The reason for Breakthrough Funding's success, is that they are a magnificent team. Susie was adamant that they would not choose staff based on their academic qualifications or past experience but their behaviours, attitude and personality, which they tested vigorously. They Invested in their development and growth, no matter what their background, with structured training pathways and support that allowed them to flourish and grow.
Who are these people? How do you attract them to your business? Susie believed that if you want the best innovators you need to stand out and you need to stand for something. A strong sense of purpose and a strong culture needs to be 100% aligned to strategy, not just platitudes. The best story wins – as long as its authentic. She wanted a strong culture that allowed genuine innovation and celebrated it and most of all was happy with failure but failing quickly. The culture genuinely allowed people to suggest ideas and crucially, then try them out.
She is a zealous missionary for her ideas but she wanted her employees to be too – she wanted them to buy it and believe it 100 per cent. Susie oozed all that culture in their job ads so the right type of people apply. She didn’t want to ask for qualifications or references. She couldn’t care less what they’d done before – it was their behaviours and attitude, ability to embrace change and make suggestions that she cared about.
Both Brady and Susie wanted to recruit people with a Star Trek mentality i.e. happy to go where no man has gone before. And that is what they tested at interview.
In their view success is about making mistakes. It’s about imagination and freedom. You have to be able to join dots, appreciate outliers, be inquisitive, understand behaviours, look for patterns that are not at first obvious, use qualitative aspects, think in a non-linear way. Susie believes this is only achievable with people who are a bit different and who can spark off other people who are nothing like them. That’s not just about colour or gender, that’s not enough. It’s about that AND age, background, creed etc etc or in modern speak this means a truly diversified workforce. It’s the key to success because it embraces diversity of thinking, innovation, challenge, debate and off the wall contributions. If everyone is an A student (i.e. great at passing exams), white, middle class and been on a gap year travelling, they’re clever but only in one dimension.
Today, diversity of background and thought is critical to make a company thrive. Susie wanted to start a company first because she wanted to prove she could do it on her own terms, and secondly to get together the right people to generate innovative and creative ideas that could disrupt current thinking and ways of doing things. Susie wanted to allow them to stick their head above the parapet and tell her, the boss, when something felt wrong. That’s the first step. But so too is the ability to change. Change, and changing fast was the Breakthrough key to creating value.