To coin Simon Sinek’s very well-known phrase, the year 2021 was definitely about finding my "WHY?”
As a business owner, you aspire to lead, but doubt can creep in. I’m sure I wasn’t alone over the last 18 months, with my head between my hands on several occasions, questioning whether the path I was on was the right one.
The word ‘unprecedented’ has been used a lot recently, but truly, has there ever been a greater, more unexpected challenge for leaders from every sector? Who can keep their head about them? What's the next move when there is no playbook or script? The Covid virus took us all out of our comfort zones, made us adapt on a daily basis and forced us to find order in the chaos. Even businesses that were thriving in the new economy had health and wellbeing to manage as every country faced one of the most life threating challenges since WW2.
I admit, I also went to the depths of darkness on a few occasions as I witnessed first-hand the battles that my team were dealing with every day, feeling a mix of guilt, despair, fear, anxiety and empathy for their situations. I think we all did in one way or another. But fortunately, that darkness, made my brilliant white light - my Why – so much clearer for me to see.
The purpose, or mission, my ‘Why’ I’ve created in my work life is twofold:
- To serve clients in the Microsoft Partner space in a way which aligns with the values I hold dear. I believe legal services should be affordable and transparent. And absolutely amazing client care is my obsession. So I’ve built a team who are as fast and commercial as they are experts in their industry. I’m rewarded with the fact that our clients love it. We have scored a whopping 90 on the Net Promoter Score this year when a good score across any industry is ‘0’. But it’s not just our clients who can see that Law 365 is exceptional, this year we received an amazing 14+ awards as recognition of our hard work.
- My second purpose, maybe much more profoundly personal, is my mission to create a place where lawyers are all treated fairly, where they feel psychologically safe to come to work and where coming to work is a joy. Hard to do with such an antiquated industry like legal, especially as it’s all too easy to fall back on ‘what we were taught’. After all, if it ain’t broke?...Well I think the legal profession is very broken and has been for years. So I lead with empathy, putting my team above all else.
Covid has certainly given me ample opportunity to think creatively about how to do this! Throughout Lockdown, I tried all sorts of ways to let my team know I was thinking of them, that I cared about them, and we also had some great fun together.
My purpose -- Nurturing a successful team
When lockdown started and shopping was a challenge, I sent care food parcels from local farms, delivered to their doors. As we settled into remote working I organised online socials -- whisky tasting, smoothie and brownie making, gong meditation, wine and cheese tasting -- you name it, we did it. In fact, it’s become a new normal as we continue to work flexibly -- for example, we recently hosted speakers for online workshops about the menopause, men’s health and Movember.
But putting my team first, isn’t just about treats and parties. It’s about working on good communication skills, empowering them to make their own decisions about how they manage their time and their workload, breaking down the notion of hierarchy so that they can ask one another questions, allowing them to admit mistakes and seek help if they need it which helps them feel psychologically safe at work. I make it clear that I don’t want anyone to have to work into the wee hours of the morning.
This is how you achieve true work life balance, where Trust and Support are the beating heart of the team. We have regular team meetings with our coach to ensure we are maintaining and exceeding this level of trust and support- because it isn’t given, it needs to be earned.
We have averaged (even during Lockdown) an incredible 90 Employee Net Promoter Score and earned a badge for ‘Great Places to Work’ this year. I have also been recognised by the National Women’s Business Awards as the Silver Winner in both "Business Woman of the Year" and "Lockdown Leader" categories. The last accolade, being my personal favourite. Hopefully it’s the only award in this category as we move forward in life!
My ‘Why’, my ‘Purpose’ therefore, has been shaped in the midst of all the challenges we, as businesses faced this year. My 'Why' is what gives me the energy to keep going, to keep smiling, and to keep laughing and to help others feel the same.
How has finding my ‘Why’ translated into my business?
Well, we grew from 4 in Jan 2020 to 23 in 2021. Our revenue more than doubled. Our clients grew from 10 to 50, 25 of which are on subscription services.
It’s not been easy, I have two small children (6 and 7 years old) who were home schooling (anyone who has similar age children will know that wasn’t a breeze!) but I was able to achieve all this, because I’m part of a team that works brilliantly together. We’re Lego fans, so internally we call ourselves ‘Team Awesome’.
As we approach the end of 2021, I find that gratitude puts life in High Definition, so I thought I’d share with you what I am most grateful for right now.
I’m thankful for my health and the good health of all my family.
I’m so grateful for my children’s laughter, my husband’s constant support, my mum and dad for always being at my side (and for stepping in to look after the kids when needed), my closest friends for being a gentle ear and shoulder and also bringing so much joy and laughter to my life. And my team, for being so awesome and supportive. Together we’re stronger, and I feel we can achieve anything.
Putting down on paper (or a screen) your year in review, can be a challenge in itself – it’s really hard as so much has happened and it’s hard to condense, but it’s so good for the soul.
It helps you soak in all the battles, the wins, and all the learning and teachable moments. It’s the perfect way to set yourself up for whatever 2022 brings. I hope you have found your Why. My experience is that when armed with my ‘Why’ and letting it guide all the decisions I make, I don’t fear whatever future challenges might come.
With that, I wish you all a very relaxing and happy Holiday Season and a kick ass, successful 2022.
Law 365's 'Why' and Get in touch
Simon Sinek - Start with WHY
- A great start to 2021
- Our CEO, Kim Simmonds, embarks on an Inner MBA at MindfulNYU
- Creating a workplace that supports better mental health
- Kim wins Silver Award in two categories in 2021's National Business Women’s Awards
- Global 100 names Kim Simmonds "CEO and Founder of the Year"
- Kim Simmonds wins "Commercial Law/IT Lawyer of the Year" in the Women in Law Awards 2021