The Crisp packet story
Now I’ll be the first to admit “the crisp guy” is a somewhat unusual name to known by, but I embrace it and am proud of the transformation it represents. Let me explain…
About 5 years ago, we were just coming out of the biggest recession of my lifetime, ATG had been hit hard with multiple client’s companies going bust, we had ridden the storm well even though we had lost 100’s of thousands of pounds when they went. We were just about surviving as a business and thankfully we had made no redundancies.
I never thought of myself as a control freak but I suppose I was. After 25 years of being involved in every single thing that happened in ATG, something was missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it, had I reached the threshold that all SMB businesses hit, was I not capable of running ATG anymore, had I reached my limit?
Whatever the reason all I knew was that I wasn’t as happy running ATG anymore, all of my heart ache wasn’t worth it, I was sinking deeper and deeper in to depression. I started staying at home, some days not even getting out of bed all day, my wife Rebecca was beside herself with worry as she didn’t know what to do or say, I had lost all of my motivation, not just for ATG, but for anything, What I did know was things had to change. I needed a new direction and new challenge. Little did I know how this would change over the next 5 years in to something amazing.
Then one day about 5 years ago I was sent a book ..
through the post, out of the blue and sent anonymously. I was later to find that this was from a good friend of mine Phylip Morgan. Wow. Have you ever received something that you didn’t know you were going to be getting? I will never get tired of it, it’s such a wonderful feeling that somebody has taken the time to send you something that you didn’t ask for and they didn’t ask for anything in return.
To be honest I hadn’t read a book since school, reading wasn’t really my thing, I always used to make excuses for my lack of any exam results and I put myself down for being a little illiterate, well that was my excuse anyway. But, back to the book, The book was called THE FRED FACTOR by Mark Sanborn, and from memory the book sat, pretty much ignored, on my bedside table for a couple of weeks. Then one sunny day I was home from work early and I decided to try and read it, so I sat in the garden expecting to read for about 30 mins. Imagine my surprise when, as I started, I became engrossed and 3 hours later I had finished it, My 1st book was now read! Was it a good book?
Well, that depends on what you wanted to get out of it, as the book was about an American postman who went above and beyond for his customers. His passion for his job and his customers was exemplary to everybody but Fred, who just did what he did for no reward or recognition, but because he had a passion that drove him to exceed expectations every day. The book itself didn’t really teach me anything that I didn’t already know, and in some respect practice myself, but I guess that was the point.
For me, it was a catalyst to start to read more and more books and today, 5 years later, I have read approximately 60 business or self-improvement books
My Top 10 Books in order of reading:
The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn
The E Myth revisited by Michael Gerber
Make a difference by DR Larry Little
Five dysfunctions of a team Patrick Lencioni
Go Giver by Bob Burg
Turn the ship around by David Marquet
Traction by Gino Wickman
Get a grip by Gino Wickman
How to be a great boss by Gino Wickman
What the heck by Gino Wickman
So, back to why the Crisp guy.
OK. So I arrived at work one day to see an empty walkers crisp packet (Prawn Cocktail) sitting right outside the main entrance to my office’s. Now at that time I employed 15 people, so that meant that 14 of them had walked right passed it on their way through the front door. My 1st reaction was to pick it up, but then I thought “why hasn’t anybody else?”. We were paying good wages, we were, as far as I was aware, employing the best people, our culture was said to be good, but still nobody could even pick up an empty crisp packet and put it in the bin” So I left it where it was to see what happened next.
The answer was nothing. Nobody touched it. Every day I was getting more and more mad and more and more negative about my staff. I’m not going to repeat what I was calling them in my head but it wasn’t good.
Anyway, my wife could see that it was annoying me and getting me down, so she kept telling me to just pick it up, but I wouldn’t have any of it, even though it had been near 5 weeks. I was going to hold out and then, one day, it was gone! Great! At last! However, I was later to find out it was my wife who got sick and tired of me moaning about it every day and picked it up herself!
At the same time as the Crisp packet episode was going on I was developing a house.
It was a large remodelling job and sometimes I would have 20 builders on site all doing different jobs. They mostly did the job wrong, or not how I wanted them to be done and as such I went through new builders like there was no tomorrow. My wife would sit with her head in her hands as she saw me sack yet another one, only then to see the next replacement come down the drive the following day! I later found out she was thinking, “how long will this one last?”.
They did some stupid things - hung doors the wrong way, ceiling lights not in a straight line, paint all over sockets or wooden floors etc. I really wanted the house to be finished but hated the process of dealing with all of these builders who seemed to have little or no common sense. To be honest this was very similar to how I felt about work
One night I was asleep only to wake, bolt upright, in the middle of the night. OMG. I had just worked out what the problem with work and the builders was!
It was ME.
Why did I feel this?
Well I had never told my staff at work, or the builders, what GOOD looked like. If you don’t explain to your employees (or the builders) what good looks like, then they will just do what they think they should, using their own initiative based on their own experience and values, and not yours. They will use their own version of what good looks like as a guide and if they do, because you haven’t helped them understand what you wanted, then getting it wrong can’t be their fault if their version of what good looks like doesn’t match yours.
As soon as I had realised that it was my fault I decided that I was going change the way I dealt with employees (and builders) and always fully explain what I wanted before I hand a job off to anybody else.
The power that this simple action has had over my home and work life is unbelievable.
Back then, I didn’t have a process lead business, which probably led me becoming a control freak, getting involved in every detail, not trusting anybody to do anything as well as I could. ATG wasn’t going anywhere, we had flatlined, I was working 70 hours plus a week, unhappy and not knowing what my purpose was.
Since that epiphany 5 years ago, I have gone from being lost with no direction to being clear about my purpose and the professional and personal journey I’m on.
Today, running ATG based on Gino Wickman’s book series called Traction, I now have direction and a purpose. ATG is smashing every target going, according to our figures we should grow 84% this year, and this is with me only in the office 28 hours a week, including taking Friday afternoons off to take my wife Rebecca out for lunch. I have the time to be an Exec Director of Network group and develop my philosophy and purpose in being @thecrispguy, and I am now speaking about my experience all over the world. I love that I know my purpose and above all I am exceptionally happy and my wife is smiling again.
To enable others to be the best they can be through creative, unique mentoring.
Make a difference profile:
Myer Briggs Profile:
My Personal values:
Thinking people wave length Profile:
So, you now know a little bit about where the crisp guy came from – if you want to know more, you can find the full story in my upcoming blog series.
Where is the Crisp Guy going?
Well its October 2018 and at this time I don’t really know where it’s going. With all the changes I have initiated and implemented over the last 5 years I have gone from working 70 hours a week to 28 hours a week, so I have some spare time to help others.
I know that many small businesses today have the same issues that I had for nearly 25 years. Whilst it’s great that I have mostly solved those issues now, I feel that I could serve best as a helper and guide to others on the same journey that I have been through over the last 5 years.
I’m going to continue to talk at as many industry events as I can, as I love speaking at events to an engaged audience, especially as I know I have something that people really want to hear. So far this year I have spoken at a number of industry events including CompTIA and Network Group in UK and at a major MSP supplier, Continuum in Boston, I am also booked to speak in Kansas 2019 to 300 business prospects for an Kansas IT managed service provider am I’m exploring supporting local business communities through the national network of the Chamber of Commerce.
As well as speaking, I want to guide companies through the Traction business model. ATG has been running its business based on the Traction methodology for nearly 3 years, with unbelievable results. I have already run a number of introductions to Traction to other Managed Service Providers in Scotland and Southern Ireland and have felt immense satisfaction in seeing the positive impact these workshops have had. I have really enjoyed running these and I would love to run more of them - obviously I can relate to IT Managed Service Providers easily as I am one, however Traction and @crispguy talks are universal, and easily translated to fit any type of small business.
If you would like to book me to speak at your event or you want to discuss how the changes I have made at ATG-IT have impacted my business and my personal life in the most positive way, please get in touch.
To find out more about me and my journey, please visit www.crispleadership.com
To find out more about ATG-IT please visit www.atg-it.co.uk
Follow me on twitter @thecrispguy
Follow me on LinkedIN https://www.linkedin.com/in/mamatthews/