Case Studies – Joanne Wilson (FTG)

Joanne Wilson, MD of Fill the Gap Marketing, on
life as a BOB

What was the reason you decided that Band of Bosses® was right for you?

Basically because I knew Hil, I knew that Band of Bosses® would be able to add value to my business. Initially it was that, because I’d not met the other Band of Bosses® members (BOBs) at that point. So really, the trust was with Hil to start with.

What sort of value did you think being a BOB might have given your business, then?

I suppose, it’s always useful to have a second point of view. I’m a business where there are, currently five employees, but you still have serious decisions to make, and sometimes you need someone to discuss those with. Somebody who is going to perhaps offer you an alternative solution, and I knew that was something that Hil was very good at. Hil is really good at looking at the other side of the coin, or playing devil’s advocate, for example, or just seeing things from a totally different point of view that you’ve never thought of before, which can sometimes be amazing. So it’s always good to be able to tap into that.

And I hoped that, together with the other BOBs, we’d be a team. I hoped that I could learn from other people in other industries and they could learn from me too. I think that’s really interesting to do that. And obviously, it has turned out that that has been the case. It’s been incredible.

So that hope was fulfilled, then?

Definitely, a hundred percent. In fact, more so! The relationships that I’ve built up amongst the BOBs speaks volumes. We all trust each other, and we all know, I believe, that if we need to pick up the phone with an SOS, any one of us would help any of the others out. I trust them all and I value all of their advice and that’s been grown and nurtured by Hil.

“These are proper business people that you trust and you know will tell you the truth. That’s really valuable.”

What would you say it’s like, working with Hil?

Creative is the first word that comes to mind. I’m very much a process planner. So, I really value Hil’s sort flare and looking at things from a different point of view. But at the same time, Hil has experience and the depth of knowledge around leadership and people. So whilst Hil has got that really good creative flair, it’s also based on and grounded in business acumen.

I really value that Hil has a different ‘lens’.

Whilst Hil and I are very compatible, in the fact that we can work together, we come at things from different directions. I think that’s just a really positive thing to have in your business, whether it’s a problem or just something you’re talking about, but you look at things quite differently.

What do you get from Hil and the other BOBs?

I also think reassurance is a big plus. Reassurance and comfort are things that a lot of business owners don’t necessarily have. Hil, and all the BOBs really, provide that reassurance and comfort without being all cute and cuddly about it. So, if you’ve got an idea and it’s ridiculously stupid, Hil or the BOBs would say, “That’s ridiculously stupid. Why are you doing that?” or, “Why aren’t you doing that?” But at the same time, it’s a reassuring presence, that you’ve got Hil and other successful business people, interested in you and reassuring you. So, if all of us think something’s probably a good, then it, very mostly likely is a good idea. Hil and the BOBs give you a really honest sounding board. I think there’s lots of business owners that don’t have the unbiased support. These are proper business people that you trust and you know will tell you the truth. That’s really valuable.

The other word is probably confidence. Being with Hil and the BOBs gives me confidence. I think I gain confidence from the fact that I can help other people. I love the fact that I can help other people in the meetings.

“A really great thing about BOB is that there’s a mixed bag of different businesses.”

Can you share a specific example of the BOBs assisting you to a new solution?

My biggest example was when my right-hand man handed in his notice. The very day of a BOB meeting, a member of the team handed his notice in, and as a small team, this was massive. Tom had relationships with my clients, and I was about to go into a tail spin.

I was ringing Hil to say I couldn’t make it because I was in a tailspin. And Hil said, “No, just come for an hour or so. This one of the exact times when you need to be with the BOBs.” So, I came and, straight away, Hil went into the Solution Circle session for me. I’m going to say it again… It was reassuring. I keep using that word, but actually I don’t think I would have pulled out of that tail spin so quickly without it. Three of the BOBs said, “Oh yeah, we get it. We’ve been through it. We’ve got out the other side. Don’t panic. These things happen,” etc.

Just knowing that other people had been through the same and survived was just great. But also, sharing how they went about it meant I ultimately I left that meeting cool, calm and collected, compared to how it went in. I left with a plan!

It was so good that Hil was flexible and went off the agenda to put my big challenge front and centre. Everyone followed Hil’s lead and pulled together when I needed it most.

Having had that support from the BOBs, me and my business came out of the situation stronger. I came out of that meeting an hour later with a plan, whereas, I think if I’d have just sat on my own, I’d have still been in the whole panic mode for a lot longer. And mentally, it helped me a lot too; in terms of my resilience.

What would you say to someone thinking of becoming a BOB member?

I’d say join. A hundred percent. A really great thing about BOB is that there’s a mixed bag of different businesses. Because whilst we’re all in different industries, we are all in business. So, although problems might present themselves slightly differently, what you can learn across industries is really valuable.