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7 Questions with Alex Pearmain
7 Questions with Alex Pearmain
Name: Alex Pearmain
Current title: Cp-Founder
Current organisation: OneFifty consultancy
Alex is a digital communications expert who bridges the world of theory and practice, to drive business outcomes. He has worked with organisations as diverse as O2, Nestle, and Mazda. He founded OneFifty 5 years ago, and they have been named in the UK's hottest startups 3 years running, and were named digital agency of the year in 2020. He lives in Oxfordshire, with his young family, and likes exercise, gardening and cooking. Activities which all depend on each other!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Enjoying the successes. Celebrating wins matters, individually and collectively. I move straight on to the next thing. Smelling the roses is a positive, and I need to do it more.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I set myself two alternative career goals when I was 25. This was one of them. I orientated my career to securing the skills I felt I needed to launch successfully.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
In a dream day, when the stars align, I exercise first thing, have breakfast with my children, settle into reading through the day's content - I'm a big fan of RSS and try to handle about 400 feeds - plus the FT. Then it's into Slack, meetings and work. Exercise again at lunch, sit outside working in the afternoon, fire up the pizza oven with the kids for dinner, then have some wine, watch some sport and read a book. In a typical day about 30% of this actually occurs, but the intention is always there...
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Being transparent is always the best course. it gives people the certainty of standing they will perform better with, and forces resolution, and improvement faster. You can go to sleep at night with a clear conscience, which I think there's a lot to be said for.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Chimp Paradox, by Steve Peters. If it was good enough for Bradley wiggins, it's good enough for me. We supply it to all new joiners, and it provides a common framework for everyone to discuss emotions and processing them. That shared language is a big enabler of structured conversations around the messier parts of everyday working dynamics.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Hard work, and creating space for people who exhibit the behaviours you believe leaders need. growing people from within the business has clear benefits around certainty of behaviours and values. It might take longer than a hiring spree, but it hopefully lasts longer too.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
This is one of those questions were you end up as a meme on "The state of LinkedIn"!