COO of Art of Cloud, seasoned QA Manager, AND Dragon’s Den investment winner!
Boy, does she have a story to tell! I was quite captivated by this episode, and her story of how she got to where she is now… working with great people doing what she loves.
What happened with that business that she pitched to the Dragons? Well, you’ll have to listen to find out!
This is one of the things I love so much about what I do now – I get to meet amazing people and hear the msot fascinating stories!
Pei Mun Lim 0:03
Well, hello there Liz! Welcome to my podcast called #OnThePeiroll. How are you today?
Liz Rhodes 0:09
I’m very good because it’s beautifully sunny. And I’ve been out for a run and started my day with like, an amazing like, run down the canal. So feeling very, very happy this morning.
Pei Mun Lim 0:22
Good endorphin. Here’s just very quickly on that. How often do you run
Liz Rhodes 0:28
trying to do three days a week, I’m doing Gemini two on the treadmill one outside because I am training for half marathon. supporting a local charity is our app, which I’ve kind of been involved with for a while. And yeah, may the eighth is the big day. So I’m working. Okay, myself round,
Pei Mun Lim 0:47
I will make sure to air this before mediate in help you raise the funds that up for the charity event. Fantastic. Okay. So Liz, you are currently the CEO of art of cloud. And what I’m really interested in is your journey. So if you can just tell me a little bit, just tell us a story
Liz Rhodes 1:06
of how you got here. Yeah, it’s, it’s actually quite interesting. Well, it interests me a lot. And so I did a food and nutrition degree to Manchester University. So nothing to do with technology. But then I went traveling and spent three and a half years traveling around the world, I was doing teaching as a second language in Singapore, I went working in Australia and kind of started in a bit in tech there, I was working at the, in the backend of the casino, looking at the statistics of how players statistics and looking at the algorithms about why people play and what times they play, and then start to become a nerd, basically, loves statistics, loved data. And then came back to the UK, I actually had a role lined up in the Ministry of Agriculture on the graduate program. This is like 22 years ago. So I went down to live in London in the interim and got a temp job, an IT company. And I was just the receptionist, not just it was an important role. And but then I started just talking to the people and talking about their roles. And basically, they just offered me a job. They were just like, you’re obviously interested in this. What would you like to do what you’re good at? And I was like, Well, I’ve done some statistical analysis. And so I started as a tester for software house. And when did my ICER did some courses on testing? And it was didn’t work there for 10 years, working my way up. And by the end, yeah.
Pei Mun Lim 2:45
Sorry, because I love testing. So I’m just gonna pause you for a minute. And I want you to tell me a little bit more about what it is you were testing. All
Liz Rhodes 2:54
right, so it’s like double nerd. Like it was insurance software. So far. FinTech insurance software, for Lloyds and non commercial insurer. SOIC Lloyds, and non Lloyds, commercial insurance, software. So big, big packages, like very interested in industry for a young girl from the north, like, surrounded by a lot of it’s a very male dominated industry, I think there was maybe four of us, for women, when I started that receptionist. There, maybe four or five of us, not many. But absolutely loved it loved. Just just love getting to is the user experience for me and understanding why you want it to be smooth and like then the data and the positive testing and negative testing and regression testing the automated testing and managed to join my time there we started really basically because it was quite a young company. And it grew from hours think this 30 was when we started when I left was like over 200 It was amazing. And so I started in the test, test role, then became the test manager, then became the ops manager and then spent three years going back and forth to India setting up an offshore wind team. It was quite novel then to be fair, it was kind of going offshore in at that time was mainly call centers. Yeah, career wasn’t we set up a support development test team out there, which was fantastic. And, and I just loved that experience. I’m a real people person I love talking to people are finding out what they do, and working out why they do it, and what are their problems? And what are their barriers and how we could improve it and all that kind of thing. So it was like in my element. So
Pei Mun Lim 4:42
fantastic. If you allow me to just just even expand on that. So you set up in operations out in India for support development and testing. Talk to me a little bit about the challenges that you have had in how you overcame them
Liz Rhodes 4:56
doing that. Well. The challenge was we had to get a team I have I think it was about 80 up and running within months. So there was like myself leading it from the UK based company. And then my counterpart in India, Sanjay, who was brilliant, and still in touch with them now. And we were like, how are we going to get all these people up to speed. And then we came up with this plan of like, this big training plan of who was caught, and then like a little pathways. And so that was the biggest challenge getting everybody up to speed quick enough. And secondly, was, there’s always the kind of normal challenges with offshore wind, the culture, the time differences, the making sure that everybody understood the problems and how to solve them. And that were just communication, it was the key was communication, and making sure the team’s about able to communicate. And at that time, offshoring wasn’t as common. And so there was still that element of always this attractive, my job is this and, and so it was like a piece in, like making the team in the UK understand it was an extension, not a replacement. And so there was all that element of change management, at this end to manage, as well as kind of the actual practical side of getting the team up and running in quite a complex area. But we did it amazingly. And it was really successful. So much. So the Indian company ended up by in the UK company.
Pei Mun Lim 6:27
Whoa. Okay. So just extending on that thread a little bit. If someone wants to say, Liz, I would like, or, you know, onto the cloud, for example, I would like to set up we were we we should set up an offshore team in Elbonian, which is fictional? What are the top three things you would tell you leadership things? These are what we absolutely need to get right? If we wanted to be successful, so the top three more would they be
Liz Rhodes 6:59
clear expectation of what you’re on that team to achieve? what their role is, where the boundaries are? Yeah, that’s, it’s managing expectation, to communication, make sure it’s easy, it’s it flows is constant. And then there is no doubt and the guests, the third is trust, trust that people want to do the right thing. That’s ultimately everybody is doing their job, because they believe in it and like a massive, and massively into authentic leadership, which we can talk about in a bit. But it’s like, if you trust people to do their job, they will do their job well. But if you start micromanaging and hovering stuff that like it can put it can put some people off. So ensure that the team you’re working with the team you’re setting up with know that you trust them, that you believe in them, and that it’s a positive relationship with them. And they feel part of it and not just like, examiner’s situation, to make sense.
Pei Mun Lim 8:02
That’s, that’s perfect. That’s perfect. I think a lot of what you’re talking about resonates so much with me, which is around setting expectations, communication and trust, because that’s the thing that can lubricates a lot of the processes, be setting up a new offshore team, or just running in scaling and growing,
Liz Rhodes 8:22
yeah, or any project. Ultimately, if the columns are now if you if you don’t feel like you can have a conversation with your equivalent on the other side of the project, then you’ve got an issue because you need to be able to say The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, don’t you and deliver that message and be very honest with them. So I think for me, just clear in those relationships is like, so important. And and, and that’s part of why I feel my team is really successful, because I really encouraged them to say it, the worst somebody can say is no or that they don’t agree. Wild is not going to implode, if you say, You know what, this isn’t gonna work for you as a business. And this is why they might disagree. But, but that’s their decision. But at least you’ve done your job by saying it. So I think the trust and openness is such an important thing to me, rather than just everybody saying yes to everything.
Pei Mun Lim 9:18
Amazing. Allow me one Christian to geek out on tests arena. So just just going back to the testing, functionality, how do you in consulting world that you and I inhabit. Yeah, testing is seen as second cousin.
Liz Rhodes 9:39
Yeah. Yeah. We get it seen as an expense, unnecessary expense. And that is in that is, and that’s not new. That’s something I’ve always experienced, because there it’s not done. It’s not tangible, is it in court? It is tangible when something breaks in so it’s that value of putting the time in, we put a percentage of time into every project for testing. And we do peer testing. And then I mean, because I’m a bit obsessed about testing, because I love it. I’m like you do first class testing with the stakeholders, then we do you at testing, but we do peer testing before it goes to you at. And then we deal with emotions of your 80. And then we go, go live regression testing, making sure it all still works. But but that’s because I’ve got 10 years 15 years experience in testing, and therefore I can bring that to the table. And I understand why people go, I’ll just let it pass. But it’s, it is it’s that thing of like, it’s fine until something breaks, isn’t it? So? Yeah. I believe more in it. I do believe in it. But I don’t think if you’re an end user, and somebody says test the system, that’s that’s a big ask, rarely, isn’t it, because they will just do their job per se, when they they’ll key in their contacts and their opportunity. But they don’t, they don’t know how to trigger the automations. They don’t know how to trigger the flows, they don’t know how to kind of negative test it to make sure that it doesn’t trigger at the wrong time. And that’s our job. And one of the things we do in a project is talk about those unit user journeys right at the start saying, how are you going to test the system? Because that’s going to be important to the success of the project? How are you going to know that this system is doing what you need it to do? And we help them build those user journeys from the beginning of the project. So
Pei Mun Lim 11:33
what do you mean when you say peer testing? So if
Liz Rhodes 11:37
somebody’s done some code, we were just like, I’ll jump on it. Sometimes if it’s something, we just get somebody else on the team, fresh pair of eyes. Everybody obviously test their own work going, oh, yeah, that definitely works. But obviously, you can always take the path of least resistance. Whereas if I jump on it, or another consultant jumps on it, our test, the we’ve got a full time tester now, which has been a growth thing, actually, for us to invest in a full time tester is this and quite unusual in a consultancy to be of our size, but it’s an important thing to us for our credibility. But yeah, getting them to just run through it as the use of word as the user wouldn’t. And just make sure that you’re testing those boundaries
Pei Mun Lim 12:22
and test it. So just pulling from that when you say, of your size. So can you just tell me about how big
Liz Rhodes 12:30
we’re up to 17. So we’ve got our number three of cloud. And we’ve grown year on year doubled year on year for the last. I mean, it’s really young company, we just have our fourth birthday from the date kind of inception. And I joined three years ago as employee number three. And yeah, we’ve grown and team of consultants, developers, and as I say, we’ve just got a fourth and full time tester to
Pei Mun Lim 12:55
You said you’ve got 17 are all 17 delivery team.
Liz Rhodes 13:00
sales guys as well. Okay, sales team, got developers, we’ve got consultants, we’ve got financial systems consultants as project management systems, PSA consultants, and myself, and who’s the CEO. And then we also have like an office manager who does all the making all the magic happen and making all our lives easy. So yeah, it’s like a growing. Yeah, we’ve gone yeah. 100% year on year. It’s been amazing. And like, I’m such a such a nerd. I literally sent Ben a message on Monday go, I just lost my job. Just gonna sell Yeah, I love my job. He’s like, you’re such a nerd. Yeah, but I feel grateful that I can just genuinely go, I love my job. And there’s tough days and but day to day, I love doing what I do. And like, who default is whole world of Salesforce? You know, I’ve been in it five and a half years. And who would have thought that that’s where I would end up from where I started.
Pei Mun Lim 14:03
Indeed, indeed, after that really long detail. Let me just take you back to off law. But no, no, no, it’s all super interesting. You know, because they all touch on what made what makes you you yanks you so effective, and what you do now, so there is a particular point that I’m waiting for your story to get to, but I’ll let you get there and your own.
Liz Rhodes 14:27
Worked at. Yeah, worked at the insurance software company, then went on maternity leave. And then I Yeah, interestingly, set up her baby goods company called Ruby in Jinja. And this was just an idea with a friend. I would say one of my strengths is just finding solutions to problems. Just anything. I’m quite good at finding a solution and always know how to make the solution but I’m quite good at going. I’ve got this idea and we could maybe do it this way and And that’s one of the things that like, is one of my strengths. And then in in kind of day to day work, and then I’ll go, Oh, come on, the developers help me flesh that out into reality. But this was a conceptual thing of like, okay, I don’t want a massive bag on my back. And so we create this thing called the minute change embark as our first product. And then we create some other products. And we yeah, we managed to get ourselves in House of Fraser mazurka went on Dragon’s Den in Ireland, which
Pei Mun Lim 15:34
tell me about a product that you know, the first
Liz Rhodes 15:37
product, it was a little tiny mini change it back like this book fits inside your handbag. And in it, there was like a wipes case of refillable wipes case, and a little tiny changing mat to just put it under the baby’s bomb. So you could be anywhere, I suppose from up changing in our pay off, it’s in your handbag. Perfect. So with that was that the second product was a safety product. It’s called the car. This was our second main product case a car seat cover. And kids aren’t supposed to wear big puffy coats or snow suits in their car seats, loads, you see loads of people doing it. For if there’s a crash, the air goes out of those snow suits and you know, like your puffer jacket, the air can just go. And so you’re left with a gap. And you you can see videos on YouTube and stuff of the do it with dummies in Crash Test situations. And the gap is not the babies aren’t secure. So this is like a cover that goes over the sizer, a car seat. And its thermal and it keeps the baby warm. And it’s got a space for their face, obviously, so they can breathe. But it just created like, you know, like the earphone parts of a sleeping bag, you’ve got the warm and then then and it just meant that they were safe and their harnesses are tight. And you could use it outside, but you can use it inside. So the massive learning curve designing products, trademarking products, looking at manufacturing products, bringing them over from we manufactured in India, then we manufactured in China, and then we went bigger, and then we had to design our own fabric, things like that. It was just when I look back, I was like, Oh my word. How do we achieve all that? We went to trade shows we were featured in Danny Minos book, we were featured in newspapers. It was amazing. And we’re on Dragon’s Den, which was crazy. Like we weren’t on the Irish version, because my business partner at the time was Irish. And we’re just touching a wall. Why not? Why don’t we give it a go. And then suddenly looking at each other in the studio going how we got here. We got investment, interestingly, from a lady called Nora Casey, who owned all the women’s magazines, who was our ideal Dragon, because she owned the women’s magazines in Ireland, her business detritus. And so we got editorial in there, we got advertising in there. So it was all very exciting. Yeah. But the retail margins are small, you know, you’re selling, you’re saying selling wholesale to retailers, they take the chunk, you know, 2.4 markup, so like on a 20 pound product, you might get seven, and then you’ve got your costs, you’ve got your shipping, if you deliver a day late, they take money off you working in that. It’s it’s designed for much bigger companies than us. And so the margins were quite tight. And it was like, we got to this point where my business partner wants to move back to Ireland. And I was like, we either have to commit, like 100,000 200,000 pounds each into kind of the stock to get the, to get the volume discounts and to be able to do that, or we just go you know what we’ve achieved loads, let’s just go out on a high. So that’s what we decided to go down. And we look i i forget how much other and I don’t talk about it very much. I don’t know why because you can perceive it as a failure because we decided to cleanse it bought. It could have been loads bigger, but at the time for us. It wasn’t the right thing to do. We didn’t have them back the big volumes of money to invest and we did we still had young children and so we just thought you know what, let’s walk away knowing we’ve achieved maces and like I was putting all the stuff in a loft and I was like looking at all the articles going oh my god. But you forget don’t you you easily just move on to the next thing. But all that experience of dealing with worldwide people the supply chain, having to pitch to buyers at John Lewis how to pitch to house of Fraser like how do you don’t have the confidence to do that? But you just find it though. I guess there, and that kind of has built me to where I am now with just go into you know what? Give stuff ago because you can always go backwards, you can always go, actually, it’s not right for me. And that’s the experience I had. It was right for me for a period of time. And it was brilliant. But it got to the point where it wasn’t right for me, and actually saying to yourself, that’s okay to say this isn’t right for me right now, was very, very hard, emotionally. But actually now, look at me now. As I said, I love my job. And I wouldn’t have be who I am now without having gone through all that. So yeah,
Pei Mun Lim 20:36
I think 100% Not telling the story. I’m just following the, you know, like, you know, like an apprentice or Dragon’s Den where you’ve got cameras following you. So as you were talking, I was just imagining watching the documentary in my head, and I’m thinking what a great story. And especially as you say, I’m looking at profile, that’s, that’s eight years, yeah, almost nine years that you’ve spent building the brand, putting your heart and soul and blood, sweat and tears into bringing this to market, and creating something so amazing. And the courage to step away, as you say, when you decided that’s just not no longer. You know, enough for for for the both of you, especially when your partner wanted to move back to Ireland, and for you to say, hey, let’s in an Hi, not very many people would do that. I would say,
Liz Rhodes 21:38
Yeah, I think that’s true. And I don’t think we give it up. Because at the time, it was like very emotional. I don’t give ourselves enough credit. But talking to you about it, I can see how good it was. But at the time, it was like, Oh, God, it’s a failure. It’s a failure. We failed. It’s like we hadn’t failed at all, we’d achieved masses. We didn’t come out of it as millionaires. But we came out of it with amazing experience and amazing. Just, yes, skills, really many skills. We did everything. I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m very creative. Again, come up with idea. Drawing it designing patterns, did it at designing brands, logos. Yeah, it was all we did it all. It was amazing. But I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t still be in that world. Because it wasn’t right for me, then. And this is right for me now. So it is I’m a massive believer in twists of fate.
Pei Mun Lim 22:43
What a great story. I mean, do you did you go to parties in your house?
Liz Rhodes 22:46
I don’t. I genuinely I probably not even everybody in my office knows that story. Because I don’t shout about it. And I probably should show about it because it is a good. It’s a massive achievement. And actually, if I think about my own children, girls, and and going, if I played them this video, there we go now, because they were so young. I didn’t realize you did all that. And you’re like, Why? Why don’t we chat about ourselves. And, and that’s something actually, since I’ve been joined out of cloud. Ben and I have talked about authentic leadership and being true to yourself and one and by working on that aspect of myself, actually allows me to acknowledge that what I did was amazing and don’t pretend it didn’t like don’t hide it because it’s not a failure. I’m sorry, that’s really good.
Pei Mun Lim 23:42
Absolutely not I think the world what a great story. I mean, lots of people can work dragon den and get off I could do a better job. Oh, look at that. And my my thinking is, you are here and they are there and you don’t see all the hard work sweat blood and tears that’s gone into not just building them up but standing up in pitching on TV
Liz Rhodes 24:06
on TV to a bunch of people you’ve never met and all the kind of process to get to that point being chosen and being whittled down been auditioning all that kind of like you have to go through quite a rigorous process to get to that point they have to believe in you have to show all your numbers you have to show all your validate everything and you just like Gosh, how did God we were really good to even get to that opportunity. And we got some investment. Again, amazing. Yeah, I’m kind of sat here thinking you should give yourself so much more credit.
Pei Mun Lim 24:44
You should write a blog about it with with dashes and link to video if there is public that would be amazing. Wow, fantastic. Um, right. Going back to your journey. How did you get from there? to here
Liz Rhodes 24:59
to here Yeah, so after. So after Ruby in Jinja, stopped, I kind of interesting just took some time where I was literally doing loads of bits of stuff. My husband was working away at the time. He’s like a project manager for a big construction company, program manager that building upon the railways. And so we needed something that worked for us as a family. And so I did examine the July meeting, I did wedding catering, my friends come near, just went and helped her on a Friday and Saturday night, things like that. Right? People talk, as you probably guessed, so I absolutely loved it. Just put, it was just you know what, I’m just gonna do anything that fits in with my life that brings in some money for now. And so I did that for a couple years. And then I went to work for REM, which is a local backup a day, like restore data backup and restoration company. And I went in to just do some ops work for them part time, 15 hours a week. And that’s where I’m at Salesforce and loved it loved the fact, it was so configurable and user friendly, looking at what you could achieve with it. And so yeah, I work. They’re just contracting briefly. They just needed somebody to go in for I think, was there, nine months, something like that, not long. Just go and just help them. And that’s where I started doing my trail heads and who’s getting back into the data stuff. It was all for me, like the reporting and stuff. And this is Bob. And so yeah, that’s where my Salesforce journey started. Then my kind of contract was coming to an end. So again, twist of fate, looked on, indeed, first job I saw was out of cloud. And they were just looking for somebody to join them as the kind of first employees as Michael and Bernie, were the co founders. And I was like, I just rang Ben. And I was like, This is why you need to hire me. I didn’t think it was NDTV I was just basically, I’m super organized. get stuff done. I’m really good at solutions. And kind of our grow with the company and happy to work part time can see your young company, and then grow with the company. Bah bah, bah. And then yeah, went in the next day for an interview and then started the next week.
Pei Mun Lim 27:29
Wow, it is you listening to you, it feels like you’re someone who’s quite fearless and would grab opportunities.
Liz Rhodes 27:42
I’m not fearless. But I do take opportunities. I’m a massive believer in opportunities coming your way for a reason. Take them if it doesn’t work out. You’ve tried it. But you don’t know unless you’ve tried it. So if you don’t try it, you can’t complain about it. So I was like, so yeah, I did a actually started off the art of cloud as a contractor for three months just to test the waters so they could see what they needed. Because they were a growing startup, they’ve been running six or seven months, they didn’t know. They didn’t know what they needed fully. And so I was quite happy to get stuck in do the work, do your data loads, do whatever, as well as kind of start guiding them into the operation side. And I was like, I’ve got all this experience. I’ll bring it to the table. And let’s, let’s work together and and it’s just gone from there. And then so yeah. And then we’ve just grown. And, yeah, it’s just been a real journey. We’ve been in four different offices because we’ve kept outgrowing them. So we’ve got a lovely nice office now. We’ve seen people come and go, I guess like every business in this COVID times the staff change, the people change people’s priorities change. And it’s a very buoyant market, dairy oil market and is is the skill shortage. So we’ve seen people come and go, but always with the kind of like my job. The main part of my job I see it is to give people the opportunity to succeed and grow. If they’re not growing, if they’re not happy. And if they’re not strengthened in their careers if they want to if they want to learn something new, I want to encourage them, give them the space to that is my job. My job is to make my team successful. Because without that there is no businesses there. And if they’re successful, the businesses successful so I very, very much value. The trust, the authenticity, the success of my team, and at first I was a bit scared of that. And I didn’t like to acknowledge that I thought it might be seen as Being weak, you know being like, pretty kind just going yet that’s come and talk to me. Yeah, you need some support in this come to talk to me. We don’t micromanage it very much trust people to do their jobs. And I say that from day one as like, I trust you to do your job. But if you if you’re stuck if you need support, I’m here. The team is here, check in with us. We have check ins and stuff. But in terms of kind of day to day, yeah, I want to see my people go. And that’s, that includes letting people go. Because, again, like my own journey, you’ve got to let them go fly, because some might come all the way back, yes. Oh, just go fly. But you know, what, you’ve you’ve been part of that journey, you’ve been in part important part of making them happy and successful. And that’s what you want in life, isn’t it? I’m a bit. Yeah, very much a bit of a bit of a hippie.
Pei Mun Lim 30:57
I don’t. From what I can see, I don’t think that we’ll see you very wrong. That sort of culture is very healthy. I think it was just talking to the last season, I was speaking to Kevin, who’s the guest at CEO. And he was talking about how the culture of very candid feedback is something that drives the product forward. And I think you can only grow when there’s real honesty, and real safety. And sounds like that’s something you built,
Liz Rhodes 31:36
and continuing to try and build that trust of just going. We can’t all operate 100% all the time. And people have bad days. And just, you know, a couple of weeks ago, somebody just said, You know what, let’s I’m just not feeling it. I just feel a bit weird. And I was just like, You know what, it’s two o’clock, go home, get out in the sun, go for a walk, you’ll feel better tomorrow. And you just need to be able to do that, don’t you? Doesn’t, you know, we’re doing Salesforce, we’re not doing open heart surgery, the world will not implode. So let’s be like, just by trusting your team to get their job done. And continuously showing that you trust them, but supporting their needs and knowledge and growth and everything. I think you’ll get so much further and just be like, Have you done this? Show me? Exactly. It’s just but that’s my nature as a person, as well. But hopefully, it appears it is working. So yeah, hopefully,
Pei Mun Lim 32:44
especially if you’re growing, you know, your testament is the fact that your company is growing, you know, despite the movement. Yeah. Print trending upwards in terms of the size.
Liz Rhodes 32:54
Yeah, and, and projects like we we do tiny projects, massive projects, you know, probably like yourself, you see, like all sorts of people who have no exposure to tech people who are like, Oh, I’ve just been like, given this to sort out, can you help me to the person who like I just code in my spare time. And like, I say this to our team, our job isn’t to implement our job is to console Our job is to, you know, we’re not just technical, we’re there to guide them, we’re there to get the best experience. And that’s like taking all the experiences across the that were on 270 projects or something like that. And taking all that and remember that we did for them? Or do you remember that character we had in that like internally, obviously, that character we had in that project and how we manage them, because then teaching them about the expectation management is equally important as the technical skill as he you know, managing your customers managing how they feel about the project is so important. So, yeah, I’ve actually just gone up I’ve gotten the question Bob off, hold again.
Pei Mun Lim 34:05
No, that’s, that’s, that’s perfectly fine. Because we were talking about leadership and culture.
Liz Rhodes 34:11
Yeah, so I’ve spent a lot of time in the last every year working with a coach actually in a group of other leaders. Jim, mainly women, there’s five women and one guy in our in our cohort, just talking about authentic leadership and how it’s okay to lead by your own values, and not ask people to and if people infringe on those values, just making sure you’ve got your boundaries in place and like, you know, dishonesty is so important me that they can trust that I will support them. And but that trust is a temporary thing. You know, all those things are so important to me. So, by admitting to myself, they’re important and by putting it on paper and going these are my core values. I’m going to work to them. It’s it’s great. I, I definitely have learned a lot from actually investing something in myself as well. And then that has kind of invested into the company and improved. Like thing have you?
Pei Mun Lim 35:16
Have you ever trusted and found that? That it didn’t work out for you?
Liz Rhodes 35:24
Yes. Yes, obviously, yeah, there’s people you’ve placed you trusted. And you believe they’re on the same page as you. But they’re not. They’ve not got the same goals. You know? I think in business, it’s hard, isn’t it? It’s hard not to become friends with people. And, and I do, like, you did they do become your friends, when you’re so small, they kind of like your family, you spend more time with them. And then so yeah, you do. And then, if you if your trust has been let down over like, it might be just over one incident, but you’re just fine. But what I have learned is that by going, actually, you’ve let me down and broke my trust. Whereas five years ago, I wouldn’t have that conversation. Because I didn’t, I didn’t like the confrontation. But now through growth, through allowing myself to grow, and and kind of just go in, it’s okay to say to somebody, you know, what, you’ve really upset me and broken my trust there. And this is why I’m not expecting you to do anything about it. But I’m just letting you know, that has affected how I feel about this situation is a massive step forward. And that’s what, again, I’m trying to kind of bring to the table that the people aren’t going to be perfect, people aren’t going to annoy you. But being alone 99% of the time, you can carry on chi, and you can just either get over it or live with it. But sometimes, you have to say you’ve actually really upset me and for these reasons, and I think it takes bravery to do that bore. People respect you for doing it. And I think they think more of you for then kind of festering away in the corner going, Oh, they broke my trust and never going to trust them again, rather just go Do you know what you recommend trust, we can either move on from it and not happen again. Or we need to make a decision about whether we carry on. So yeah, feels like it’s all about, it’s not easy. It’s actually interesting talking to you, because it’s all things that have all been going on in my head that I’m kind of articulating to me, all this is, is like it is growth, it growing a business isn’t just growing the money, not growing the financials, it’s not just growing the turnover, it’s growing everything, isn’t it. And part of that is the culture and the trust and the people. And yeah, and I realize talking to you how far we’ve come
Pei Mun Lim 37:56
sounds like you know, definitely, just just looking at your journey, how far you get to free, every leg of your journey has been massive in terms of your growth and experience in your current space. So it sounds like you know, start on the right foot by laying down foundation for a great culture. honesty, transparency, authenticity, authentic. Just being just being authentic, what have you found to be the biggest challenges of running a small practice?
Liz Rhodes 38:38
Um, people, you know, you have to adapt for everybody’s personalities, ways of working different perceptions of what is the solution? And and, and because I’m not by nature, like are you do it my way or the highway? I think I listened to people and like, take it on board. And so that takes time. And so and that is not just within the team, but it’s in projects as well, you kind of, you’ll do projects that you love, and they’re dead easy. You’ll have done this. There’s some projects you’d like this is brilliant, and everybody’s answering the right questions and everybody’s engaged. And then you’ve got the projects where it’s like, blood from a stone. It’s like you said you wanted it next week, but you were still weren’t as my email. And I think so. It’s all around the people and managing that people. And the expectation is the toughest bit because the technical parts, were skilled upon our way. That’s our job. That’s what you know, and you can if you don’t know the exact answer, you can go and learn it. But sometimes you just can’t. The people’s behavior is the tricky bit. Because you can’t guess how somebody is going to react, can you? You know, I think you’ll have to know she’ll have got into me and thinking, oh my gosh, I’ve got to deliver some really bad news. It’s going to be horrible. And then they’ve actually Oh, yeah, that’s fine. Don’t worry about it, we’ll just deal with it you’ve given come up with an answer, you’ve got a proposal for a solution. So don’t worry about it. Why do you think you’re going to get absolutely told after it? So? Yeah, I think that’s probably one of the hardest things as people. And I guess, the more people you have, the more dynamics you have losing. And the more like, kind of is that, I guess, for me, it’s that go from that intimacy of just being 345. It’s hard, you can’t, it’s just not practical. And so you’ve kind of taken a step back and step back and step back for a while trying to maintain that culture of growth and trust. So,
Pei Mun Lim 40:43
yeah, I think there’ll be a next challenge when you get to a particular tipping point size, billing companies that’s growth and grown. And I think, I think I was in this company that was growing very quickly, and was talking to the CEO as well, and how badly they wanted to keep all of the culture. And that is not possible. I think, just understanding that different people adds. But what we could keep the same is the values with the understanding the cultural shift around it, people shift the things that you’d like to do maybe you know, for a spell it or ping pong in front of a spell. It’s all scavenger hunt, and maybe finance belts, something slightly different as people come and go. But I think the I think mistake that no mistake, but you know, that wanted to hold so deeply to a, a morphus. Blob, it was just, it was just painful, I think and when things were changing, you know, you could feel your heartbreaks it, you know, we didn’t.
Liz Rhodes 41:53
I mean, it’s hard. It’s hard. It’s like your teenage children, isn’t it, you’ve got to let them grow and be a bit more independent, because you can’t be with them all the time. But actually, quite interestingly, we’ve, like about nine months ago, because we could see the growth, we sat down and wrote our company’s values and as a team, and we like, what are our core values? What are the non negotiables? What are they? And we kind of sat down and worked through that as a team. And that’s what we work to
Pei Mun Lim 42:24
share those? What are your values and your non negotiables?
Liz Rhodes 42:30
Probably the phraseology, is it well, it’s do the right thing, always do the right, that’s a cool one, that’s the biggest one we live by is like, be that to your colleagues, be that to your clients, be that to the cleaner, be that to whoever do the right thing by everybody. And that. And so that comes back to honesty, integrity, open communication. And it kind of reflects a lot of what I’ve been talking about half the difficult conversations, say the truth, you know, I’m sure you’ve done this, go to somebody why this is not the right tool for you why? And have been able to say to a customer going, I really want to it’s all shiny and dancing, you’re like, it’s not right for you. It’s yeah, and being able to say to somebody who’s going, I want to go off and do this cert, like, Okay, well, why do you want to do that, sir? Is it to get another cert? Or because you have a genuine passion? Because it will impact on your life? And in terms of time and everything? And then yeah, and just being? Yeah, doing the right thing by people day in day out, is our core value.
Pei Mun Lim 43:36
To me things I think it’s really easy to remember as well, because it’s all encompasses, yeah,
Liz Rhodes 43:41
it was a long time to kind of to get to get it in that one phrase, because there was like lots of like truth and honesty and integrity and expectation management and things like that, and being kind and but he kind of does encompass do the right thing. And he would hope that if you do the right thing, people will do the right thing by you. True in life, isn’t it?
Pei Mun Lim 44:05
I’m loving it. All to be mindful of your time. But just before we close I’m pretty blown away by your career. But if you were able to go back to your time and talk to the 15 year old you actually say what you say to her Oh, wow.
Liz Rhodes 44:29
Just go with it because go with the opportunities I’ve taken like I traveled and then that was cultural. I did the past to be going work at the Ministry of Agriculture, that that change. You know what I ended up working for the IT company. I I left there when I had my children read into that what you will and so I set on my own business Yeah, just go with it because everything is a journey, you know? Who knows where our cars gonna take us? I know, it’s a good journey for now. I don’t expect to be doing it in 20 years time, possibly, because I’ll be too old. But you know, I mean, it’s like, go with it. Enjoy it. And then,
Pei Mun Lim 45:18
yeah, so it sounds like you’ve, you know that there are no regrets. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So you’ve done everything.
Liz Rhodes 45:27
Because I wouldn’t be here. Well, I am without all those things, if I hadn’t made the mistakes if I hadn’t, you know, if I hadn’t come back from traveling, I wouldn’t have met my husband, you know, things like that. So it’s just that kind of fakes journey of my life. And like, this is how it’s meant to be and you know, and people will be on it, and people will be on it for part of the journey people on it for the whole journey. And people, you know, will go along with me, and that’s what I kind of embrace in my life. Really, it’s just like, it is a journey. And it’s not going to stop in a journey unless I stop it.
Pei Mun Lim 46:05
Exactly. You know what, I’m just gonna say something I think your LinkedIn profile just hide so much. It’s not a no, it’s so understated. And I just needed to just delve into it with you. And I’m really glad I have. So thank you very, very much for spending the time and just sharing just, you know, all the things that you’ve learned along the way. I really appreciate it.
Liz Rhodes 46:32
Thank you for listening to me talk.
Pei Mun Lim 46:35
No, thank you. Thank you. All right.