Don’t worry about things you can’t control and go for it!

 

As Founder & CEO of Connectworxs, Graham is passionate about helping organizations achieve growth by creating the right data-driven culture. Graham began his career as a Royal Marines Officer, specializing in intelligence. This experience led him to the belief that teams that ask better questions to data will fuel growth for their organizations. He believes that the role of leadership in the information age is to provide a clear and compelling purpose that can act as a handrail for teams to plan and execute strategy against, using data.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

My military experience — specifically as an intelligence officer. During that time, understanding how frontline and data teams worked together was of critical importance. When I went into business, I saw a huge opportunity in helping business teams through such ways of working.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I start every day with exercise — normally a run, bike, or swim. I find this really clears my head and energizes me for the day. I then make a quick plan — a “to do” list of sorts — but against a timeline, and then get cracking. I travel frequently, meeting delivery partners and clients, so this routine is sometimes challenging. I try to avoid getting swamped by emails and am pretty good at utilizing “delete” when necessary.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I have a great business partner and team and we’re very good at talking things through, really challenging our thinking with each other. We do this in all sorts of different environments — not always in the office, to energize us.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The way that technology is changing ways of working with teams. Examples such as Slack have shown us that you can have a huge impact on behavioral change when done right. Culture change in this way is fast and cost-effective.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Time management. There is never enough time in the day and we get way too distracted. I stay productive by “time boxing” tasks and then having the discipline to move on to the next one.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t worry about things you can’t control and go for it!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Business Intelligence tools are not working. In a billion dollar industry, these tools are not having the impact they promised. Unlocking the value of data is all about working as a team, not building a pretty dashboard. Self-service — reporting or analytics — is littered with problems and skill gaps, and is the wrong way of looking at the problem.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Self reflect. After a conference talk, team meeting, or client project, take time to sit down (just three minutes) and ask yourself, “What went well? What could I improve?” I learned this from my military career.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Partnerships! There are some super clever people out there working for some great companies. Collaborate and learn from each other — there is often a strong commercial opportunity there. We have found this specifically with our delivery partners.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

In the early stages of Connectworxs, we were going in all sorts of directions; selling a service, simulations, and technology. We realized very quickly that we had to focus on one thing and be world class at that.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Think about the way that we collect performance data in companies; surveys, interviews, focus groups. I think there is a huge opportunity in looking at IoT/sensor technology in managing performance and gaining insights in large enterprises. Annual survey is dead — but people still do it.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I love buying all things for my 9-month-old daughter. Books, toys, anything to keep her entertained. Watching her develop and grow is magical.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Trello. Our product team uses it to manage development and it’s such a great tool.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

My book, “Seeing Around Corners” 🙂

What is your favorite quote?

Nobody is as smart as everybody.

Key learnings:

  • By applying lessons from other industries and sectors, we can learn a huge amount. This diversity is the fuel for ideas and innovation.
  • Challenging thinking within a team — bias, groupthink, strong opinions — is a great practice to identify gaps in your understanding and uncover the right questions to ask.
  • Do not underestimate the power of partnerships. This may be a simple go-to market strategy, or a much deeper collaboration, but in the end, your customers will benefit.
  • Self-reflection is a great and simple technique for self-improvement.

Connect:

https://connectworxs.com/
https://seeingaroundcorners.com/
https://lidpublishing.com/
Graham Hogg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/grahamhogg_cw
Connectworxs on Twitter: https://twitter.com/connectworxs
Graham Hogg on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamhogg1/
LID Publishing on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lidpublishing