In conversation with Wayne Sime - Episode 1 - Inspiring the Next CMO podcast
Updated: May 4, 2022
What good is an idea if it can't be shared? Our company was founded to foster collaboration and share ideas. The more you share your ideas, the more impact they have on the world around you. We provide resources to inspire progression in the community. As marketers, we are stronger and better together. We've relaunched our Behind the Fluff podcast and are bringing you our FIRST EVER podcast for the Inspiring the Next CMO series.
Join me in a conversation with Wayne Sime, an industry chief executive. It's certainly full of laughs, Wayne talks about how he went up the ranks from starting in IT to libraries to then a professional member body, Captain Sir Tom Moore, his love of Terry Pratchett, key takeaways and even a history lesson about Henry VIII! Discover helpful insights to help you progress your career. Links from the session (Amazon affiliate links may be used below).
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Louise: Welcome everybody. This is the first-ever podcast that we're having for Behind the Fluff, our new podcast, and we've got this absolutely brand new series, which is called ‘Inspiring the Next CMO’. I am absolutely delighted to have Wayne Sime with me. Wayne is a chief executive in the industry and I've known Wayne for several years now and he's absolutely brilliant. So hello, Wayne.
Wayne: Hi, Lou. Nice to be here.
Louise: Thanks so much for taking the time to join us. We're now going to run through a series of questions and you're going to answer those, and hopefully people will be able to have some nice takeaway advice but also get to know you better. Shall we begin?
Wayne: That sounds good to me.
Louise: Great. The first thing that I'm actually going to ask you is a couple of icebreaker questions. And the first one is: we have a campaign where we send out every day, a word of the day, and it's under the hashtag, #intbunchwordoftheday. Now, my question to you - the first one ever - is what is your word of today and what does it mean? What is your favourite word?
Wayne: My favourite word out of what you've been sending out was ‘gadabout.’ I just think after lockdown, I'm hoping we're all going to be like social butterflies. I'm going to flit from one social event and activity to another, so I chose gadabout about because I think that's something we will all want to do. And who knows? After we've been gadding about for, I don't know, probably a month, we might think, ‘Oh, I wish I could be sitting, back in front of the TV, watching box sets.’ Who knows?
Louise: Netflix, or any other streaming service out there. Absolutely. I miss social networking face to face so much. I can’t wait. Brilliant, okay.
What's the best thing that you have discovered in the last year?
Wayne: I do like walks, I have to say, and we have a dog, Tallie. 15 minutes’ walk from my front door there's a wood called Martin's Wood, and we discovered the bluebells there. It was magical and charming and it took me back to my childhood. It was just simply as far as the eye could see, it was completely covered in bluebells. So I think that was the best thing I discovered during lockdown.
Louise: That’s so lovely. They don't last very long do they?
Wayne: They don't. We did take pictures on the cameras and stuff. It was just when we were shut in during that first lockdown period and life was a bit pants, wasn't it really?
Louise: For those who are in the US, thinking why are we saying the word ‘pants’, it is a very UK-centric saying, and of course, pants in the US is trousers, whereas pants in the UK is knickers or underpants.
Wayne: Let’s keep with the American understanding; trousers sounds much better.
Louise: It does. So, who inspires you?
Wayne: Well, I think people at different points in your life. I think you can take inspiration from a variety of people and I would say, over the last year, it was Captain Sir Tom Moore. Wasn't it just really inspiring? And I think the fact that you had that service from the second world war and his age, so yes, that was the person who really inspired me recently, but as I said, you get inspiration from many different people over your lifetime, but that's the most recent.
Louise: Absolutely. And that's the way that you keep on learning as well and progressing. What an incredible man he was and many other people who are of similar age to him, he also inspired to do similar things. So if you haven't heard of Sir Tom Moore, he was a very well-loved man in the UK who had his 100th birthday and he wanted a challenge before his 100th birthday, which was to do 100 laps of his garden.
Wayne: It was and he raised over £32 million, which is amazing, for the NHS - for the National Health Service here in the UK.
Louise: It was incredible, and then, unfortunately, not very long ago he passed away from pneumonia and COVID, so a bit of a sting in the tail, but yes, what an incredible man. Even my 3 year old knows who he is and that he passed away and I hope she'll always remember him. I love that. So, when you were young,
Wayne: Yes, all that time ago.
Louise: Yes, for us all. I've got visions in my head now of you in some kind of little outfit. So what did you want to be? I'm thinking of Superman or something.
Wayne: When I was younger, I actually wanted to be an explorer. I remember seeing all these images and the map of the world and images in books of far-flung places, and I just thought it'd be great to go and explore. So when I was very young I just wanted to explore. It wasn't like I wanted to climb Mount Everest or anything like that, I just wanted to go and explore the world. That's how I’d put it, it wasn't like I wanted to go to Antarctica or anything like that.
Louise: Well who knows where your adventures would take you, Wayne? They could’ve taken you anywhere.
Wayne: I was fortunate that when I was a teenager that we did a youth exchange, North Hampshire Association Youth Clubs did an exchange with Hong Kong Federation of Youth Clubs. And yes, I went to Hong Kong and that's where I met my future wife. What can I say? So there you go.
Louise: it was meant to happen – fate. I was thinking about your wife this morning about when I first met her at the ALPSP conference dinner, and what a lovely, lovely person she is.
If you were to have dinner tonight with anyone in the world, whether they are alive or dead, from any time, who would it be?
Wayne: If I was alive or dead, I think I would choose, and this will sound a bit random, but I would actually choose a Tudor monarch, preferably Henry VIII before he had his riding accident when he was stable and not a despot and a tyrant. I love that period of history; I think it's because at that time it was England, Wales and Ireland, but they had the vision of how they wanted their country to be. I mean, it was really insignificant little islands off the north of France that weren’t really a major powerhouse. I just think that the values that we have actually today could stem back to that particular period of time, whether you like them or not. Henry VIII had his first Brexit - what can we say?
Louise: They did a lot more than Brexit!
Wayne: They did a lot more than Brexit with his break from Rome, etc. I think that would be quite a mentally stimulating evening.
Louise: There would certainly be a lot of food.
Wayne: A lot of food. And I was just like to get behind what made them tick. They had obviously just came out of a 100 Years Civil War, so I imagine that would have coloured their judgment about how they wanted to unite the country and move forward, but I think that would be quite an interesting evening. That's who I would choose.
Louise: Fantastic. I love that. I was not very good at paying attention at school so I did not know that he had a riding accident. So I'm actually going to look that up because now I'm older, educationally I'm a lot better. I've done a lot more for myself than when I was younger and I didn't want to go to school.
Wayne: I won't give too much of a spoiler, but basically, during the first part of his reign he was very sane, very statesman-like, and all that kind of thing, then he had a terrible riding accident and his leg never healed, then he became a dictator and a despot basically. It’s like a monarch of two halves, do read up about it.
Louise: Definitely. It sounds fascinating.
Wayne: I always loved history at school.
Louise: I just loved going out.
Wayne: You probably had more fun though.
Louise: I did have a lot of fun, but then I got sent back to England from Malta to have an education. There are consequences.
Okay, so tell me about your career and how you got to where you are today being CEO.
Wayne: Well, I actually started work in the late 80s. I began actually as a trainee computer operator, and initially, back in the 80s, for those who can remember that far. Before we went into COVID, I was at a conference and we were having discussions in small groups and this lady asked me, did I remember the 90s? I mean, it made me feel like 110! Do you remember the ‘90s? As if that was like the last century. Anyway, I digress, but yes I started there, and at that time, I know it's hard to imagine but IT was really cutting edge, really exciting. It's where all the cool kids wanted to hang out, so, yes, so I was very much drawn to that area. I was very fortunate because, I remember at the time I found out that there were 300 applicants for that one job. And when we went to the final interview, there were three of us and one of them had a HND in computer studies and then another one had 3 years’ experience and there was me; this was my first job, I had no experience at all, and I got it.
After I was made permanent and I’d got my feet under the table, I remember asking the Computer Operations Manager, why did you pick me? He made two points: his first one was to say he didn't want somebody telling him how to do the work. He wanted to tell them how to do it, which I thought was an interesting take on management. The second point was that as things were evolving, that the computer operations, the computer staff and the technology staff had to integrate more with the business, and when you looked at the people employed in IT, they didn't really have very good communications ability. And so he said, I wanted somebody who didn't know anything about IT and I wanted somebody who was a really good communicator, so that's why you got the job. That always stuck with me, right from the beginning. So yes, I think having good communication.
Louise: Yes, and his management style stuck with you.
Wayne: Indeed. You have to have a bright light, but just don't burn too brightly as it might upset others, but basically I was then promoted. You had Trainee Operator, Computer Operator, Advanced Operator, and I just went up through the ranks. Then they had a big reorganization within the company and it was moving about 100 miles away, so they were amalgamating things. An opportunity came up for a Senior Archivist for a disaster recovery site, but they also wanted to centralize their archive and create an information service. They had 132 constituent building societies and they wanted to bring them together, and they did have qualified archivists and information professionals, but they hadn't got anybody with technical skills. And because this was now the ‘90s they really wanted somebody who could oversee that and really bring that into, the words that they would say, the 20th century. They advertised at the time through Library Association and they used all their normal channels and they couldn't find somebody with the technical skills to head up this service.
So I applied and I got the job and I remember when I contacted the Library Association, the woman at the end of the phone was horrified that I was in a professional post and yet I wasn't qualified. ‘What do you mean you're heading up one of the world's largest building societies information service and you're not qualified?’ Anyway, that's another story. I said that, actually, I'm interested in qualifying and I really like people in the information and technology side, so I did then do my qualifications through Aberystwyth University distance learning, and become a proper qualified librarian. What can I say?
Louise: That makes me very proud, as current Chair of CILIP Cymru Wales Committee and living in Wales and the company The International Bunch is Welsh, I am very proud that you went to Aberystwyth.
Wayne: Obviously, not so proud of the Library Association at the time, the predecessor was not so enamoured with her: ‘How dare you get that post?’ Anyway, that was the ‘90s, things have moved on now. But I have very fond memories of Aberystwyth, I will say that. It was a great place, I had a lot of fun and learned a lot.
Louise: I went there a couple of years ago to the University to go and see the library team there and it's a part of Wales, as I'm down south in Wales, I don't really go up north, or just because my work doesn't take me that way, but we are going to go there on holiday because it's really lovely. Aberystwyth itself is a beautiful coastal town. The buildings there are much better than they are here in Swansea.
Wayne: I would definitely highly recommend it. Basically, that's what I was doing. I was doing a qualification and then I worked on some really good projects as well. And I have to say, the good thing about working for a large financial institution was the training opportunities. They put on an awful lot of, especially when you've got on your first manager's position, there was an awful lot of training. I remember the time they had these things called TODY courses: Technology Operations Develops You, and then you had all these kind of weeks courses and then you’d go back out across the business and so it was a very good learning experience.
I think things were changing a lot in finance, I'm not saying you can see the crash coming but there was a difference then in that there was very much a push towards sales, and I'm not saying that there was a problem with that but I think there was also a lack of oversight. I think that was the same across the majority of financial institutions. It was more pushed to fail and there wasn't that kind of how it is now because things have changed again. I really wanted to do something a bit more meaningful. I came to that point where I'd done the IT, I’d found what I was doing and it was having satisfaction. I wanted to progress, reach my potential and move up through the management lines, but I also wanted to do something more meaningful. So this opportunity came up in the NHS. They wanted a knowledge library manager to run 2 medical libraries, 3 community resource rooms across Northamptonshire, and I thought, that sounds interesting. So I applied, and yet again, it was interesting. I think having the IT background and having worked in the major financial institutions, I was bringing something and I was a qualified librarian by then and also chartered. So yes, I was the proper package as it were.
So I got that and working in the NHS, this was in the 2000’s, and there was a lot of investment happening in the public sector at that time. I found, and I don’t think this is just peculiar towards the NHS, but there were so many of these big projects happening, and I was very much about that fact that I'd like to get involved with that. For example, they had, for the area I’m working in Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland community health authority, they didn't actually have an overall library lead. So I said, well I can do that. I was happy to work across the areas. I'm happy to go and represent us in London and those kind of things. Then, for example, they had the agenda for change project which was the largest project looking at banding staff, and yet again, they wanted somebody from the management side to do that. I was very happy to get involved, obviously, doing the day job as well, but there were a lot of opportunities to get involved with some big projects and I think that really helped to equip you for the next stage. I mean, overseeing a brand new library build, combining two libraries together, a massive new education centre: The Prince William Education Centre we launched, so there's some really big projects as well.
This gave me, and I supposed this is the business we're getting to, is the fact that when those opportunities come, you want to explore them, and to put yourself out there. And it wasn't just the learning, I generally wanted to do it as well. They were good project to get involved with. I was genuinely interested and wanted to move that that way.
I introduced into the NHS, the eresources, which now people just take for granted. But at the time it was told it was too difficult. They were too many technical reasons, publishers are really difficult to deal with: I was being told all this kind of stuff. And trying to get the right licences and that kind of stuff. They had got some kind of CD ROMs and that type of thing in place.
Louise: CD ROMs – Wow.
Wayne: But to actually have a network of resources onsite, to actually get remote access resources, that's what you needed. So I did manage to introduce that and then we worked on a project with Trent, South Yorkshire and Rutland for the National Electronic Library for Health. That's where it started to gain momentum. I worked there to about 2006 and then a director's position came up at the Royal Society for Medicine, and it was basically, we'd like you to do what you've done there, come and do it for us - that kind of scenario. And I went to work there at a director position, yet again, very good experience of getting a charity director sitting on the board, being responsible for a budget of £1.5 million, etc. Then yes, here I am as Chief Executive of ALPSP.
Louise: There are some really important takeaways from that, and like you said, it's about exploring the opportunities that you have, but also it's about, what you've demonstrated is how you've got involved and proactively got involved in certain projects, like stretch projects in a way, that have enabled you to have those opportunities and that's really important. Also, you started off in IT, then you went on to information professionalism and then found that that was an area that you really liked then how you who grow into that area. And now of course - once a librarian always a librarian, now being CEO of ALPSP, which is a membership body for learned publishers and society publishers, that's a really interesting place for you to be sitting and I think that's a very valuable place for someone with your background and your expertise to be sitting from a librarian perspective and to be helping publishers for example and societies.
Wayne: Very much so. Yes, I have first-hand knowledge of what that's like, and as I always say at ALPSP: we are the good guys in publishing, we are the non-for-profit ones that are helping the learned societies, the university presses, to get that good-quality content out. And obviously, the threats from Google, Facebook and all the social media; they have their advantages but also, we want to make sure they've got the quality. I suppose. It's the quality. Definitely.
Louise: Absolutely. In terms of what you spoke about, what have you been most proud of?
Wayne: I can honestly say that in each job there was something, there was a really good project to be involved with, but I think because it had more of a knock-on effect because it was transformative, I would actually say introducing electronic resources into the NHS was, even at a local level, that was a trigger for other involvements. When people could see that it is possible, obviously, that opened up. So that probably had the biggest impact.
Again, going back in time, I remember in 2012 it was the Olympics, and one of the things I had to do when I was Director of Library Services, we had a student medical student day. We had Parveen Kumar, who was President of the Royal Society of Medicine and also had previously been the President of the BMA (British Medical Association). If you don't know, she wrote Clinical Medicine, which is like the New Testament of medicine. She was there, so of course, there were masses of medical students all around. I remember at the time I was telling them about the services we offer and stuff like this, and then pointing out about the databases, at that point MEDLINE only went back to 1948, that was as far as that went and then you had to use Index Medicus, you had to point them to these bound volumes. I remember that they were absolutely horrified by the fact that this person had to look at these books. I think he was conducting research in the 1930s, and he couldn't believe that eresources only been in the NHS for about 10 years. And it was like, well, what did they do before? Well, they had paper journals and papers books.
Going back to the IT side, it's amazing how developments happen and then it becomes part of everyday life. You just can't imagine life before.
Louise: What were they called, those printers? I remember the printers when I was early on in school.
Wayne: The doc matrix?
Louise: Yes, those. I remember that. My brother was at boarding school in a different area to me because my parents are divorced and I remember him sending me a message, and printing it. It was like a typewriter. Technology has gone on so quickly. It's absolutely insane. And actually, what I love is that when, for example publishers like Bloomsbury, when they work with private collectors who have their own library collections, and they digitize that content. I remember talking to them a few years ago about a project that they were doing, a digitization of some medical books that were from the Middle East I think, and how advanced those were from the Middle East compared to where we were on the western side. The content that they were digitizing was absolutely amazing, incredible, and to now be able to have access to that kind of content, and as time goes on, more things are digitized and we can access more things from our computers or a mobile device, it is incredible.
So, what is your ultimate career goal then Wayne?
Wayne: This is going to sound a bit twee, but I would say it was fulfilment. I think the driver within me has always been that inner explorer where you want to go out and explore the world but also, yourself and to reach your full potential. One of the pieces of advice I was given early on by the person who mentored me during my chartership, she'd become the Principal Librarian of Public Libraries in Northamptonshire, and she at that time was in her mid-30s, but she was trying to actually get out of public libraries, still wanted to be in libraries but in a different sector, but she was finding it really difficult. Basically, she said, whichever sector you work in make sure you enjoy what you do because you might find that it's not always possible, depending on the opportunity, even though you've progressed up in the chain, it's important to get the breadth of experience. So I think I do take that on board. That's why whenever I have chosen the kind of area to work in, I've always thought, is this something that you could stay in? Obviously you want to explore and there could be other knock-on opportunities, but I always remember that particular piece of advice, and yes, to be fulfilled. I'm still exploring. That's how I put it.
Louise: You are still the explorer that you wanted to be when you were young hey? If you weren't CEO for ALPSP at the moment and money was absolutely no object, like you had won the lottery, what would you be?
Wayne: Well, at the moment I am actually involved with a number of community projects. I have to say that if money was no object I’d probably devote more time to those. I have been involved with our local church. There's a homeless charity that I’m involved with. I do like social projects really and I think it's where you can see that making a difference. When retirement comes, many moons from now, I suppose that's what I would do. You still want that mental stimulation and that challenge?
Louise: Like you say when you're talking about fulfilment, that's usually fulfilling because just a little bit of volunteer work has actually a huge amount of impact and someone can take a lot of benefit from that. So that's very important. I love doing volunteering myself. And sometimes I find that I will end up committing myself to too much and then my actual work needs to get done as well, got to earn money.
Wayne: Yes, I like have the clear difference between your professional activities. And therefore, the volunteer work I'm doing is very separate. Obviously, you can get involved with panels and working groups. It's great that you're leading CILIP in Wales and there's all kind of professional things you can do, which is really good. But I know what you mean; you don't want it to feel too much like work-work.
Louise: Yes, and also, it's so easy to say yes to things as well, but then we only have so many hours in the day, right?
Wayne: We do indeed.
Louise: We also have the whole of our lives to be able to do lots of different things.
What are you reading at the moment? Now, I will say to everyone that we do have a normal question here, which talks about what are the three most inspiring professional books that you've ever read, but Wayne and I were chatting about this, and actually, we were chatting that it's not just about books anymore. The content that you can digest in various different ways isn't so much about books, it may be video channels, blogs and journals and everything really. There are lots of amazing sources, so actually, what are you reading at the moment?
Wayne: What I'm reading at the moment, if you really wants to know, I've got it here: It’s Terry Pratchett. One of his Discworld novels called Night Watch. For those of you who don't know, Terry Pratchett wrote this whole series, this is actually I think, number 27 in the series and there's more still to go. I have actually read all of them. I think I love every one of them, all apart from Eric. I wouldn’t recommend anybody reading Eric, he obviously had a bad day, but all the other books are amazing.
Louise: Authors are allowed a bad day.
Wayne: They are allowed a bad day. I must admit I did the worst thing you can possibly do to a book and I actually forgot I was reading it because I have a little reading pile next to the bed and I put it down on my wife's desk, just in her letter rack as it is a thin book. I genuinely forgot I was reading it. I just picked at the next book and I was merrily reading away, then my wife pointed out, ‘what's this’? I was more excited to find my bookmark than the book to be honest, but I did complete it. But I absolutely love the Discworld novel series so I can highly recommend it.
That's what I'm reading at the moment, but professionally when we talked about it, because yet again, I have started a new University course, so I will do some more reading of professional books.
Louise: You’re going to have to.
Wayne: I will have to because, as we said, probably the last time I was reading professional books was back in the ‘90s because you're quite right: you read journals, blogs, watching videos, the whole way in which we're learning is very different now and there's so much information out there.
There is one YouTube video I would highly recommend everybody to read. It's only six and a half minutes and it's an open letter to educators. It was done by Dan Brown in 2010, but not the Dan brown, this is another Dan Brown.
Louise: Don’t worry we’ll add the link
He is challenging educators by saying that because we have now all this information out there on the internet, and the way in which we are learning and assimilating information, yet really education hasn't changed. If you watch it, bear in mind, this is 11 years on since he did the video, but it's staggering to see that we still haven't really evolved. So I do recommend that one.
The thing that brings us up to this year, and in January 2021, I would highly recommend that people read Dr. Nancy Roberts’s blog that she put on the ALPSP site. What does good look like when it comes to diversity and inclusion? That is a really good one.
As I said, podcasts: it is the way in which we are learning. I probably read about 40 books a year and I am reading the journals, I am absorbing information, but it's not so much from professional books anymore, unless you've got a particular need like you're studying a course or you're taking something, then you would read those particular books, but I think it's just the way in which things have changed, wouldn’t you say?
Louise: Yes, it also depends on what you're wanting to do. You are an adventurer and I think that you're reading these books because you enjoy reading. I don't read because I don't get time to read but I do listen to audio books or I listen to podcasts. With podcasts, I'm generally going to be listening to something like French and Saunders Titting About because I like that.
I listen to professional books when I go running sometimes or I listen to books that will just completely take my mind away from the fact that I'm running and my mind's going: walk, walk, walk, walk! That's the only time I do it and also, because I get to do two things at once and I like to be multitasking because then I feel like it's a worthwhile use of my time.
I listened to a book the other day that my business mentor had recommended. I think it was called, Who Moved My Cheese? It's a very short book but it's actually a story about some mice and that they go in these tunnels, they find this cheese and then they stay there with this cheese because they found their cheese and they get quite complacent. Then there are these other mice who find cheese, but then go off and find other cheese so they're always looking and the story goes on through. It's a very interesting way of thinking and it makes you think about if you do stay in the same position doing the same thing and you don't ever change, you don't ever move, you don't progress or learn and what happens to you. That was a really good one.
I just think it Wayne it depends on what you actually want to achieve. Like for you and I, as we get older, some things become more valuable and time certainly becomes more valuable, and you want to spend that precious time doing things that you really enjoy.
Wayne: I do like reading, I have to say, I probably read about 40 books a year, which is probably less than I used to read to be fair. But I think there is something about just having that time and just getting lost in a book. But I know what you mean: you need to have the time and it is what you derive pleasure from. But again, as we always keep saying before we had lockdown or COVID, I was at a seminar about the future of the book. There was a lady there and she asked a question, and I remember thinking at the time, I always love it when somebody says something that never enters your head. She must have be in her 20s, and she said, ‘of all the books I've read I've never come across a character or a person that reflected or represented me, or that I could identify with’. I was on the train home thinking about this and I thought, well, I've probably read about 1,500 books and I've never come across a character or a person that I completely identify with, but I thought, that's fine. I think it depends on how you see things. I don't see books as mirrors reflecting back at me. I always see books as transporting me into somebody else's world or their experience, and I think you have to want that desire to be transported. I suppose that is how I would put it.
Louise: There are bits and pieces that you can take from what you're reading and it will resonate, but we're so unique as individuals and we have such unique experiences. We may have the same conversation with the same person but we will have a different interaction. You can never replicate the same things that someone does. It’s like when you go into an interview and they'd say, why should we hire you? Or tell me something unique about you? Well, I am unique, what can I tell you? What can I bring to the table? It is definitely not what anyone else could bring to the table because I'm unique. So yes, it's a really interesting perspective.
I've got a couple more questions before we finish the podcast. If you could travel back in time - because I like to throw these random question in – if you could travel back in time, what would you tell your early career self? And I'd be interested to know which part of your career you're going to be talking to.
Wayne: I think if I was right at the beginning, I would say, for going for the first job, it's going to be all right. I think I would offer reassurance because I think it is anxious at the start. As you go through life, when you're changing roles as I did, or you're changing employers, once you've done those changes you realize that it's alright. I suppose it is going back to your book about the cheese. Although I haven't read it, but if you get used to one level of environment you probably do you get Stockholm syndrome as you feel you can never leave the employer because you don’t know what is on the other side.
I think at the beginning, you obviously think, is this the right thing? I do always think very long and hard before applying for any of the posts. I would just offer that reassurance: yes, it will be fine. And if it doesn't work out, well, go and get another job. Do you know what I mean? I would offer that kind of reassurance to my early self, yes, it will be fine and enjoy the moment.
Louise: That is good because that won't change the trajectory of your career or what you've done. There won’t be a butterfly effect.
Wayne: No, there wouldn't. At the time, I think when people say to you, do you have any regrets? I think, well, no, not really because you're making the best sort of decision at the time. I have been able to explore different, even though it's always been with information, I have been exploring different boundaries and you are able to move.
Louise: Rather than regrets, because fate is fate and you can't change anything in the past. I can't jump in that time machine, so actually, it's more about taking the lessons learned from the things that you've done that actually didn't go the way that you wanted them to and making them better next time so that you don't do the same thing again that didn't have the outcome that you wanted. I'm trying not to say the word ‘mistakes’ because I do remember saying mistakes in a conversation to my business mentor and he told me about not saying the word mistake. So I have to waffle and get around that word. Just for context.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?
Wayne: The best piece of advice? I would go back to my Nationwide Anglia days, to Ray Pinnock who was the Assistant General Manager of Personnel. They didn't have Director of HR, that was as high as you can get in that particular time. When you first came into management, he did a kind of pep talk for you, and he gave three pieces of advice, again this was back in the ‘90s, and he said: when you're in management there are three things you must always do. The first thing is stay within budget. The second thing is to never look at what a person says they can do, always look at what they can do. The third piece of advice was, never believe your own hype. I have to say, I think that's timeless. It is like gold dust. That's what he said back in about ‘93 or ’92, somewhere in that time in the 90s, and I always thought that was timeless pieces of advice. So that's what I did. That's what I would share.
Louise: Brilliant. I love that. To conclude, my last couple of questions to you, Wayne, would be what do you miss the most since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wayne: I think meeting up with family and friends. I think that would be really nice. I think we're going to have lots of parties, lots of barbecues.
Louise: The first conference that we're going to, we're not just going out. And for those that have watched Micky Flanagan, and if you haven't, you have to look him up on a video channel, and it's the joke that he does – he is a comedian is about ‘out-out’. It's not about just going out. It's about going out-out. It is definitely going to be messy.
Wayne: Yes, we are definitely going to be gadding about. That's what is going to be happening.
Louise: I loved that you looked at our words that we do for reference because there are some crackers in there. Yasmin does a brilliant job. I see some every now and again, I'm like, oh hello. I like that one. My favourite, which people laugh at me for, is when you have the dregs at the bottom of your cup or leftover food on a plate – tittynope - that's what that is. So I've got some tittynope in my cup.
Wayne: I'm very pleased for you Lou!
Louise: Thanks. Is there anything that you want to ask me before we end this podcast?
Wayne: I think it would be good for you to share: what's the best piece of advice that you've been given or that you would give to somebody now working in marketing?
Louise: You have to turn the questions around on me! OK, so my best piece of advice would be: be bold, be brave, stop doing what is not working and you can always restart doing if you want to, so it's about having an agile mindset and absolutely look at your return on investment. Always measure and test what you're doing and that's when it comes in to stop doing what doesn't work because it's just pointless. I think my last bit that I would summarize with is that when I speak to marketeers sometimes, and I'll say, ‘were you proud of that work that you did?’ if we're doing an evaluation or a summary of their output, and they're like, ‘no not really’, and I'm like, you know, be proud of the marketing that you do because then that's going to really show and demonstrate.