable
- Where they need to focus right now so they feel superbly ready to perform at their best
The impact at Make it Cheaper has been significant and continues to evolve. To date:
They have a clear sense of what high performance means for the business and everyone who works in it and they have developed rhythms and rituals to support it every day
Team players are superbly equipped to bring their best selves to work each day, supporting their performance and their physical and mental health
The performance coaching component has been massive for coaches and performers alike, truly embedding sustainable, healthy high- performance conversations as an everyday event.
The high performance culture already in place with strong leadership from those at MIC has been further evolved and continues to grow