It’s a widely held belief that kids are more resilient than parents typically give them credit for. I found it a delight to watch a recent episode of You Can’t Ask That and see school kids imploring their parents to just “tell us the truth and let us get on with it”.

In a similar way, Edmund Tadros wrote a piece for the AFR this week highlighting how boutique advisory firm Seven Consulting acted on similar advice and invited their staff to come together and vote on a range of measures to help the company survive the pandemic related downturn. The engagement and results were both significant with the key headline being that “staff were much more amenable to cuts to total remuneration than they were to four-day weeks and stand-downs”

These two examples say much about the value of deep engagement with so called “subordinates”, when it comes to resetting a value-proposition. Firstly, people (staff) want to help. They want to contribute to solutions and are far more able to do so when they have the facts. Secondly, front line staff typically know more about the inner workings of a business than management give them credit for.

Businesses requiring an urgent pivot of their value-proposition to adapt to changed trading conditions can make immediate use of these insights. Here’s one way to do so:

  1. Write down the essential issues being faced by your business
  2. Use numbers and facts to express the truth in the most concise manner possible
  3. Then use the same approach to represent what success needs to look like and by when. This may be as simple as saying “we need 20 new customers each week who spend at least $100 per fortnight by the start of next month”
  4. Now hand it over to staff, accompanied by a verbal briefing, and invite their help

Staff, like kids, are generally more resilient than management give them credit for. I’m routinely enthralled by what happens within a business when employees are “told the truth and left to get on with it”.


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