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10 Questions for Roger Philby………

Roger Philby of The Chemistry GroupThe team at Enhanced were extremely excited to welcome Roger Philby to their offices in Poole recently for an exclusive Breakfast Meeting with local business leaders.

Enhanced have been busy embracing some of The Chemistry Group and Roger’s ideals and are involving all their members off staff in improving the culture of the company. Our staff had some questions for Roger…….

1) Kerrie – What was your first job?

Safeway (old supermarket) part-time produce assistant. You don’t understand pressure until you have done a Friday Banana order for Saturday. Bearing in mind the shop didn’t open on a Sunday. Under order and you had irate customers and lost sales, over order and the product was not sellable on Monday!

2) Joseph – Who are your influences in business?

Easy one. The three people, who have had the most impact on my business life, are Steve Jobs, who taught me that mediocrity is evil and the power of awesome communication. Steve Ingham, (now CEO of Michael Page), my first real boss. He taught me about work ethic and activity management, he also taught me that business is about focus on what you are good at and don’t be distracted. Lastly my wife, who would never settle for anything other than my best 100% of the time.

3) Mark Pollack – What made you suddenly think “I want the best culture ever”?

I was lucky enough at the age of 21 to land in to the perfect job for me at the time. I realised that the reason my performance was superior to other people is that I brought my entire self to work, everything, I left nothing at home. Actually I don’t think I have ever worked a day in my life. As I observed other high performance people, I noticed that in whatever function they operated in, it was their attitude to their role and their company that was the difference. Discretionary effort, innovation, creativity, initiative are not traits of super heroes or unique people, they are merely the output of human beings engagement with something bigger than themselves…Culture defines the “Why”, the “Why” should be bigger than a commercial goal.

4) Dave – How have you utilised technology to shape your culture, both internally and with clients?

Communication and sharing of information are the two biggest ways technology has supported our culture. For example we use Salesforce Chatter as our internal social communication tool. Swapping ideas, recognising each other, simple things like letting everyone know where you and what you are up to can all be done via Salesforce. We use Box to share documents and collaborate with our customers. It supports our collaboration but also positions us in the right way with clients…

5) Andrew – How do you balance letting a culture grow organically from staff input against imposing your own views on what the culture should be – and ultimately, which is the louder voice?

Not sure I really understand the question, you can’t set a culture from the top down…you can merely articulate your vision and let the staff define the culture. But it has to be a planned, systematic thing…this will help avoid chaos. My vision is always the guiding star, the culture is the collection of all Chemistry’s voices including mine, one should never dominate.

6) Andrew – Which encourages a better culture – a tidy-desk, well presented and clean-looking working environment or an environment where employees are free to decorate their personal space as they like with family photos, plants, children’s drawings etc. as they like?Or do the cosmetics of the environment even affect the culture?

I don’t know, depends on your vision for the company. At Chemistry our culture dictates cleanliness, clear desks every night. We see it as respectful for each other given we decided that we would hot desk to create more “collisions”…we set our vision and values, the type of work environment then followed…

7) Mike – What do you think is the next big challenge for UK business?

Understanding how to harness the power of every person who decides to turn up at their place of work…

8) John Clough – What makes a great leader?

Listening, being clear and consistent on their vision and never compromising on the quality of people they hire.

9) Mike – Where did the company name come from?

I made a big investment when the company was young and hired what I think are the best branding guys in the business (they launched Orange to the UK, as well as Innocent, Mini and Direct Line). They chose the name as it represents bringing scientific data to the art of people. It obviously is also about the Chemistry of people. I like it because no matter what the data tells you I still believe if the Chemistry ain’t right, don’t do it.

10) Mike – What’s a typical day like for you and your team?

It’s usually a blend of learning, more learning, collaborating and working with our clients to improve their business…apart from Monday’s when we spend all day learning from each other, there is no typical day.

Thank you to all our staff for getting involved and to Roger for taking the time to answer these questions.

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