McNak shows that recruitment can be fun

October 24, 2010

McNakI’ve written in the past about Zappos amazing company culture. But what if your company is much smaller, and your job is to find people to work somewhere else?

McNeill Nakamoto is a Vancouver based recruitment agency who aims to “turn the ordinary everyday experience of recruitment into something highly memorable”. It looks like a great place to work. Having dealt with recruitment agencies in the past and found the experience painful I’d love to see more of this new kind of approach.

Watch this quirky two minute video for an insight into what makes McNak different from the norm:

How to build an $8Bn company: take some “brave pills”

May 13, 2010

The message from Sir Bill Gammell, founder and CEO of Cairn Energy Plc, a Scottish based oil company is that “there is no bar” to how far you can go. The limiting factor is your attitude and ambition. Swallow some “brave pills”. Click the image to enlarge and find out what each pill contains.

To succeed he emphasises the need for a clear vision, and determined action. Having increased the value of his company 155-fold in the last 18 years he speaks with some degree of authority.

More impressive to me is that Sir Bill – a former star of Scottish rugby – has built this impressive international business based on fundamental truths of respect, relationships and responsibility.

An example of their good principles: paying $10M to exit a contract in China when they discovered they couldn’t do business on these principles. His advice, “Only do business with people you would be happy to have dinner with” is surprisingly similar to Warren Buffett’s rule that he only does business with people he “likes, trusts and admires”. The point is that there’s a lot more to business than just money.

Like Buffett, Sir Bill is driven by “creating something with a legacy and long-term sustainable performance”. To achieve this, alignment with your shareholders is essential and to attract them you need enthusiasm, energy, passion, credibility and honesty. Adding value is a recurring theme at Cairn, and the audience were more than a little taken aback when he asked a number of people at random, “Did you add value? Did you make a difference today?”

The oil industry is dominated by a small number of very large companies, but Cairn prefer, where possible to go it alone rather than partner with these slow-moving giants: “We look for a reason to make things happen, rather than look for reasons not to do things”

Apart from his obvious personal drive and determination Sir Bill’s success is no doubt down to the ability to build a fantastic team. By “valuing and empowering good people” you can unlock success. It’s important to “encourage people to take and accept responsibility”. As an entrepreneur he was surprised to discover that in fact people are not very willing to take responsibility, and concludes there is a “great danger in not giving people responsibility young enough”. With this in mind the Winning Scotland Foundation was set up to create a “positive winning attitude throughout Scotland”.

It seems fitting that the headline on Cairn’s website says “discovering hidden value”, while clearly intended to illustrate their core competency of oil and gas exploration, it could apply just as well to their attitude to their most important resource, their people. I was inspired by Sir Bill, a true entrepreneurial hero.

Sir Bill Gammell was speaking at The Entrepreneurial Exchange, a Scottish organisation where entrepreneurs help each other grow and create businesses of scale. A sister organisation in London is coming later this year and The Entrepreneurs’ Forum has been going strong in North East England for over 7 years. Internationally, the EO is the nearest equivalent. If you’re an entrepreneur looking for support and help I can recommend any of these superb organisations.

How to create a community for your website

December 9, 2009

Photo Credit: Adam Tinworth

The answer is… you can’t create a community. You can facilitate it, you can guide it but the community is inside all of us (as individuals).

That’s the message which blogger Chris Pirillo passionately expanded on his keynote address to the Le Web conference in Paris today.

Community is inside all of us.

Community isn’t about a company, but a culture.

Community is becoming increasingly distributed. (For example everyone now has many profiles on multiple websites).

Community requires tools that can’t be built; it’s the people which make a community.

Community is a commodity, but people aren’t.

Community cannot be controlled, only guided. (This is the thing which most companies from the advertising age don’t get. They fret that “people might say bad things about us”. Pirillo argues that’s a GOOD thing; it shows people care).

Community is no longer defined by physical boundaries. (Thanks to the web we now have more things in common with people on the other side of the world than we do our next door neighbours).

Community grows its own leaders.

Community is the antithesis of ego.

Community is everywhere, inside of us.

For more detail on this direct from the source visit Chris Pirillo’s blog.