The Importance Of Communicating With Your Team

good to talkThe other day I had a long telephone call with one of BODO’s writers, we’d been meaning to have a catch up and discuss forthcoming writing projects for quite some time, but for one reason or another, we just couldn’t find a time that suited.  Either I was bogged down in with the January battles I was talking about in last week’s blog post, or she was! Anyway, we finally managed to schedule in that chat and spent a good hour discussing work and the projects that were coming up, but we also spoke about what had been going on in our lives and we both had a bit of vent.  As my household appears to have finally shaken off the flu virus that had been circling us for the last few weeks, I managed a few calls like that with BODO team members I had been trying to catch up with and it got me thinking about the importance of communication within a team.

I’ve always been a firm believer of the power of communication. I feel like talking to people openly and honestly, is the first step towards building a solid working relationship based on trust and understanding.  If you can communicate effectively with your team, you are likely to have a much better working relationship than those who struggle to say what they are really thinking and repress what’s actually going on in their brainpans.  By discussing matters that are causing concern, worry, or upset, you can address potential problems before they become major stumbling blocks and try to find solutions that suit both parties. 

As a CEO, I also find that that it is much more effective for the running of the business if my staff feel that they can approach me and talk to me if there is something on their mind.  I’d hate to be one of those people whose employees were scared to say a word to.  Being able to be personable with my team, have a laugh and an informal chat when possible and to be able to listen when they have issues and concerns, in my opinion makes for a much happier and content workforce, that will work harder and show more dedication to their work.  I think this is especially important when, like with BODO, the majority of your employees work from home.  It is harder to establish strong working relationships and loyalty when the majority of your communication takes place via email, which is why I make the effort to really try to get to know members of the team and understand what makes them tick! Like the late Bob Hoskins said, “it’s good to talk!”

January Battles

I’m not usually one to associate good or bad times with particular times of year, but I am starting to wonder about January. january blues1
It really is starting to feel as though January has it in for me and a lot of the people I know and care about. To be clear here, I’m not talking about the usual going back to work, feeling sorry for yourself rubbish. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I really love my job as CEO of BODO, so the post-holiday blues don’t get to me.
The stuff I’m talking is a bit more serious than that. For me it’s been a challenging few weeks for a number of reasons. For one I’ve been engaged in full on flu-fighting. It feels like someone in my family, either myself, my wife or my young baby daughter has been suffering with that wretched illness for an eternity! The relentless cycle of passing the bug backwards and forwards between family members is really quite trying and tiring. I’m starting to wonder if I should’ve bought shares in Kleenex!!
But I guess the flu is just the flu and you have to get on with it. Sadly that evil bug isn’t the only battle I have faced in the last few weeks. I’ve had to deal with all manner of problems from chasing information, to having to reschedule meetings at the last minute. Because BODO’s launch is imminent, I’ve had more on my plate than usual and my daily schedule resembles a circus juggling act.
It’s not just me either, everyone I seem to speak to at the moment is having a similarly torrid time. Whether it be really serious stuff like ill heath, or really annoying stuff like unforeseen debts and expenses, so many people I’ve spoken to in the last few weeks have really had their hands full.
I’m sorry if it feels like I’ve having a gripe and a moan, but then I think if you can’t have a whinge on your own blog – where can you!!!
If like me, you’ve had a difficult couple of weeks, then I wish you all the best with your January battles, hang on in there guys and gals – thankfully there’s just one more week to go!

Whisper & Their Campaign Against The Jigger Flea

One of the organisations which I have greatly admired and with whom BODO work closely with is the Uganda-based NGO, Whisper. Whisper was founded by a friend of mine called Veronika, who was moved to start an orphanage after her travels through the country. Since their inception, Whisper have done a fantastic job providing the things that every child deserves, such as love, compassion, food, clean water, healthcare and education, to the many children in their care. Jigger Flea Whisper
In January, Whisper launched a new appeal, in an attempt to raise £820 via the Golden Giving platform to help them purchase a new motorbike that will help the organisation expand their outreach work. This motorbike will enable Whisper to get their dedicated team out into the heart of rural Uganda, in order to help some of the people who have been most badly affected by the notorious jigger flea.
Many of us who live in the western world will not have heard of this terrible parasite. For those of you who don’t know, it is a pesky creature that burrows deep into its human host, laying eggs and multiplying before causing all sorts of problems like gangrene and infection. It is a painful affliction and the only way to get rid of it is to cut the bugs out, people who do not have access to professional healthcare are often compelled to do so themselves, sharing blades and scalpels and leading to the spread of other diseases such as HIV and tetanus.
Once the jigger flea infection has taken hold, it causes great pain for its host, leaving people unable to work and provide for their families. It stops children going to school and can often lead to lifelong disability as amputation of digits and sometimes of the whole foot, is sadly what ends up happening if the disease remains untreated for too long.
The jigger flea tends to affect those who are forced to go barefoot because they cannot afford footwear, which is another reason why Whisper’s efforts to treat and eradicate this problem is so important to BODO. Once we launch, we hope to provide Whisper with many of our donation Sandals in order for them to distribute to those who have been worst affected.
I wanted to share Whisper’s appeal on my blog and offer them all my support in their efforts to help those who have suffered with this terrible affliction!

2014: An Overview

Over the last few days I have been thinking a lot about all that I want to achieve in 2015 both personally and with BODO, but as well as makingScreen Shot 2013-11-25 at 18.57.35 plans for the future, I have also been going over the highs and lows of 2014 and analysing all that has occurred in the last 12 months.
2014 has been a tumultuous year, a rollercoaster ride with so many highs and lows that it is difficult to go over them all.
At the start of the year, BODO experienced a bit of a setback due to some unforeseen circumstances and investment issues. I had to really tighten the proverbial belt and make some changes to keep the company going in the direction I wanted it to. It was a very difficult start to the year, but we managed to get through it and I feel that the things that I learnt will really help me in the future.
BODO Banner1Despite the financial turbulence early on, I feel that BODO has gone forward leaps and bounds. We have achieved a great deal including getting several of our websites up and running, increasing our social media presence and are edging ever closer to the launch of our Shopify website and the sale of our flagship product the BODO Sandal. We have also established an excellent partnership with Barefoot Foundation (Pies Descalzos Foundation) which I feel will go a long way towards helping us to achieve our goals to get our donation sandal out to some of the neediest people in the world and help to make a positive impact in their lives. I am really grateful for all the unfaltering determination and hard work of the BODO team and the loyalty of our supporters. Both our longstanding employees and the external contractors that have been brought into to complete specific projects, have been instrumental in all our achievements this year.
Personally, it has also been a rather incredible year where I feel I have achieved a great deal. Moving into my new home, marrying my beautiful fiancé and becoming a father for the first time have really been earth-shattering experiences. My life has changed in ways I could have never imagined and I feel really optimistic for the future!

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Shaking Off The January Blues

Today, the 2nd of January, is one of those days that can invoke two very different kinds of feelings in people. For some, the very positive kind, whoback to work make great New Year’s Resolutions and see the beginning of the year as an important milestone and catalyst for all the change they want to bring in, it is the start of their journey. For others, who perhaps don’t really like their jobs, didn’t get to spend enough time with their loved ones, spent too much money over the holiday season, and who still haven’t worked off their alcohol or food hangovers, it is blue and painful day, where rejoining the rat race begins again.
alarm clockIf like me, you are a CEO, I can only hope you love your job as much as I do. But even if you do, it can still be difficult to push the holiday feeling aside and get back into the swing of things (if you had a holiday that is!!)
When I am struggling to find the motivation to start working those long hours again, get back into that routine of setting an alarm clock and waking up at ungodly hours, I find what really helps is my mindset.
Rather than seeing it as the “end” of the holidays, I always try to look at it as a fresh start, a chance to fix all the things that were broken, to complete all that was unfinished and to take some steps towards fulfilling my dreams and ambitions.
The more you resist waving goodbye to the holidays, the harder it will be. It is an inevitable part of life so accepting it is much much better for you in the long run. If you go into it feeling positive and with a sense of ambition and drive to complete all that you want to, you’ll have a much more enjoyable and productive January the 2nd!!