Growing With Our Experiences

Dave McGahey

·

Nov 27, 2020

sky and people

Here it is, the first article I have published in a while. Why now? Because this is part of a development experience, something I’ve historically not been that comfortable doing but an experience that I will learn from.

Development isn’t just that training course you think you should go on or that certification that is required for a piece of work. Development is a process that creates growth, progression, and positive change. At Upside, we know that one size doesn’t fit all and through experience and exposure, we can help develop people to the full in line with our values. Our values; Integrity, Growth and Spirit are intertwined into everything we do. These values are often used as ‘North Stars’ for a company to maintain course but can also be foundations to hold you steady as a business. As we navigate experiences for our own development we use our values to keep us true.

Stepping outside your comfort zone

To act and develop with Integrity we like to throw our people in at the deep end as a ‘heat experience’. They know there’s always someone to catch them if they’re about to fall. The whole experience is there to accelerate development in areas such as leadership, decision-making and taking responsibility. The idea comes from Silicon Valley where heat experiences are the norm. Acting with Integrity takes self-awareness and to develop this we all coach each other and are encouraged to have mentors who support us. This combined with constant feedback and reflection mean we can think more deeply about ourselves.

Sharing is caring

Growth also forms a key value for us. A training course is the easiest way of giving people the technical skills they need to do their job, but how do you hone these skills? We like to give our people the opportunity to learn from their peers and then practice during our regular lunch and learn sessions. 

“Working with Indy has been extremely insightful, especially when I got the chance to do Financial Modelling. I got the opportunity to learn from someone who has lots of experience and insight. He let me work individually but he also took the time to sit down and explain to me key concepts and best practices.” Upside Consultant

We see networking as a great tool to accelerate, support and supercharge peoples growth where it is sometimes difficult to know where to start. Our senior leaders go out of their way to tell everyone at our weekly stand-ups who they’re talking to and how they got introduced to them. We also help everyone to work on their personal brand and to post across social media on the things that are important to them. 

Having spent a large part of my career at larger organisations I know how hard it can be to embed a value of collective company growth but there is so much value in giving everyone the opportunity to actively grow the company. Take our interview process, for example, we invite our people to work with the senior leadership team when we’re hiring so that they experience interviews from the ‘other side of the table’. This accelerates the skills people develop in hiring the right talent and understanding the importance of putting a lot of time and effort into the process to get the best results.

There’s no ‘I’ in Leader

To act with the Integrity and continue with the Growth that we strive for, we all need Spirit. We need the courage to grow, the resolve to make the most of heat experiences, and the enthusiasm to gather the ingredients to be a founder of the future. Personalising a development plan is at the heart of Upside’s model for creating founders and leaders of the future. As you can tell, we think about this differently. It’s not just about deciding which qualification to get and then ticking them off the list, everyone is encouraged by their coach and mentors to consider all of the ways to gain skills and experiences and then practice them. This could be a qualification but it can also be setting up and running a side hustle. Spirit requires drivers and we can provide those drivers by giving our employees the opportunity to work with senior stakeholders.

Here is another heat experience. Our employees, no matter what their experience or position, get the opportunity to work with senior stakeholders and ‘reverse coach’ so that those people who don’t have much experience of coaching others get to coach our senior leadership team. This in turn develops our senior leaders as they take time to hear ideas and learn from everyone in the business. 

“My latest development goal is a longer term one. I use LinkedIn frequently and I was given the opportunity by our Managing Director to take part in a month-long sprint on social selling via LinkedIn. I loved the course and learnt tons. I now need to put these learnings into practice and create a process that we follow continuously for extended amounts of time to see results.” Upside Marketing and Communications Manager

The Expertise Economy refers to the way we learn as 'Learning Loops' where we gain knowledge; practice what we have learnt; get feedback, and reflect on what we have learnt from the experience, and the loop continues.

We’re forming our own approach at Upside, take myself for example, you are witnessing an area of experience that is on my development roadmap, to publish more of my thoughts!

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