Kim Greenwood and Georg Fasching

A Bryter Work Dream Team… Kim Greenwood & Georg Fasching

coaching, people first

One of the most powerful antidotes to burnout is the influence of the people around us. Our colleagues have an incredible power to inspire and keep us motivated.

When you’re feeling depleted, isn’t it uplifting to be around a friend or mentor? Someone who helps you see a challenge with fresh eyes. Someone who champions your potential. It’s like gulping down a big glass of motivational juice.

That’s why we’re sharing this insight into the working relationship (and genuine friendship) between two of our brilliant coaches, Kim Greenwood and Georg Fasching.

How did you meet?

Kim:
Georg was my Trainer on the Enterprise Coach Bootcamp, and set a standard I’ve aspired to since! I remember his astuteness, precision and great big smile. One of his most powerful questions was, “If not you, who?” and that still resonates today.

Georg: When I first met Kim on the Enterprise Coach Bootcamp I got to host, it was clear from the first moment that she was one of those who just got it. Highly experienced, yet curious to learn. Fun to engage with, yet bold when needed.

How does your dream team partner make your working life Bryter?

Kim: Our 3rd entity means we talked about what agreements we need, to bring out our best future selves in service of our clients. And I can honestly say, being able to collectively sense-make with the wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership Georg brings, has made this the best coaching engagement I’ve worked on. Also, Georg has a very entrepreneurial brain, which means he’s always at the cutting edge, learning something new and experimenting! From the Leaps in leadership and Coaches Growth Club, to latest AI note-takers, to sound quality, or avatars Georg keeps the surprises coming and makes work life innovative and exciting.

Georg: Firstly, that’s exactly what Kim does, she makes working life Bryter. Even on off days, Kim manages to lift the spirits. Her background and expertise deserves the utmost respect, while Kim doesn’t take herself too seriously.
She has a great memory for personal details, so engaging with Kim makes one feel like one gets to spend time with a lifelong ally.

What’s the toughest thing you had to face together and how did you get through it?

Kim: The hardest part of our work is that improvement depends on leaders deciding that “what got them here, won’t get them there”. Standing in this space involves change and risk for a leader, so we regularly encounter fear-based behaviours. Being able to work together means we can collectively notice what’s happening, offset bias and assumptions, and challenge or support which results in better business and human outcomes.

Georg: We had the opportunity to collaborate as a coaching-pair in order to guide a senior leadership team through a development program. The team was at a very challenging spot. This was a great opportunity to forge them closer as a team, but also with a huge risk of complete dissolution. Kim and I knew that we really needed to show up for the team in a variety of ways. At the same time we lived our own coaching pair alliance in that we checked in on each others holistic experience and wellbeing.

We helped each other stay clear so that we could join up and be of service to the team at that pivotal time without getting engulfed in the team’s dynamic so that the team could emerge stronger on the other side.

Kim Greenwood & Georg Fasching

What would your dream next client engagement look like?

Kim: Our current client saw a 12-point increase in eNPS and a 39% efficiency gain during our first 3 months. So if there’s any organisation that wants better business outcomes and happier staff we’d love to discuss partnering with you to enable and amplify your success.

Georg: For the sake of clarity and completeness, it would be together with Kim again as my coaching partner. Our engagement approach is solid and unlocks the utmost potential. Working with the senior leadership team as a whole is the ideal enabling work to pave the way for the highest success rate in organisational change.

If your dream partner had a motto, what would it be?

Kim: Georg’s would be “Good good good good good good good!”

Georg: and Kim’s would be “Alrighty, let’s get this done and then it’s time for a Tim Tam Slam, yeah?!”

Interested in partnering with Kim and Georg for better business outcomes and happier staff?
Get in touch!

Georg Fasching

ICF-PCC, Leadership Coach, Trainer and Facilitator
Georg Fasching

Since 1999 Georg has worked across a wide range of enterprises and sectors. With a background working predominantly in the product, payment and technology spaces, Georg’s career has taken him from business analyst through to Executive VP of Products. In every role, it was always teamwork in the context of the organisation that fascinated Georg.

When he is not teaching, coaching, or mentoring teams, leaders, or coaches, Georg serves leadership teams as their team coach. This way he supports the unlocking of major enterprise agility improvements as the leadership team journeys towards high performance.

Over the years, Georg has worked with various companies across sectors including Telecoms, Mobile, Media, and Banking to name just a few.

Kim Greenwood

Executive Coach, Enterprise Agile Coach and Facilitator
kim greenwood

Drawing on over 20 years of experience empowering leaders and teams to achieve sustainable high performance, Kim’s personalised approach has facilitated successful outcomes for large-scale, FTSE 100 corporations across industries including Telecoms and Media, Oil and Gas, Investment Banking, Real Estate and FMCG.

Leveraging her own leadership expertise, she has coached C-suite teams in vertical development, communication intelligence, negotiation practices and how to create fearless organisations.

Kim has also studied with founders of psychological development models and most recently was part of a global cohort with Bill Joiner covering the most recent advances in his life’s work on leadership development.

the drama triangle

The Drama Triangle: A Toxic Work Dynamic, Fuelling Burnout

teams

We’ve all experienced dysfunctional workplace dynamics. You know, the ones that suck the life right out of you. Where everyone gets caught up in unproductive power struggles and blame games. The drama triangle is a psychological model that explains this toxic pattern. It’s a huge driver of employee burnout that savvy organisations must address.

What Is the Drama Triangle?

The term drama triangle was first coined by psychologist Stephen Karpman in 1961. His model outlines three roles people can get stuck in during dysfunctional conflicts:

  • Victim
  • Persecutor
  • Rescuer

It goes something like this…

The Victim starts by portraying themselves as oppressed or helpless in some way. The Persecutor then blames, criticises or undermines the Victim. Finally, the Rescuer steps in to “save” the Victim by enabling their victimhood.

These roles can rapidly shift between coworkers. However, the disempowering dynamic remains, draining everyone’s energy and productivity.

A classic drama triangle situation might look like this.

Janet plays the Victim (“I can never get projects done on time”). Mika is the Persecutor (“That’s because you’re so disorganised!”). And then Sam the Rescuer swoops in (“Here Janet, let me take that off your plate.”)

See how draining that feels?

The Draining Toll on Teams

Neha Sangwan, MD is a burnout and communication expert. She is the author of Powered by Me: From Burned Out to Fully Charged at Work. Dr Sangwan believes that:

The Drama Triangle is a destructive dynamic that undermines teams. It can result in an enormous, unquantified financial cost. This is due to suboptimal performance and lack of employee engagement.”

The drama triangle breeds a dysfunctional culture. It destroys trust and collaboration, driving stress for all involved. It’s no wonder so many report feeling burned out.

Those caught in the Victim mentality become apathetic and detached. Rescuers exhaust themselves by overworking. And Persecutors create a culture of fear, stress and disengagement. It’s the perfect storm for burnout.

Disrupting the Toxic Cycle

Here’s the good news… By recognising these patterns, we can disrupt them. Build your self-awareness to catch yourself falling into a disempowering role. Then make the conscious choice to opt out.

How? Get objective and focus on personal accountability rather than blaming. Set healthy boundaries. Have honest, disarming conversations.

We can help your people build skills such as:

  • conflict management
  • healthy leadership
  • emotional intelligence
  • ‘clean’ communication

Ultimately, less time wasted on power struggles means more energy for productive collaboration. Plus, employees gain the autonomy and resilience to manage stress more sustainably long-term.

No workplace can avoid disagreements altogether. But progressive companies realise just how insidious the drama triangle dynamic can be. And they’re getting proactive about promoting a more positive, energising culture.

So let’s call out and dismantle this toxic cycle to stem the burnout crisis.

Get in touch to book a virtual cuppa with us and see how we can work together.

Create Customer-Focused Teams

Breaking the Silo: How to Create Customer-Focused Teams

approach, teams

We’ve all seen it happen – teams get so hyper-focused on perfecting their internal workings that the customer’s needs fall by the wayside. Engineering obsesses over technical perfection, marketing chases vanity metrics, and sales pushes numbers without considering downstream impacts.

Many leaders simply accept this siloed mentality as the inevitable trade-off for having specialised expertise on each team. But rampant misalignment means the products and services hitting the market underwhelm and leave customers disappointed. That’s not a recipe for long-term success!

So how can we start shifting that inside-out approach to a more outside-in, customer-first mentality?

Well, it starts with some mindset adjustments.

How can we create customer-focused teams?

Promote Shared Ownership

Rally everyone around the full customer journey rather than just optimising for their isolated contribution. Sure, sales ‘owns’ revenue. But marketing, product, service – they all share ownership of creating a delightful end-to-end experience. Make rewards about cross-functional collaboration.

Incentivise Interdependency

Speaking of rewards – tie compensation and recognition (the good stuff) to goals that involve trade-offs between teams. Not just individual results. Basically, reward-checking department-level egos at the door to advance that higher-level shared mission of putting customers first. Make sure metrics align with real-world outcomes, not just functional targets.

Instil Immersive Empathy

Close the customer feedback loop already! Get everyone’s hands dirty by mandating regular rotations through support and success roles to hear the voice of the customer loud and clear. Conduct immersive customer research days. Inject real user stories and struggles into your usual meetings and planning. That frontline discomfort should be informing your prioritisation trade-offs.

Bring the voice of the customer into the room

Identify impassioned customer champions within each team to evangelise for user needs in every discussion and decision. Give these advocates formal influence by baking customer obsession into expectations and criteria. Make the voice of your customer feel tangible and ever-present.

The journey from silos to symphony requires deliberately infusing customer empathy into your cultural fabric, processes, and leadership priorities. But that collective sense of shared purpose? It’s absolutely worth the work.

Need help building customer-focused teams?

That’s literally our speciality! Our empathetic and experienced coaches work closely with you,  patiently guiding teams towards confidence, collaboration, and true customer-centricity.

Find out more here, or book a virtual cuppa and chat to explore how we can help you break down those silos, align around customers, and work better together. 

The Expensive Truth About Staff Attrition

The Expensive Truth About Staff Attrition: It’s Hurting Your Business

people first, teams

Most companies are hyper-focused on the big numbers – revenue, profits, market share. But there’s a sneaky factor that can seriously mess with your bottom line and long-term success: staff attrition. Sure, the upfront costs of hiring and training replacements are obvious. But the hidden impacts of high turnover? Those can be the real budget-killers.

The Productivity Drain

When someone leaves, their absence creates a void that ripples through teams and departments. The remaining employees get weighed down with extra work, leading to overload, burnout, and a productivity slump. Quality drops, deadlines get missed, and customer satisfaction takes a hit. It’s a vicious cycle.

Brain Drain

Those seasoned veterans walking out the door? They’re taking a goldmine of institutional knowledge with them – intel on processes, relationships, contacts and industry ins-and-outs that’s hard to replace. This brain drain cripples operational efficiency, decision-making, and the ability to navigate complex challenges. It’s like flying blind.

Culture Crush

A company’s culture relies on a stable, tight-knit workforce that shares values and understanding. But high turnover? It erodes that fabric, making it tough to maintain a positive, cohesive environment. Morale plummets as great talent exits, breeding more disengagement and attrition. It’s a self-perpetuating problem.

Strategic Scramble

Successful businesses run on long-term initiatives driven by dedicated teams working towards shared goals. When key players leave, critical projects get derailed. Momentum screeches to a halt, delays pile up, and costs skyrocket. Your ability to achieve those big-picture objectives is compromised.

The Money Pit

We’ve covered the obvious stuff like hiring costs. But high turnover creates a massive money pit through lost productivity, missed revenue opportunities, customer churn, and mounting expenses from restructuring teams. It’s a serious profitability issue that can sneak up on you.

What’s Causing Staff Attrition?

Leadership Burnout

When bosses are running on fumes, communications break down, teams get lost and misaligned. Cue mass confusion and disengagement that pushes your best talent out the door. Fast.

It’s up to the whole organisation to support leaders to beat burnout before it happens with preventative measures.

Additionally, in the absence of strong leadership, teams are likely to feel disengaged and unmotivated…

Team Burnout

According to Mercer’s 2024 Global Talent Trends Report, over 80% of employees are at risk of burnout this year. 40% of those said that exhaustion was a contributing factor, while 37% said they were struggling with an excessive workload. It’s a serious problem, characterised by cynicism, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating and serious health problems.

Unsurprisingly, two of the things found to make a real difference to employees were psychological safety and a sense of purpose. These are crucial to cultivating a culture where staff feel safe to ask for help, prioritise what is important and take steps to combat burnout with our treatment package.

Change Resistance

Mandating sweeping changes from on high, without any staff buy-in? Get ready for those resentment and retention levels to skyrocket. On the other hand, involve your people in co-creating solutions and they’ll stick around.

The bottom line? Invest in your workforce for serious dividends. Prioritise retention strategies, build a supportive culture of self-care and give folks room to grow. Engaged employees are way cheaper than playing catch-up on turnover costs.

Are staff attrition and burnout throwing a wrench in your operations?

Burnt-out teams are having a ripple effect, resulting in lost talent, unhappy clients and decreasing market share. We’ve worked with many companies, experiencing these kinds of issues. We’ve been able to pinpoint the root cause…
and it might not be what you think.

Sound familiar? Need help cultivating a thriving, people-first, workplace? We’ve got your back. Book a virtual cuppa with us and let’s talk solutions.

How to align your company cultures after a merger

Tying the Corporate Knot: How to align your company cultures after a merger

coaching

A corporate merger can feel a lot like saying I do. At first, everything seems peachy… the vision! The synergy! HR cheers about one big happy family while leadership waxes lyrical about a rosy future.

But then reality hits. Behind those polite smiles, different corporate cultures clash like bickering in-laws. The slick fast-paced startup folks glare at the bureaucratic bean counters who glare right back. No wonder office happy hours start feeling awkward…

Show Me the Money… So I Can Fight Over It

Newly merged companies feud over finances just like couples arguing over whose career should take priority. Department heads fight for budgets. Whose systems get resources? Tensions around spending can get ugly, drowning out strategy with petty conflicts.

Communication Breakdown

Without open and empathetic communication, distrust grows in both marriages and mergers. Anxious employees worried about layoffs shut down. Leadership seems aloof about people’s concerns. Siloes fortify and information blackouts feed apprehension on all sides.

Battle for Power & Control

In dysfunctional relationships and mergers alike, power struggles tank progress. Individuals clinging to old ways resist change. Healthy debates on structure become outright turf wars. No one feels heard or valued. Similar to bitter couples, partners that were once collaborative now argue over the smallest decisions.

How to align your company cultures after a merger – Overcoming Challenges Together

You Could Cut the Uncertainty with a Knife

People (understandably) get freaked about mergers. Job worries. New bosses. Feeling ignored. And rumours run wild when leadership goes radio silent about stuff that impacts people’s livelihoods. Keeping folks in the dark just fuels anxiety. Get ahead of any panic by oversharing plans, fielding questions, and simply listening. Real talk from the top is a balm when nerves are frayed. Amp up your facilitation skills and enable people to voice concerns safely.

Mash-Up Time

Sure, merged cultures have to blend styles and systems eventually. But change sometimes makes folks feel awkward. Ease into it with team building over pizza versus jumping into a process overhaul. Celebrate differences rather than eliminating them. Get people collaborating on small stuff first. Wins there set the stage for heavier lifting down the road.

Band Together for Customers

Rather than just handing down some generic vision, why not crowdsource ideas from the whole mashed-up crew? What unites them? Serving customers. Reframe integration challenges as fixing customer pain points together. Jointly shape a mission around kicking ass for clients. External focuses dissolve internal divides.

It’s Normal to Feel the Feelings

When everything’s in flux, people ride emotional rollercoasters. Facilitators help with disputes while coaches offer ears to vent fears. Make space for working through big feelings instead of bottling them up. Growth comes through trusting in transformation’s messiness, and embracing courage over certainty. This too shall pass… onto something even better!

Committed Companions

Nurturing this delicate union requires compromise and care on both sides. But with compassion and courage, struggling partners can turn it around. Counselling builds understanding; a renewal of vows reconnects. Companies too can overcome merger growing pains by co-creating shared goals, breaking siloes with team building, and investing in talent development.

With vulnerable leadership, open ears, and frequent check-ins, corporate marriages can thrive. Bridging divides among internal partners ultimately enables winning externally. Now that’s something worth toasting!

Tying the Corporate Knot: How to align your company cultures after a merger

Is your organisation going through a merger or acquisition? Perhaps you’re struggling with company culture clashes, seeing staff morale nosedive and psychological safety evaporate..?

Bryter Work can help.

We have supported many leaders in guiding their teams through these times of transition. Our compassionate and experienced coaches combine emotional intelligence and empathetic coaching with business acumen, achieving real results. Bryter Work delivers both business value AND people power. 

Sound good to you?

Meet the team and find out how we can help you tie the knot on your corporate marriage with minimal pre-nuptial jitters. Crack open the champagne and toss the confetti!

Product Strategy

Beyond Products – Why Product Strategy is so Important

teams, vision

A strong product strategy is essential for delivering successful products that meet customer needs and drive business outcomes. Here are four reasons why it matters so much.

Set a Targeted Direction

A clear product strategy provides direction for product development and decision-making.

“The two most fundamental strategic choices are deciding where to play and how to win.”

Roger Martin
Product Strategy defines:
  • Target customers and key user needs
  • The product’s value proposition and competitive positioning
  • Strategic business objectives and KPIs
  • An aligned vision that guides what gets built

With strategy as a North Star, product efforts stay focused.

Drive Innovation & Key Investments

The right product strategy sets a platform for meaningful innovation. By identifying market gaps, emerging trends, and future needs, a strategy frames where to allocate resources for maximum R&D and innovation return.

It guides big bets, shaping the long-term roadmap. These major innovations propel competitiveness.

Creates priorities for the Product Roadmap

An intelligent strategy leads to efficient roadmaps, optimising for the highest business impact initiatives, given constraints. With priorities and strategic initiatives defined, roadmaps avoid waste and distraction.

Teams can sequence the roadmap with confidence, knowing that features ladder up to key objectives. Progress moves the needles that matter most.

Enable Stakeholder Alignment

Product strategy gives executives and stakeholders visibility into the path ahead. It outlines the vision, the WHY behind investments, and expected outcomes.

With strategy alignment across leadership, resources get secured. Initiatives receive sustained backing rather than wavering support.

The above reasons make product strategy indispensable for any company serious about building great products customers value. It keeps efforts grounded in purpose and business value. 

Our Experience with Product Teams

Bryter Work have supported product teams to understand market opportunities and create value hypotheses based on what is most important to their business strategy.  Following our unique approach, which develops knowledge through training core skills, uses workshops to solve real-world problems, and coaching to help product teams develop an entrepreneurial mindset, Product Teams working with us have been able to:

  • Carry out user research to rapidly identify areas of high opportunity,  and cancel work of low value that otherwise would have taken up valuable developer time and resources. 
  • Create value hypotheses and metrics that can be tracked across a portfolio of work.
  • Map their stakeholders and understand how to create communications that are appropriate to various groups, to leverage support and minimise friction.
  • Understand the risks and opportunities associated with releasing new products to the market, and actively manage these for product success.

Finally, if you’re wondering how to improve your strategy, take a look at our new SPARK program. Spark is the product capability accelerator that upskills in leadership, strategy AND delivery.

SPARK ignites your people’s talents to get them firing on all cylinders. And your customers go from meh to wow!

burnout strategies

Beating Burnout: How Organisations Can Support Their Leaders

people first

What exactly is burnout?

Burnout is a huge problem in the workplace. And leaders are extra vulnerable to burning out, due to the demands, pressures and responsibilities of their role. Burnout is no joke. It’s characterised by:

 

    • serious emotional exhaustion
    • cynicism
    • lack of motivation
    • difficulty concentrating
    • health problems
    • feeling unfulfilled at work

 

Not good. Consequently, preventing burnout must be a top priority for any organisation that wants to hang onto top talent and keep creativity, innovation and motivation high.

 

How can we beat burnout?

 

Balance is key

First things first: encourage leaders to take time off. Leaders need rest, relaxation and recharging just like everyone else. Make sure your time off policies are crystal clear and that leaders feel comfortable taking vacations, sick days, mental health days, ‘duvet’ days, or whatever they need to avoid going into zombie mode. Leaders often feel pressure to minimise time away from the office, so set the right tone and lead by example. Promote a culture that truly values work-life balance and self-care. Don’t just pay lip service to the idea. Walk the walk yourself. If senior management never takes time off, that sends the message that vacations are a no-no. Managers should actively encourage leaders to take time away, and be sure that adequate cover is available so leaders can completely unplug.

 

Focus on flexibility

On top of holiday/vacation time, giving leaders flexibility in their schedules and workloads can help them manage stress. Options might include flexible start/end times, the ability to work remotely, job sharing, adjusting responsibilities after stressful deadlines. Even small things like avoiding early morning meetings, allowing hybrid working, or encouraging no-meeting Fridays can make a difference. Figure out what types of flexibility work best for each leader’s situation. Check in regularly to reassess and provide new flexibility options as needs change.

 

Lighten the load

Unrealistic workloads are a huge stress and can trigger burnout. Consider all the responsibilities you’ve loaded onto leaders and trim any unnecessary or redundant tasks. Having a clear company vision can help everyone to do this. Clearly define roles and expectations, and bring in extra support if needed. During crunch times, reshuffle priorities and deadlines to keep expectations reasonable. Leaders should feel empowered to push back if asked to take on too much. Adjusting workloads shows that you care about employees well-being.

 

Collaborate and communicate

To understand leaders’ challenges, you need open and frequent communication. Maintain an open door policy so leaders feel comfortable voicing concerns or frustrations. Check in regularly instead of waiting for them to reach out when they’re already burned out. Proactively manage stress by talking early and often. This shows leaders you care about their well-being. It also gives you opportunities to collaborate on solutions before burnout hits.

 

Invest in leadership development

Leaders need continuous development to expand their skills and handle ever-changing demands. Provide training, mentoring, coaching and other growth opportunities. Host workshops and send leaders to conferences to stay current in their field. Investing in their growth empowers leaders to tackle challenges and stay engaged in their role. Thus preventing boredom and burnout. In this way, you recognise leaders that have evolving needs and are committed to developing talent within your organisation.

 

Create a culture of self-care

An organisation’s culture around self-care plays a huge role in preventing burnout. Make sure senior management models healthy work-life balance, takes time off, and avoids exhaustion from overwork. Institute policies that focus on well-being and discourage excessive off-hours communications. Remind leaders to take breaks, unplug from work, pursue hobbies, and prioritise their physical and mental health. Small things like offering standing desks, encouraging walking meetings, providing healthy snacks or yoga classes send the message that self-care matters.

 

Stay aware and offer help

Keep an eye out for any warning signs like lack of engagement, increased cynicism, absenteeism and declining performance. Reach out to support leaders before things escalate into a bigger issue. Recognise that leaders may downplay challenges they’re having for fear of looking weak. Continually evaluating mental health and catching problems early makes a massive difference.

Leaders need to know help is available if they’re struggling with stress-related mental health problems. Provide easy access to confidential counselling services and mental health support. De-stigmatise seeking psychological help by talking about it openly. Share stories of other leaders who have benefited from mental health resources. Investing in these services shows you prioritise employees’ emotional well-being.

 

Beat burnout together

Preventing burnout requires a team effort across the entire company. By providing more flexibility, reasonable expectations, strong communication, development opportunities, encouragement of self-care, and access to mental health resources, you can create an environment where leaders can thrive without burning out. Taking these preventative measures will lead to more engaged, empowered leadership and greater success for all.

Is your organisation struggling with burnout? Would you like to create a culture where well-being matters and your leaders feel comfortable prioritising their mental health and encouraging others to do so?

We can help! Find out more about our burnout treatment package for leaders and teams.

And in the meantime, why not download our drastically different to-do list It’s a fantastic FREE tool to help manage your work/life/health balance.

 

Leadership lessons we learned from the Barbie movie

people first

If you have recently watched the Barbie movie, you’re likely already aware that Greta Gerwig’s creation is so much more than just a kids’ film. It’s a super pink, campy romp through serious subjects such as feminism, capitalism and the nature of autonomy.  Here at Bryter Work, we couldn’t resist taking the leadership lessons that we picked up from the film, and exploring how we felt that they applied to our own experiences.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, and are planning to, maybe read this article afterwards, since it contains some minor spoilers!

leadership lessons we learned from the Barbie movie Death

“Do you guys ever think about dying?”
– Barbie

So apparently this is not the thing to say mid massive-choreographed-dance-with-all -of-your-Barbies-and-Kens.  Cue the music stopping and everyone looking a bit shocked and nervous.  Although it was super awkward, and went against expectations, Barbie had to have the courage to be vulnerable and let people know that this was truly what she’d been thinking about. 

Her vulnerability and courage to tell the truth, garnered Barbie support from those around her.  In my journey, I’ve found it an interesting and sometimes tricky balance. One where I share challenges and my feelings with those around me, while still taking an attitude that problems are there to be figured out and figure-out-able. The relationships with the teams that I’ve built and the colleagues that I’ve collaborated with have run deep and long term as a result. And Barbie gives us a great reminder that sharing enough of your humanity as a leader helps to build high trust, supportive environments.

“I have no difficulty holding both logic and feeling at the same time. And it does not diminish my powers. It expands them.”

– Lawyer Barbie

Barbie Leadership Lesson 1:  Barbie shows us that there’s strength in vulnerability and that saying the thing that needs to be said might be awkward at first, but it’s also necessary.

Leadership lessons Barbie movie

“We sell dreams, imagination, and sparkle. And when you think of sparkle, what do you think of next? Female agency”
– Mattel CEO

It’s the fact that we live in a world where feminine imagery and feminine coded items (e.g. pink, glitter, high heels, dresses) are seen as frivolous, or lacking in intelligence, that makes this joke work.  When the ideals of femininity are so enmeshed with the perception of lower ‘value’, the Barbie movie playfully brings us to pause and consider our unconscious biases around femininity and our unconscious ingrained views of women who embrace it.

As female leaders at Bryter Work, we are in a space where we can bring our femininity (and also lack of!)  to work and not be constrained by stereotypes.  Outside of the Bryter Work bubble, we recognise that many of us in business still face these stereotypes and challenges. And so Barbie leads the way in gently helping to question these.  A lot can be learned from the Barbie movie approach to playful rejection of these narratives, as well as its unapologetic fun and feminine look, while still radiating intelligence and poignance. 

Barbie Leadership Lesson 2:  Just because it’s feminine or playful doesn’t mean that it can’t be serious too. And addressing biases doesn’t have to be confrontational.

leadership lessons Weird Barbie

“Either you’re brainwashed, or you’re weird”
– Barbie

Although Barbie can be criticised for setting homogeneous beauty standards for millions of women, Barbie would have been stuck without getting the most diverse views.  Weird Barbie is the Barbie who got played with too hard. She lives in her Weird Barbie house with the ‘cancelled’ dolls (Earring Magic Ken, Sugar Daddy Ken, Growing Up Skipper, Video Barbie). These dolls know much more about the ‘real world’, as a result of the world’s reaction to them.  This special insight means that they don’t get caught up in the group-think exhibited elsewhere in Barbie Land. And Barbie can trust them to give the advice that she needs to overcome her problems.  

It’s a perfect example of why great leaders don’t surround themselves with people exactly like themselves. In addition to this, they see value in the perspective of someone who has faced marginalisation and might be considered an ‘outsider’.  Arguably Weird Barbie shows the greatest leadership qualities in the movie. She holds a non-judgemental space for decision-making, and can always be relied on for her homemade maps, diagrams, sense-making analogies and no-nonsense advice.

Barbie Leadership Lesson 3:  Great leaders seek out diverse ranges of opinions. They recognise that unique insight comes from listening to marginalised voices.  They also are happy to ‘own’ their weirdness, for the same reasons!

“It is the best day ever. So was yesterday, and so is tomorrow, and every day from now until forever.”
– Barbie

In Barbie Land, everything is perfect. And so are the Barbies. At least, that’s how they perceive themselves and their world. So, when things begin to change (cold showers, cellulite, an awareness of mortality, flat feet), it is painfully uncomfortable and unsettling. In fact, when Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) reveals her flat feet, the other Barbies gasp, scream and even start to retch. This comically extreme reaction echoes the relatively normal feelings of anxiety and resistance that most of us have to change.

Leaders aren’t immune to these feelings either. In fact, when she sees what the Kens have done to Barbie Land, Barbie shouts “I HATE change!” and flings herself hopelessly on the ground. However, Barbie is equipped with resilience, excellent communication skills, and a supportive coach (in the form of Weird Barbie), along with her own courage and curiosity, tenacity and emotional intelligence. Thus allowing her to not only manage change effectively but also guide and mentor others through change. Thanks to her, Ken now believes that he is “Kenough”.

Barbie Leadership Lesson 4: Resistance to change is normal. The best leaders use empathy, honesty, curiosity and kindness liberally (including being kind to themselves)!

leadership lessons we learned from the Barbie movie Ken

“Why didn’t Barbie tell me about Patriarchy?”
– Ken

It’s hard to avoid, but Barbie really asks some interesting questions about feminism. These got us thinking about structures of power and inequality in business and the workplace.  

The Patriarchy in the real world doesn’t work as simply as Ken imagines it should do (he’s sadly prevented from performing an appendectomy in the real world, even though he’s a man with a clicky pen!).  From this, It might be easy to think that feminism ‘has won’ due to the fact that it’s not enough to just be a man to take positions of power or influence.

In Barbie Land, an extreme opposite power dynamic of Matriarchy prevails.  The Kens at the start of the film had only been created for the benefit of Barbie and so lack autonomy and purpose. They therefore fight and bicker with each other as a result of their insecurities.  When the Kens take power, the balance swings fully in the opposite direction. The power is taken to the exclusion of all the Barbies (and Allan, the least Alpha of all the male dolls).  When the Barbies eventually take the power back, they once again exclude the Kens from their democratic process.  

These uncomfortable narratives play with the persecutor/victim roles, never allowing the toy characters to find a path outside of these two positions. The one exception is Stereotypical Barbie, who opts out by choosing her own destiny. Although the Kens were happy to hand back control and power to the Barbies, it left them back in the childlike position of lacking autonomy and basic rights.

Movie vs. reality

However, as the real world showed Ken, the reality of patriarchy is far more nuanced than the simplified version of the power dynamics of patriarchy vs matriarchy played out in Barbie Land.   As Barbie sadly notes in the film, the real world wasn’t what she expected it to be. Her creator Ruth agrees “It never is.  And isn’t that marvellous”.

As a female leader, but also as a leader wanting better representation and equality for marginalised groups, we can sometimes get disenfranchised by what we see as a lack of progress in feminism in life, business, or any other cultural shift that we might want to see.  

In the real world, we just have to listen to the heartbreaking and personal song written by Billie Eillish for the Barbie Movie:  What Was I Made For? The message of the song makes clear that our culture is still commodifying young women like Ms Eillish, who receive criticism for presenting too masculine, or too feminine from both men and women.  It is still hard for women to express themselves authentically, and not just for the pure appeasement of others, without being objectified, criticised, mocked or harassed.

And yet despite this, Barbie shows us that there is hope. That this human experience of getting to know ourselves and each other is a beautiful and painful part of the important journey that is life.  And that life is precious because of its imperfections. Not just despite them.

Barbie Leadership Lesson 5:  Problems are rarely totally black and white. And they rarely have clear answers or a perfect end destination.  Being a leader is about having the wisdom to find the beauty in the human experiences of discovery, and the courage and resilience to keep trying to make things better.

One last leadership lesson…

Leadership can be tough. And lonely. Crafting a style that feels true to you and developing your leadership qualities and skills can be a real challenge.

Bryter Work’s experienced and empathetic coaches can help with your leadership development and professional identity, coaching you to become the best (and most authentic) leader you can be.
And whether you want to wear hot pink heels or rollerblades, sneakers or slippers, that’s a-okay.

Get in touch to chat about out how we can help.

what is a product-led organisation

What is a Product-Led Organisation?

approach

What are Product-Led Organisations? And what makes them some of our favourite brands? Well, a product-led organisation focuses on the product to drive growth. The product leads the company strategy, while other teams support the product. Done well, this leads to products that we love!

Product Drives Strategy

In a product-led company, the product team sets direction. Product managers decide the roadmap. They choose future features.

Customer insights inform development. User research and feedback guide the product. Data analytics identifies opportunities. The company structure centres around the product team. Other roles serve product outcomes.

Our approach uses the Enterprise Change Pattern to enable an organisation to become more customer-focused and product led. The Enterprise Change Pattern harnesses the power of experiments to explore new ideas, identify opportunities, and uncover areas for improvement.

An Obsession with the User Experience

Understanding users is an obsession. The company watches how people use the product. In turn, this feedback informs iterations. Organisations experiment. They discover what works (and do more of that) and what doesn’t (and do less of that).

Product decisions start with the user in mind. User experience is the top priority. When people love a product, they will not only use it, but will recommend it to others.

Success metrics focus on usage and engagement. Streamlining adoption matters most.

Agile and Adaptable

A product-led company can pivot quickly. New user data means rapid changes. There is flexibility to adapt.

The priority is delivering value to users. If that means changing course, the company can respond.

This agility comes from the product team’s mandate. With empowered product leaders, the organisation moves fast.

Selling Through the Product

In a product-led company, the product sells itself. Users can access and test it directly.

This allows for free trials and freemium models. The product demonstrates its own value.

Sales and marketing support adoption. However, the product is the main channel to customers.

Long sales cycles are eliminated and users choose products on their own terms.

Why Product-Led?

Here are 5 Benefits for the Business of being Product-Led

  • Focus – The entire company aligns around the product and users.
  • Growth – Products that deliver value can scale quickly through word of mouth.
  • Customer-Centric – Users feel heard. Products meet their needs and are loved.
  • Agility – Fast pivots based on user feedback. Constant evolution.
  • Efficient – Less need for heavy sales and marketing spend to drive growth.

Examples of Product-Led Companies

  • Slack – Chat app which led growth through viral user adoption and easy integration with other products.
  • Zoom – Video call software that sold itself to remote workers. Zoom was one of the fastest-growing apps of the pandemic when meeting participants increased by 2900%!
  • Canva – Graphic design platform which grew rapidly based on user-friendly product experience.

When Product-Led Works Best

The product-led model shines for digital products and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) companies. When the product can deliver value directly to users, it can become the growth engine.

It works for innovative products creating new categories. It also suits commoditised markets where competing on user experience matters.

Product-led may not work everywhere. Companies with complex sales cycles still need sales-led models. However, they can borrow from product-led principles.

Product-led puts the product at the heart of operations. When executed well, this creates fantastic user experiences. It also fuels growth through adoption.

Are you a leader in a product-led organisation? Struggling to move from strategy to execution?
Get in touch and let us help you.

the zoo game

Exploring Cross-Team Collaboration with The Agile Animalia Megagame

collaboration, experiments

Last week we collaborated with AWA Global and Discover Financial Services to run an in-person Meetup in London. We introduced Agile Animalia (AKA the zoo game), which is a real-time collaborative mega game, that explores cross-team collaboration.

Summary of the game

Participants begin in teams, with the collective goal of creating a successful paper zoo. At the start of the game, each team is told that they are responsible for a particular task (e.g. acquiring animals, education, perimeters, safety, etc). As the game progresses and the zoo grows over a series or rounds (or iterations), participants have to figure out for themselves how best to work together in order to build a successful zoo with happy animals, staff and customers.

What did we learn from Agile Animalia?

  • Transformation is NOT easy
  • Change can make people deeply uncomfortable at first

    AND…
  • Humans are incredibly good at problem solving
  • When we work together, our problem-solving ability improves exponentially
  • This is especially true with complex problems, where the outcome cannot be predicted
  • Working together to adapt to change and solve problems can be exciting, fun and rewarding!

The Agile Animalia collaborative megagame was the perfect way to illustrate how the Enterprise Change Pattern (our coaching strategy for organisational change) can be used to increase ownership, reduce risk, and result in a perfect fit of change to context. In addition to running the game, Carl Rogers shared with us his experience of using the Enterprise Change Pattern with great success at Discover, where he is a senior manager in the Agile Enablement team.

Request a copy of Agile Animalia (the zoo game)

I would like to download the zoo game (Agile Animalia)(Required)
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Want more?

Let’s talk! We can run a workshop like this in your organisation. Agile Animalia (the zoo game) is a great way to make sure that everyone gets a say and feels excited and motivated by your transformation (rather than anxious and uncomfortable). It also illustrates how collaborative change leads to successful outcomes.
Not to boast, but our game score went from 11.75 points in the first iteration, to a whopping 70 in the final round. That’s a 495% improvement!