Geraldine Butler-Wright from YoYo Wallet talks about Scaling Culture


I’m Geraldine,
or G, far less formal, and far less a mouth full,
especially with my surname. Today, I’m going
to be talking at, about scaling culture at Yoyo. So, I’m starting off
with a personal story this little lady here,
is Monica, and she’s my niece and she lives over in the U.S my husband and I speak
to her the most weekends, so we’ll have some
FaceTime with her. And my husband, he works
in the film business, so he has some amazing
stories to tell Monica, absolutely captivates her. An example being that Will
Smith said that my husband’s ski jacket was
dope, on one occasion. So, I got tough competition
to get her attention. And, one, one day, when I was
talking with her and she said, “You know what Auntie GG, can
you, can you, what do you do?” And I thought, wow
great, this is my moment finally, finally, I
can’t mess this up. As tempted as I was to go
into our me channel upgrade, and, and sort of our whole
payments, and our loyalty space, I though no, let’s
wait and until she’s at least 12 before that. So, I though, OK right, so how
can I explain to my own Monica Okay well, Monica, if you,
if you know Mommy and Daddy they’ve got their apps on
their phone, right yeah? So Mommy and Daddy go into
say their favorite coffee shop. They can buy their favorite
coffee, on their phone, and they can pay for it and they can get rewarded
for their purchase. Okay, right, I see her starting
to glaze, your okay no, it’s not just about
that, where I work, this company called Yoyo is,
it’s way more than that Monica. She said, “Well what?” I said look, I get to work
with brilliant people every day who really care deeply
about what they do. They love what they do. You feel it as soon as
you walk in the building. She stops, “Actually
that sounds really cool. I want to do that
when I grow up.” And I was like, yes, finally. So, to the point, our
current culture at Yoyo is about loving what we do. It’s really at the core of how
we live and breath culture. And it’s something that
we found very compelling. So, it makes us get
up in the morning and not hit your snooze button. We’ve all had that
feeling right? That Sunday morning, or
Sunday evening, feeling of oh my God, I feel like
I’m going to school tomorrow. Alright, we don’t want to be hitting the alarm
button too many times. So, seeing people
love what they do attracts, grows, and
retains brilliant minds. I often find me self walking
through the corridors at work and I’ll see huddles
of people talking, and their energy level
is absolutely infectious. I’ll be smiling, I’m
a crazy people lady, whose just smiling
randomly. And I love that. So, our culture’s
living, breathing, and constantly evolving. And it’s that mainframe for
how we do things around here. So, how many of you here
in start up organizations? Yeah, a lot right. So it can be kind of
volatile environment, right? Nobodies written a
play book before. Nobody has said, this is
how you do x, y, and z. So, if we can get
the culture right, it provides that framework
that can actually help people as we start growing and
scaling our business. So how do we keep our
culture alive and kicking and really just scaling? So at Yoyo to give
you a bit of context, last year, about this
time, we were about 40 people now we’re just shy of 80,
by Christmas we
should be at 120, 130. There’s some
internationalization
in there as well. So, you know, there’s a lot of change happening right? So how do we do it? So it’s recognizing a
couple of really key facts. So, this is a picture
from our Christmas party. It was winter themed, I don’t know how our CEO
in a Napoleon outfit, but nevermind. So, uhm yeah, I came
across this, and I’m saying a co-founder of culture, I
can absolutely not
take credit for this there’s a fabulous book called Culture Decks Decoded
by Bretton Putter, I highly recommend it. It’s a great summary of
some fantastic companies that are out there at the moment and how they’re doing culture,
and you can get it on Amazon. And yes, so we’re all
co-founders of our culture and that’s a big responsibility,
and each of us own it. So you know, a nod
to the Netflix’s deck as we were saying
before you have the freedom and responsibility to
do the best work of your life and it’s up to us
all, at this stage, we can actually shape our cultures
when we’re moving forward. So it’s created and it’s
driven by our people, and we own it. You see a people as absolutely
essential to a culture. It sounds super obvious, right? But without the right
people, in our culture we won’t have the right product and we certainly
won’t have customers. So it’s very much in that order. They feed into each other, and they keep
generating that energy. So, in terms of scaling as
well, we’re really clear on what our cultural
value proposition is. So if you think about
you know being inspired, being energized by
those brilliant minds, when I was talking
about those huddles, and you can just feel it. You can feel that something
great is happening and is about to happen. About caring deeply, about those interactions with
your colleagues when you leave thinking wow, I actually feel better
for that experience. I regularly feel like the
stupidest person in the room and I love it. Right? And you don’t come away
feeling those meetings where your talking with someone and it’s like that
Harry Potter feeling, when you’ve gone
dementor experience. Your never going to
get these minutes back. That’s not what’s happening
with culture at Yoyo. So also I think there’s a
really huge potential as well when your in a
scaling environment. We have all the
bells and whistles, and you know, you
have amazing perks, but actually, it’s not
about the beer fridge, or ping pong table, when
it comes down to it. It’s yet again it’s
actually pretty standard, it’s about people. right, people that you, that
you spend your life with, and the reality is we
do spend more time with our colleagues then our
family and our friends. So, you got to get that right. And getting the exceptions
right is really, really important as well,
we respect each other. So, this is a big thing, like
zero tolerance for red tap. That should say red tape. No red taps
in this building. So you know, making sure that
when we spot that kind of like yeah let’s, let’s have
four meetings about one thing that could
be dealt with by Zack. Uhn uhn, doesn’t happening, we called each
other out of that. And also, we shipped
earlier iterate, right. So, you know, never
letting the good, great get in the way of good,
let’s get it done. Keep that energy going.
Don’t let the inertia happen. So I think then,
then you get into, into a tricky, tricky patch. So to stretch yourself as well beyond the borders of our minds. So it’s changing each other. And we very much have a culture
where we do speak our minds in a constructive way, but
it’s that candid honesty again, nod to the Netflix
deck, also Bridgewater. There’s a great book,
I’m a complete dork when it comes to culture
books, just so you know, if you want any recommendations, come speak to me afterwards,
I will bore you senseless. It’s called The Everyone
Culture, and it talks about Bridgewater and how they
actually have a culture of when you start, you stand
up in front of everybody, and this is hundreds of
people, and you tell the crowd, literally the crowd,
what your weaknesses are. So our colleagues can actually
call that out if they see it. We’re piloting that at
the moment very gently. I don’t know how well, like
with the British culture, that matches, but certainly
a way of approaching it. And we pay forward
our knowledge daily. So, you know, for
mentorship opportunities, to actually beyond
the scope of the work, we’re starting at the
moment a range of programs where people can just pay
forward their knowledge. So code, coding sessions,
where people are teaching other people in the
business how to code. And also, just putting
out starting today it could be anything,
from languages, to how actually to do, do
great tricks on a yoyo. We have one guy in engineering, he’s amazing at yoyo tricks.
So I’m looking forward to that. Okay, so speaking up, and then having a huge bias for action. Right, so does anybody
know the difference between buffalo and cow,
other than the obvious? No, no, right. So
bare with me people. So a buffalo, when it
sees the storm coming it will charge for
the storm, right. Just go straight
through the storm. Cows will run off into
the other direction. But with the cows the storm
will catch up with them their absolutely knackered and they just got to take it anyway. The buffalo they’ve
got it over with, just like we’re ripping
a band-aid off right, and they can move
on with their lives. So our little mantra is be
the buffalo, charge the storm. If you see something happening, you just deal with
it then and there. So yet again, it’s going
back that bias of action. So freedom of
responsibility to apply the best
work of your lives. And you choose to
be at Yoyo right. And so when is comes down to it, and this getting
all philosophical, but we only have one life
as far as we know it right, if your not happy, you’ve
got to do something about it. Right. If somethings not working you’ve got the
change the channel. And that’s very much in
the feeling we have at Yoyo that the power is yours. Nobody is empowering you,
it’s yours, to make the changes you want. And to you know, enrich your
life. Work and otherwise. So we also know who we are, and
we know that we’ve changed, and that’s absolutely cool. Here we go, another
recommendation, so a great book,
has anybody come across this? Blitz scaling? – [Man In Audience] Yeah – It’s cool yeah? So much,
there’s so much in it. There’s a piece in
there that I’ve got here and it’s talking about
the difference of size and the different groups,
here when your, you know, so when you’re one to nine – family. One to nine, whose in the father of family setting right now? Yeah, does it feel
like a family? Yeah, yeah. So tribe is when you start growing to 10 employees so things start to get a
little more structured, so we kind of have to
be less generous there. And then you see there’s; village, city, nation. So I’ve been in organizations myself where you need that kind
of nation level, when we’re trying
to sort out culture, and culture is kind of
being dictated from the top. You know, to your point, does it feel authentic?
is this what we really are? When your at that co-founder
for culture stage in here, you can
really have a huge impact on how culture and that is a huge challenge. I don’t envy anybody
who is trying to do it. So we’re very open that we’re no longer a family because families can
sometimes be dysfunctional, especially if you’ve
got 80 people, that is one big
dysfunctional family. So we say, that, for
us it’s 60, you know, we need to be a team, and with a team you can swap
in and swap out players, and that’s the reality, but
you realize that actually it’s much that group
collective effort You’ve got to play nicely
with each other to get on, and to make our
business a success. SO from Yoyo’s perspective
2018 been very pivotal in going back to that
identity within our culture. So we’ve progressed
from start up. So here we go there’s
are little dinghies, some going in
different directions. some little lone wolves there. To wanna be’s. We’ve trying to get a
little bit more powerful, like all hands on deck,
we’re moving at speed. To scale up, to
where we are now. Our fleet. SO you can see all sorts of
functioning, working ships. We’ve still got our
pirate ship there. We’re not corporate
we’re cor-pirate. No I’ll stop. It never works that joke, never. I will persist. So owning our culture we say
that it’s the engine room back to that point of, if
it propels us forward, we don’t know
what’s ahead of us, you can estimate as much
we want but, who knows but it provides us with that
certainty and keeps us going. You may notice as
well, there are no cruise ships, or passenger ships,
in our fleet. So you know it’s, that’s one
of the tough things about culture, you know hard
things about hard things. People that may have
been absolutely fab when you our at that
one to nine employees, when your at the team stage, aren’t necessarily
going to be right for the next part
of the journey. So we’re quite decisive as a
culture when it’s not working we don’t just kind of ignore
and hope it will go away. We talk to each other
right. We communicate. And we’re fair and
open with each other. And also, it’s kind of being, just being a bit
changeling as well you know since, just
recently somebody said to me it’s not same as,
it’s not same as five of us of course it isn’t, we’re 80. How would it be, you know. But then you work
out what they like and what they don’t like,
and then coach them through. So many of that
success is binary, so it’s the input and outcome
and it’s just so visible when we’re in start up if
the outcome there or not. I’m sure many of you
are very very aware of. So we’re relentless, making
bigger, better, faster happen. It’s constant, it’s that iteration, shipping early So this is a great quote from
American football players. Anybody know…oh your nodding. So success isn’t
owned. It’s leased. And rent is due every day. So it’s remembering right,
got to keep on going, keep that momentum. SO clarity of
purpose helps as well to your point. I swear I wasn’t
writing when you were doing your presentation. We’re talking here about just making
sure everybody is on the bus, right, about what we’re doing. So you’ve got your
Yoyo goals and your purpose and your
ambition making sure that it filters through to
your larger function teams and cross functional squads. And it’s that
subtraction of growth constant going back and forward. Does everybody know
what we are doing? Why are we doing this? What’s the relevancy to my job? And having those town halls
and talking in one on ones and making sure
that the mileage is put in between the people. The big constants of our
culture as well through that first interaction point when
you click on our website way through to the selection, making sure that your candidates don’t get stuck
in Groundhog day, being asked the same question, each interview
panel highlight has actually
questions that focus on different areas
of the culture, or offer our on boarding. We make sure that there’s
always a meet before the offer is accepted
and when the persons started, so even if a coffee, a
drink, just something, that human side is
really important to us. And growth and performance
the same for leaving a legacy, So you know we’re
very honest as well, we tell people and say look, at one point we’re all going
to leave, that’s just life. So what’s our
legacy going to be? What you want it to be,
and you can make it happen. So our process,
you know when your growing, we were talking
about this earlier, your growing and
you get that point, especially when you’re in a
regulated environment when there has to be some
process that kicks in, but never prioritizing
progress over process. SO just to give you
a little snippit bit of what that actually looks
like through real time, Does anybodies heart sink when
you feel you’ve got to do a mid-year or end of year review? It’s where fun
goes to die, yeah? I think, am I actually going
to have anything meaningful, or am I just going to fill
out this from, goes to HR, human remains, and that’s
it until another six months. So we created a kind
of a lite version of performance management. Where you still actually
have conversations with the person that your
working with everyday, and actually are
their 360 reviews, and we use the Nine Box Model. So whistle stop tour, if
you want more info on this we can chat, at length, I’ll try not to do it
at length in privately, but I can send you
information as well. So just very quickly,
you’ve got the pink… I’ll move over here. …here this is all
good, this is all cool, your doing really well,
there’s opportunity to grow, we’ve got a rocket out here, specifically based
on conversations
with your engineer, our engineers, many of
which are top performers, and they said, “Well what
happens when I get here?” Which I love that mindset, it’s like I’m already
awesome what do I do? It will celebrate conversation
because you can go well let’s put you out of
your comfort zone over here how you can get back over there? So pink is all good. This area, we’ve kind
of got some problems. It’s kind of like
time to do some performance improvement plans. Comfort zone interesting thing, I’ve heard some of
our sales folks say in previous jobs you know
your performing really well but actually but
your a bit blah. Here, treading water, bit blah. I’m getting really
technical here. This I am refer to as sort
of a spaniel syndrome, so absolutely lovely, very
excited about everything, generating more work
than actually doing. Alright, so this,
we’ve got problems, we’ve got issues, we’ve
already gone down this route. And then end of the road,
it’s not going to work. So it’s very clear,
it’s super visual and people have found it
actually it’s been very helpful as well when looking
at not just only that kind of six month review process but using it for one on ones. Where do you think I am? I think I’m here. You know, so it’s that
individual responsibility in both the line manager
and also the individual to really start
marking where they sit. Final thoughts. So evolving and scaling
culture it’s constant and everybody owns it. Absolutely we’re hard
down the line in that. And it’s a choice of how we
actually develop our culture. And we can really see it,
as the fabric of what we do and how, where Yoyo is. SO if do have any questions, please come and
see me afterwards, I’ll be delighted
the chat with you and thank you very
much for your time. And if you want know
more about Yoyo, please download our app and you can use our
Yoyo gift voucher and grab a copy of
Nero’s, or whole group that
we just got right now. So yet again, let me know and I can send that
to you otherwise. Thank you very much. (audience applause).

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