The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast

65 Unlocking Leadership Potential by Sharing More and Wasting Less with Tessa Clarke

May 27, 2024 Dr Nia D Thomas Episode 65
65 Unlocking Leadership Potential by Sharing More and Wasting Less with Tessa Clarke
The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast
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The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast
65 Unlocking Leadership Potential by Sharing More and Wasting Less with Tessa Clarke
May 27, 2024 Episode 65
Dr Nia D Thomas

Welcome to the latest episode of The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast.

In this insightful conversation between host Nia Thomas and guest Tessa Clarke, we delve into the integration of management and leadership roles in times of organizational change and growth.

Tessa Clark is  the CEO of Olio, a platform dedicated to fighting food waste and promoting a circular economy.  Tessa has a background in digital leadership and startup ventures, as well as her passion for sustainability, which led her to co-found Olio in 2015.

Tessa shares invaluable insights on fostering leadership skills, implementing tools for self-awareness like Radical Candor and the Colors communication assessment, and navigating the complexities of recruitment while upholding values at Olio. From discussing the importance of diversity and inclusivity in building teams to exploring the nuances of self-awareness at various levels, this episode is a rich tapestry of wisdom for leaders and managers alike. Join us as we unravel the layers of self-aware leadership with Tessa Clarke on today's episode.

Access Olio here

Follow Tessa Clarke on Medium

Support the Show.

Find Out More
Thanks for joining me on my learning journey! Until next time...

Rate and Review
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Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to the latest episode of The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast.

In this insightful conversation between host Nia Thomas and guest Tessa Clarke, we delve into the integration of management and leadership roles in times of organizational change and growth.

Tessa Clark is  the CEO of Olio, a platform dedicated to fighting food waste and promoting a circular economy.  Tessa has a background in digital leadership and startup ventures, as well as her passion for sustainability, which led her to co-found Olio in 2015.

Tessa shares invaluable insights on fostering leadership skills, implementing tools for self-awareness like Radical Candor and the Colors communication assessment, and navigating the complexities of recruitment while upholding values at Olio. From discussing the importance of diversity and inclusivity in building teams to exploring the nuances of self-awareness at various levels, this episode is a rich tapestry of wisdom for leaders and managers alike. Join us as we unravel the layers of self-aware leadership with Tessa Clarke on today's episode.

Access Olio here

Follow Tessa Clarke on Medium

Support the Show.

Find Out More
Thanks for joining me on my learning journey! Until next time...

Rate and Review
Once you've taken a listen please leave a rate and review on your favourite podcast player. A little word from you means a big deal to me!

Nia Thomas [00:00:01]:
Hello, and welcome to the Knowing Self, Knowing Others podcast where we discuss self aware leadership with thinkers from around the globe. I'm your host, Nia Thomas. Join me as we talk to today's guest. A very big welcome to Tessa Clark today, who is the visionary CEO of Olio. She's got a background in digital leadership and startup ventures, and Tessa excels in driving change and aligning teams around that shared vision. And her passion for sustainability, which was ignited by her farming roots, led her to found Oleo in 2015, which is a platform dedicated to fighting food waste and promoting a circular economy. Now if you haven't already had a look at it, Oliu, it's such a wonderful idea. I've used it several times and, and I think that the way that it brings the community together to reduce food waste is, is something that's really, really important.

Nia Thomas [00:00:53]:
So join us as we explore Tessa's inspiring journey, her mission to make a lasting impact on the world, and her insights about leadership and self awareness. Tessa, welcome.

Tessa Clarke [00:01:03]:
Thank you very much for having me.

Nia Thomas [00:01:05]:
So you're a leader of a groundbreaking movement in reducing food waste, but what kind of leadership skills did you did you have to nurture to get here? Because an organization like you would doesn't just happen overnight.

Tessa Clarke [00:01:20]:
No. It doesn't. And I'd say the first skill that I had to nurture was actually courage because it really does take quite a lot of courage to leave your corporate role, leave that career that looks great on paper, and take that leap out into the unknown into entrepreneurship. And also being a female entrepreneur, a female startup founder, there really weren't that many role models that I could look to. And so it actually took me quite a long time before I was able to have sufficient courage to kind of take that leap. I do think that having a cofounder in Sasha really helped give me that courage. So you've gotta take have courage to take that first step, but then everything sort of on the journey is about learning new things, so you're constantly having to kind of push yourself. So courage is definitely the first thing.

Tessa Clarke [00:02:14]:
I think the other leadership skill that I really had to grapple with very early on in the earlier journey is actually humility. Mhmm. Because I'd had a pretty I was pretty senior in my corporate career, and I was used to being in an environment where I knew the answers to most things. And as the leader, you were expected to have the answer to those things. Whereas when you're setting out on this voyage into the unknown, you very quickly realize that loads of people are gonna ask you questions, and you don't actually yet know the answer to most of those questions. So I had to get comfortable with acknowledging what I didn't know Yeah. But then resolving to sort of set about and, learning about it as quickly as possible. So the third thing really is the growth mindset.

Tessa Clarke [00:03:02]:
That's something you have to embrace in in spades, I think, to lead a start up. And then the 4th, leadership skill, I would say, really was around storytelling because you have to persuade other people to join you on your mission, whether that be your first hires or investors or the media. So you really have got to sort of work very, very hard and perfect the art of storytelling.

Nia Thomas [00:03:29]:
How interesting. And on our conscious that Olio is 10 years old next year, if I'd have asked you that question 5 years, 7 years ago, do you think your answers would have been the same, or is this something that it's emerged that these are the important leadership skills for you over the over time?

Tessa Clarke [00:03:49]:
Actually, I'd say they would became fairly obvious fairly quickly. When you come to grinding up against the reality of trying to magic something up out thin air, you very quickly learn that you've gotta show up every day, be courageous. You've got to have humility. You've got to be constantly pushing yourself to learn more, and then you've got to be able to package that all up, with with the language and the storytelling. So, no, I think that it became pretty immediately apparent. But it's certain there's certainly things that wouldn't have courage would have been obvious to me before founding OLIO, but the other 3 weren't necessarily obvious to me before founding OLIO.

Nia Thomas [00:04:26]:
Oh, so it's it's definitely been a learning journey and and quite a steep one. Yes. So tell us about Olio.

Tessa Clarke [00:04:34]:
So Olio is an app that exists to help solve the climate crisis by tackling the enormous problem of waste, specifically in our homes and local communities. And how we do that is we connect people with their neighbors so they can give away, run, throw away their spare food and other household items. We also have over a 100,000 volunteers who will collect unsold food at the end of the day from local businesses, such as supermarkets or a corporate canteen. They will take that food home, add it to the app, and then their neighbors will request it and pop around and pick it up. So everything on OYO is about circular living, sustainable living. It's about community, and it's about making sure the world's most precious resources are used rather than thrown away. And here in the UK, we've got about 4,000,000 people who've joined Olio. Globally, we've had 8,000,000 people join Olio in total.

Tessa Clarke [00:05:23]:
And each month, we've got about 5,000,000 items are being successfully shared via the platform. God.

Nia Thomas [00:05:29]:
That is just amazing that that and that reach is just quite phenomenal.

Tessa Clarke [00:05:34]:
Well, we still got a long way to go. But, yes,

Nia Thomas [00:05:37]:
congratulations. That that really is making a huge impact in in everyday lives, and it it comes into my kitchen, and it goes into other people's homes. As you say, it's, it's neighbor to neighbor and, and that is, that is community building at the same time.

Tessa Clarke [00:05:52]:
Yeah. Exactly.

Nia Thomas [00:05:53]:
So it's something that I'm interested in is the values of organizations. And people will have heard me say this before that as managers, we look down and in, and as leaders, we look up and out. How then do you combine that leadership and management so that you really do live the values of Oleo every day?

Tessa Clarke [00:06:15]:
So I'm glad you asked about this because values is something that we are really, really passionate about at Telios. We've got a very, very clear mission. And the first thing we do is whenever we recruit, we recruit not just for mission alignment, we recruit for mission obsession. Oh, okay. The second thing that we do is we recruit against our values. So we have four values. They are inclusive, resourceful, caring, and ambitious. And every person who interviews to join OLIO has to, at some point in the journey, kind of present against those values.

Tessa Clarke [00:06:54]:
And we find that if you have a group of mission obsessed people who cut when they believe the same values, actually, it means that the day to day living of the values is not that difficult. It's just very, very intuitive to people. Now, of course, we measure how well we're living against our values. We have an employee satisfaction survey, which we do twice a year, and we kind of rate ourselves on how well we're living our values. And that's always been an area, actually, we've done, relatively speaking, really well, as an organization. And we use our values to not only inform our recruitment processes, but we manage our 360 feedback according to our values, and we use our values on a day to day basis when we are trying to make business decisions. We look to our values to help us make the right decision.

Nia Thomas [00:07:41]:
I'm really interested in exploring that. I spoke to Chris Dyer because, as we often say, recruitment has got a lot to answer for. And when Chris Dyer and I were talking about this, how do you recruit to values? And I was interested that you was you're saying that people present to it or are able to talk to your values at some point during that process. Chris was talking to me about the the the challenge I wouldn't go so far as to say danger. I I I think it's a challenge of how do you recruit to values whilst also ensuring that you have cognitive diversity in your organization and that you don't have groupthink whereas, as you say, you have that mission is something that everybody is passionate about and and obsessive about.

Tessa Clarke [00:08:29]:
So good question. I think we are living proof that you can recruit for mission and for values and still have enormous diversity and diversity of perspective and thought. And I guess maybe where advantage in this in that our number one company value is inclusive, So we are very, very mindful in terms of how we recruit to make sure that we do get the full spectrum of humanity represented and working at Oleo. As as I sort of said, as part of the recruitment process, each person has to present. So there is a specific question in the presentation stage where you have to present against each of those four values, and we encourage people to use either examples from their professional lives and or examples from their personal lives. And it is very, very clear where someone authentically has a lot to say about that value and how it aligns with them as a human being, and you can sense other people are really having to kind of scrape the barrel a little bit to try and force fit themselves into that value. So it's a very, very effective mechanism for really kind of weeding people out. And then in terms of our diversity data, roughly kind of a third of the OLEO team identify as neurodiverse, so we definitely have, that sort of that diversity.

Tessa Clarke [00:09:57]:
We have also sort of similar amount, our LGBT q plus. Roughly a quarter of our team are from, ethnic minority groups. Just under 60% of our team are female. So we have a very, very diverse team, and so we absolutely have not found that recruiting for values results in groupthink.

Nia Thomas [00:10:19]:
I think that's something that listeners and watchers will be really interested in finding more about because I think, generally, this is a challenge for organizations. So maybe this is something that that you would be able to talk more to them about if there are big organizations who are are looking for advice and guidance as to how to do this well. They can certainly come to OLIO and and look at that model of really good practice. So we are interested in self awareness and and self aware leadership, specifically in this podcast. What does self awareness mean to you?

Tessa Clarke [00:10:55]:
Well, I was fascinated when you sent the question over because I thought, gosh. That's a pretty deep question, and I went to a couple of places with that. The first I think of self awareness on sort of multiple levels. So the first level, I just kinda called the meta level, and that's about having a degree of self awareness about your role in the universe. And I find that quite grounding and centering and quite important. So on the one hand, I recognize that the fact that I exist or you exist is nothing short of a miracle. 1,000,000,000 of things have to go right for that to happen. Yeah.

Tessa Clarke [00:11:29]:
So I kind of hold in my mind, wow. What an incredible privilege it is to be alive, to be a leader. On the other hand, I recognize that I'm a tiny insignificant speck in the universe, and that's really a very, very kind of sobering thought as well. So I I I sort of use those two examples to keep me sort of quite balanced just in terms of how I show up. You know, I'm not taking myself too importantly, but, similarly, not completely thinking I'm irrelevant and unimportant and and sort of a victim. So that that's the kind of meta self awareness. So then think about self awareness within the organization. And one thing certainly that I have learned a lot, at Oleo is the weight that you carry, that your words carry, that your actions carry, in particular as a founder of the business.

Tessa Clarke [00:12:25]:
And whilst that's sort of fairly obvious when you are a CEO of a large organization, you're kind of fairly used to that. It's actually more challenging, I would say, when you are a leader in a rapidly scaling organization because you remember, sort of in living memory, when you were sort of in the trenches, shoulder by shoulder, working with everybody, so you think that you're just one of the gang, one of the team. But as the organization scales quite quickly, you have to recognize that your role needs to scale, as quickly as well. And so it's really important to constantly remind yourself of just the undue weight that people apply to your words and your actions. And then the final level is about that sort of personal self awareness. And for me, that's about having a really honest understanding of your strengths and your weaknesses and and how you show up day after day in the workplace and understanding what words people would use to describe you. For example, how you make people feel when they spend time with you. And that's something where 360 feedback, employee satisfaction surveys, all those sorts of things can be an invaluable source of insight and information as well as your daily interactions.

Nia Thomas [00:13:39]:
Yeah. Most definitely. Listeners, just to let you know, Tessa and I have not met before. However, Tessa have talked about 2 of the directions of my self awareness compass already. We've talked about humility and behavior, which is as listeners, watchers, you probably already know that it's modeling behaviors what particularly interests me. And we've talked about those 2 elements already without even talking about a compass.

Tessa Clarke [00:14:05]:
Tell me. I'm intrigued about a compass now, though.

Nia Thomas [00:14:07]:
Oh, right. It's in the book. It's in the book. Okay. So there's a 9 pointed compass and and it creates a mnemonic, which is c h a r t a b l e. It's chartable. So it's about being on the leadership journey. And, each of those, c h a r t a b l e, they have a particular element.

Nia Thomas [00:14:25]:
So it's care, humility, adaptability, listening, etcetera. But you'll have to get the book to find out the rest. So tell us about any moments that you've had that have made you really question your leadership or explore your self awareness. And I and I was interested in in what you were saying about that that speed of scaling up. You you gotta learn pretty quickly about yourself and and who you are and your branding on that journey, I

Tessa Clarke [00:14:52]:
guess. Yeah. I'd say the first point at which I really started to question myself was at the very beginning of the journey. So I, almost overnight, went from being very senior in a large corporate environment, to the next day being, relatively speaking, kind of insignificant, just me and my cofounder trying to make change happen in the world. Mhmm. And that's a very humbling experience because it makes you realize how many sort of trappings of power you get to benefit from when you exist in in a corporate organization to kind of get stuff done. And suddenly, that's all been nuked, and you're back to just yourself and and your wits and and and your abilities. Definitely kind of through the scaling journey, as I've already touched on.

Tessa Clarke [00:15:40]:
And then the other thing that I haven't touched on is I do spend a lot of time reflecting on gender because we are a female cofounded business. And the tech world in which we operate, in particular, the start up world, is very, very male dominated when it comes to funding. For example, female businesses, just get 2% of all venture capital funding. Male founded businesses get 85%, and mixed teams get the delta. So we're operating in a world where the odds are really very much stacked against us. So I've spent probably too much time actually sort of double guessing and and questioning myself and wondering what would a man do in this situation. So I'm not sure if that's particularly healthy or not, but it is it is a reality when I've been questioning my leadership my leadership style.

Nia Thomas [00:16:27]:
Oh, interesting. So tell us about the moments that you know, what are those key things that you have learned about yourself on that journey? What what if if you had to sell yourself as the leadership brand of you, what would that be?

Tessa Clarke [00:16:45]:
So several things. I think the first thing most people would say is passionate. So I'm definitely got a lot of passion for our mission, definitely very high energy, extremely resilient, definitely will not give up at the first hurdle, and so we'll think very creatively, very laterally around how to solve problems. So I absolutely love, working with the team and solving problems. I really enjoy that sort of dividing and conquering sense amongst a team when a kind of team gets into flow. You've got all the right people in the right places, and you've got that really high sense of trust, and also autonomy. I think that's something else that people say is, very sort of, symptomatic of my leadership style. I'm definitely not a micromanager.

Tessa Clarke [00:17:34]:
So whilst I can dive down into 10 millimeters of detail and then up to 10000 feet, I don't enjoy micromanaging how people approach their work. I'll definitely challenge their work down at the 10 millimeter level, but I prefer sort of giving them a brief and then letting them sort of go off and run with that.

Nia Thomas [00:17:55]:
Is there something that you've identified, particularly when we're talking about the gender? I was I was interested what what you said earlier about that there are more men in your entrepreneurial fields than women. Something that I, identified in my research was that people who work for women identify them as having greater self awareness than men generally. What are you seeing in the men and the women that you are working with? Where does self awareness sit in in that gender divide?

Tessa Clarke [00:18:30]:
Yeah. I mean, I always get a little apprehensive talking about gender because it makes it very black and white and very binary. And the reality is we're all on a spectrum, but I do so somewhat similar question, which I'm gonna twist slightly, and it hopefully will answer your question. But there's lots of data which shows that businesses run and led by women outperform businesses run and led by men. And I was always sort of very confused and perplexed by that, much I'd like to say, you know, women are just better. That doesn't kind of sit quite right with me. And then I saw some data fairly recently which said that women build more diverse teams and more diverse teams outperform. I was like, Now I start to understand that.

Tessa Clarke [00:19:11]:
And then I asked myself, why are women building more diverse teams? And I think it is because, as women, we are used to being outsiders. And if you're an outsider, I think you have a natural empathy with anyone else who would also consider themselves to be an outsider. And as an outsider, to make stuff happen, you've got to build collaborations and consensus and build momentum for what you want to do. And so by very definition, if you are an outsider, you can't just take a command and control approach to getting stuff done. So I think that is where that empathy piece comes from. You're only gonna get so far doing command and control. You've got to build or flex that empathy muscle. You've got to get others on board and working with you.

Tessa Clarke [00:19:59]:
And I think quite naturally, you feel a lot of empathy for others who, like you, are battling against the status quo.

Nia Thomas [00:20:07]:
That's a fascinating perspective, and and, I think it's probably something I'm gonna look into. It's probably something there's probably a Harvard Business Review article on its way out that that maybe he's looking into that. So There might be. Yeah. Very interesting.

Tessa Clarke [00:20:20]:
Just my my my my musings from various, runs and stuff like that. Yeah.

Nia Thomas [00:20:27]:
Do you think that the needs of your colleagues and your employees have changed over the last few years? And and being that you're nearly 10 years old, you lived before COVID, and now you're seeing the world beyond COVID, and and I think COVID changed us all. Are you seeing that what your staff, your employees, your colleagues are asking of you, both as an organization and as a leader, is it changing?

Tessa Clarke [00:20:50]:
Sort of yes and no. So Oleo has always been a remote first business. So for us, COVID, was a huge personal impact on us. In terms of the ways we worked and our professional relationships, it didn't have any impact on us at all. We didn't have an office that we all had to go home from, and we had designed all of our systems and our processes and our ways of communication to be remote first. Mhmm. I do kind of reflect on the culture we've built at OLIO, but also the expectations of people when we're recruiting and bring people in. I do a bit of a compare and contrast of the conversations I'm having now as part of recruitment versus 10, 15, 20 years ago when I was recruiting a corporate career, and it is very, very clear to me that well-being, flexibility, and autonomy are topics that are really, really important to a growing number of people.

Tessa Clarke [00:21:45]:
And I sort of definitely believe I think sort of myself and Sasha, one of our hallmarks of our leadership is our very passionate belief that everybody, not just the senior people, should have that sense of flexibility and autonomy and should have the ability to prioritize their personal well-being even during the so called working day. But that has definitely and the whole conversation that we're having around mental health, I mean, just quite frankly, didn't exist 10, 15, 20 years ago. So that's definitely been a a change before OLIO through to OLIO. Then in terms of the requirements of our team, those chain those requirements have mainly changed as things have happened in the business, for example, as we have gone through periods of rapid growth. And then also, very sadly, last year, we had to retract, in light of the challenging macroeconomic environment. And we did have to do restructurings for the first time last year, and that was the first time that, you know, it was an extremely difficult period to go through. And it was the first time we really created what I refer to as organizational scar tissue. Yeah.

Tessa Clarke [00:22:53]:
And, absolutely, that is something that we are still having to deal with, to this day. And then the only other thing I think that is sort of changing is as we're growing and as we're scaling, we are starting to recognize that whilst we're a mate first business, there are some functions within the business where there is a far higher degree of desire to connect in real life, and there are other functions that are really, really happy to be a 100% remote first. And so we're just continuing to kind of work our way through this slightly remote first, but slightly hybrid y model that we have of getting stuff done.

Nia Thomas [00:23:29]:
And I think I'm talking to more and more people who are seeing this the the organizational structure and the organizational culture. It's somewhere along a spectrum. It was either a very traditional, more industrial type organization, and now it's having to be hauled into post COVID world. Whereas you had the more modern organizations that were already sort of moving towards a a modern way of working before COVID happened. Mhmm. And I

Tessa Clarke [00:23:58]:
think there

Nia Thomas [00:23:58]:
are there are there is such a pull towards this change, and I can really see how people are on different points of that spectrum and that and that trajectory of change.

Tessa Clarke [00:24:09]:
Yeah. We I mean, we're a female cofounder business. And as I say, we were remote first before it was a thing. And, actually, okay, it was our sort of dirty little secret because pre COVID, no one actually believed that we could build a successful business in this way. So Sasha and I stopped trying to persuade people this is an incredibly effective model. And whenever people ask about our offices, we just sort of subtly change the topic of conversation. That there are so many things. We often say that as female cofounders who between us had 40 years corporate career, we kept roughly half of what we can say to be the good stuff that we learned from our corporate backgrounds, but we happily jettisoned the other half.

Tessa Clarke [00:24:50]:
And we've really enjoyed creating a very modern business. So, this kind of remote first way of working would be one example. Our holiday policy would be another. We have limitless holiday, at Oleo, but there's just one, constraint there, which is that you must take off a minimum of 20 days to make sure that people are actually sufficiently well rested. And there are lots and lots of other sort of smaller examples of how we are building OLIO differently, and I think that's because we're coming at leadership from a different and from a female perspective.

Nia Thomas [00:25:25]:
Definitely. I'm interested in leadership at different levels of organizations because, traditionally, if you say leadership, people think of people at the most strategic end of organizations or right at the very top. As an organization that's really scaled quickly and you will have seen these layers grow, what are your thoughts on people within organizations who are demonstrating leadership qualities at different levels. Are you seeing that? Is that something you're nurturing? How does it look in Oliu?

Tessa Clarke [00:25:58]:
Yeah. So it's really interesting because earlier on, you talked about the delineation between managers versus leaders. Certainly, all the organizations that I've worked at have been organizations that have been undergoing change. Not all of them, but most of them, because I'm attracted to change and to uncertainty. And when you're in an environment that does have a lot of change and uncertainty or if you're growing very rapidly, then, actually, I personally think that that differentiation between leaders and managers is a bit of a false, differentiation. And so, certainly, at Oleo, I would consider all of us to be leaders of some way, shape, or form. At the most micro level, a leader in terms of how we conduct ourselves, how we show up, how we collaborate with our colleagues through to a team leader or a horizontal leader all the way through to divisional divisional leaders. But I want to create an environment where we really nurture the sense of leadership, and then I believe that you need to have the management sort of basics and hygiene factors in place.

Tessa Clarke [00:27:08]:
That's a prerequisite of, being a leader. So we we don't really sort of differentiate between those two roles in quite the same way that you might do if you were managing a very large corporate.

Nia Thomas [00:27:20]:
That's a a helpful way of thinking about it. Because in my mind, when I'm talking about management and leadership, I'm thinking of the functions. And I'll I'll say that as individuals, sometimes we've gotta manage, sometimes we've gotta lead, and, you know, we've often gotta do both. But, yeah, I think that's far more helpful than that, divide between managers and leaders, which, whether it's an immediate ploy to generate some kind of conversation, I don't know. But I think talking about it in terms of management functions and leadership functions is probably far more helpful because, yes, I don't we can split it. Certainly is, you know, when you work in in organizations, you have to do a bit of both. Do you, as a company, support people to develop their self awareness? So you talked about nurturing leadership skills. Where does self awareness fit in in that development program?

Tessa Clarke [00:28:10]:
It's very timely that you you should ask this question because every Monday, we have a company call. So it's a company all hands. Everybody's on it. And last Monday, we did a bite sized l and d session on Radical Candor. So Okay. Radical Candor, is a book and a concept and approach that we've really embraced at Oleo. When people onboard, we give them a quick 101 on radical candor. And the reason why we focus on that so much is because we recognize that in a fast moving, fast growing brilliant at giving and receiving feedback, it can, be quite quite sort of counterproductive.

Tessa Clarke [00:28:56]:
And one of the biggest challenges that we have at Oleo, actually, is that because we've got caring as one of our company values, there's a real risk that we can fall into the quadrant of ruinous empathy. So we don't want to give people direct feedback because we care so deeply about them. We don't want to hurt them. Yep. So we're constantly reminding the team of the importance of radical candor. So that's, one thing, that we do. And so twice a year, we do a formal 360 feedback process, but we also encourage people to be exercising radical candor on a weekly, if not daily, basis. And then the other thing that we've got coming up soon, which I'm really excited about, is using the, colors communication assessment tool.

Tessa Clarke [00:29:39]:
So the sort of the red the reds, the blues, the greens, and the yellows, And I'm really looking forward to that because it's a tool that I've used before in my past as has our people in culture direction. I found that having that language very powerful in an organization to help people understand one another, but also to explain themselves and their and their communication stuff. So they're just two examples of things that we are doing sort of right now to try and help people develop their self awareness.

Nia Thomas [00:30:11]:
Tessa, there have been a couple of things that you've said today that I think other organizations really would want to tap into your good practice and your learning and your experience. Where would people go to find out, not necessarily about what OLEO does, but how you do it?

Tessa Clarke [00:30:30]:
So I guess 2 places. The first, would be I do write blog posts on Medium, so I'm attessalfclark. And there, for example, you can read about how we have built the organization to be remote first from the bottom up. Another, LinkedIn would be, to find me on LinkedIn, again, Tessa Clark, because I will share information to that effect. And then also on the careers page on the Olio website, which is, there's videos and and commentary materials, which I think give real flavors to how we approach these sorts of things.

Nia Thomas [00:31:14]:
Brilliant. I will make sure that everything that Tessa has just mentioned then is in the show notes for you to go and have a a look at. Final question just before we let you go. What would be a key piece of advice that you would give somebody who is newly founding a company now?

Tessa Clarke [00:31:32]:
So many piece of advice. Just a couple that I think are most pertinent for the earliest of days. The first one is to really, really, really focus on the problem that you're trying to solve and to forget about your idea. Because too many early stage founders think they've come up with an idea, they fall in love with their idea, but, actually, the reality is that's the wrong idea to solve the problem that the market has, whereas what you need to do is really laser focus on what is the problem that the market has, and then you need to be really flexible and lateral and experiment a lot to figure out what the best solution or idea to that is. The second thing that I would absolutely highly recommend is reading a book called The Lean Startup by Eric Wiese. It's been absolutely game changing for, myself. We ask everyone who joins earlier to read that book, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's all about that sort of test, measure, and learn, taking that scientific and experimental mindset to building not just your business, but building culture, of your business as well.

Tessa Clarke [00:32:38]:
And then the third and final thing I would say is to start small, do stuff that doesn't scale, and worry about the scaling piece further down the line when you get to it.

Nia Thomas [00:32:48]:
Absolutely brilliant. Lots to think about, lots to learn, lots for organisations to really consider where they are in that that space and to go to medium, find out more, and read the book. We will make sure that all of those links are in the show notes for you. Tessa, thank you so much for joining me today. It's been such an interesting conversation. Thank you.

Tessa Clarke [00:33:10]:
My pleasure. Thank you for having

Nia Thomas [00:33:11]:
me. I'm thrilled, delighted, and so excited to announce the launch of my book, the self awareness superhighway Charting Your Leadership Journey. The book has got 3 parts. Part 1, Why Are You Here Traveller? Which is all about defining and describing self awareness, leader effectiveness, and leadership at all levels, and setting out why it's important to you, the reader, me and us. Part 2, Where Are You Going? Sets out the nine directions of the self awareness compass. The 9 chartable compass points cover things like care, humility, authenticity and reflection and chartable is a mnemonic, c h artable. Part 2, also explores the signposts and directions that enable you and the roadblocks and trip hazards that obstruct you on your journey during your working life. Part 3: How will you get there? This describes, the variety of tools, techniques and methods that I've come across during my exploration of self aware leadership that you can use to develop your self aware leadership skills.

Nia Thomas [00:34:27]:
And it covers things like mindfulness, journaling, coaching and 360 degree assessments. I've dedicated my book to those who want to care better for others and those who want to be better cared for by others. I think it's going to be of most interest to people who manage people and have a desire to improve their leadership and management practices. And I also think that it's going to be of interest to people who've been led by poor leaders and people who want to know how they can in turn be better and do better than the people that have managed them. Please remember to leave a rate and review on Amazon because rates and reviews influence rankings. And the higher my book goes in the rankings, the more chance we have of developing self aware leaders and self aware workplaces. Thank you for joining me on today's episode where we aim to develop self aware leaders around the globe to generate kinder, more respectful and creative working relationships through reflection, recognition and regulation. Head over to my website at to sign up to my newsletter to keep up to date with my blog, podcast and book.

Nia Thomas [00:35:40]:
Looking forward to having you on my learning journey.

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