Maverick Thinking

Transforming Minds: Investing in people

13 April 2021
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Written by

Adam Tuckwell

In the second episode of Season 2 of the Transforming Minds Podcast, Mobas' Founder Robin Bryant speaks to Cate Murden, Founder of Push, a leading wellbeing and performance company. 

Under Cate's stewardship, Push help fast-growing companies unlock their human potential to achieve peak performance. In a wide-ranging discussion, we hear how Cate's lived experience shapes her approach to staff wellbeing and how companies can and should behave to get the best out of their team while supporting and nourishing them as best as they can. Cate is exceptionally open and honest when she speaks, and this interview is overflowing with insight and advice for leaders.

Full audio transcript

Robin:

Hello Cate.

Cate Murden:

Hi Robin, how are you?

Robin:

I'm very well thank you, you?

Cate Murden:

I'm all right. I've got to be honest, I'm a little bit [tiredy pops 00:00:48] today, it's been quite the week.

Robin:

What's got you, what's got to you?

Cate Murden:

It's been interesting because at the moment as you can imagine, our staff is pretty crazy.

Robin:

Yeah.

Cate Murden:

As one of our coaches so beautifully puts it, "COVID democratized mental health."

Robin:

Yeah, yeah

Cate Murden:

I suppose, and in particular at the moment, slightly less so now because we've got a bit of a date of coming out of this but January in particular was just insane. I'm likening it a little bit to last year with BLM, that was a moment where people were ready to talk about DE&I, and actually I think that we're going through something similar right now, not that we haven't all the way through but it feels more right now.

Cate Murden:

PUSH has been going now just over six years which still slightly blows my mind, given I had this lovely idea in the first place. When PUSH was first... The first idea for it, it was always about helping people live and work better. So to cut a very long and boring story short, I worked in advertising for the best part of 20 years, as I like to call them, 16 long and drunken years and absolutely loved [crosstalk 00:02:02]-

Robin:

[crosstalk 00:02:02].

Cate Murden:

I created a career on a hang over. Loved everything about it but the work and the play, it was very much my purpose then.

Cate Murden:

That was my purpose then, very much, I loved that world but then towards the end of it, loved it a bit less and as I said, I ended up being signed off with stress but what was at the heart of that certainly wasn't looking after my wellbeing in any way, shape or form. Certainly didn't really understand my mind but I think the biggest thing actually was that I think that whereas previously mine and media's values have been really, really aligned, they'd massively changed. I changed a bit, media changed a bit and there was no longer that alignment there. And I just had this ongoing feeling of just really feeling like I was existing, nothing really bad, nothing really good, just existing. That then topped up with certainly not looking after my wellbeing and crisis hit and my mum had cancer which fortunately she made a full recovery from, but I just didn't have the reserves or resilience to be able to deal with it and then obviously I ended up being signed off.

Cate Murden:

And then I was off for three months and I knew I could go back but it certainly didn't feel right and that was the point when I just started looking around me and I was like, "God this is happening to more and more people. I just really want to do something about it," and I really felt like there had to be a different way and this is where the idea for PUSH started being initiated and again, to cut a long story short initially it was a retreat and so the idea was is that people would come to the retreat, a broken executive like I had been and then we'd give them all of these new life skills. So initially it was just coaching mindfulness and nutrition and exercise and then pop them back out into the world like shiny new pins.

Cate Murden:

I've got to be honest with you Robin, I just had this wonderful idea that I'd be wafting around the country estate, with two guard dogs at my feet and life would be incredible, it was exactly the opposite of where I'd been. And let me be honest, the reality of that was very different, harshly different and I was sending out bog off emails and refilling toilet rolls, it really wasn't the dream that I'd hoped to ever play.

Cate Murden:

And yeah, it didn't really turn out how I thought it was going to be and also it wasn't a very good use of my skills. And at that time, bear in mind this is like six years ago, one of my friends who was head of marketing at Twitter at the time said, "What would you think about coming and doing some stuff in-house?" So I was like, "Oh shit, yeah rather than getting all these people to come to me, if I want to get even more stuff out there and help even more people, let's take it to them."

Cate Murden:

And that for me, that was the initiation of PUSH, to be fair that was first bit of corporate wellness as well for me, as well really understanding it and it kind of grew from there. And I think it was a beautiful coming together of my new world of wellbeing and understanding all of that and then my old world of understanding this corporate world and bringing them-

Robin:

Yeah, the pressures that are put upon people in the senior level certainly within the advertising industry, I've been there as well and it's immense.

Robin:

And yeah, and I had the same journey where I was desperate to get out of London way of life which was simply living to work, there was no that working and living balance, it just didn't exist. It just didn't exist.

Robin:

(silence)

Robin:

I think you're absolutely right, so I do some mentoring for other CEOs and something that's quite apparent at that level is that there is a guilt that is self-applied when they what I would call, take time out to think about the business. So typically pre-COVID, I wouldn't go into the office on Fridays, and that was a time when it was head space and it was time to just stop and think and it became immensely productive.

Robin:

But initial pressure, was wow I haven't done this for 16 years, I should be feeling guilty, until you start to realize that you're absolutely more valuable to the business when you do take that time out. And it's the same, I also believe with the team, the many different levels within the business.

Cate Murden:

It is so true, and funnily enough I've had this conversation with my coach, I've got a new coach who I absolutely love. It's interesting isn't it, when you're a coach yourself actually being coached, you can always pick things up. This guy takes me to places I've not been before, and he's brilliant.

Cate Murden:

And one of the first things that was really, really interesting and I'm kind of aware of this already but he just really, really pointed it out. I was saying I was really tired, and you know this being the founder of your business, a lot of my role, it's all about my energy, right?

Cate Murden:

I'm either on business development or I'm running a workshop, or I'm presenting, it is high energy stuff, it's intense. And I got on the call with him, and I was like, "I'm exhausted," and he was like, "Cate, for the love of god, just take some time out, your energy is so..." because I talk a lot about for me, like my confidence and my congruency and my behaviors is down to my energy, right. If my energy is good then everything else is floating around it, and obviously when I'm exhausted I haven't got great energy so therefore I can't be confident and I can't be consistent and I can't be congruent. It was like, "Oh yeah."

Robin:

That's great, because that leads me on to the next question really that I want to investigate with you, which is from your brilliant experience with wellbeing and what you do. If we just take COVID and this year that we've all lived, which quite frankly has been exhausting for many reasons and like you, I live on the energy of the team, that is my fuel.

Robin:

And I've had to work out different ways of being fed that energy, but do you think in the space that you operate within, the businesses either from a large corporate perspective because obviously you do work with some fabulous brands, that they are really embracing mental health and that whole wellbeing and if so how are they doing so?

Robin:

And how do you think SMEs, so organizations from say, 50 to 200 people can embrace that thinking?

Robin:

So really, I guess the fundamental question is, how have businesses embraced wellbeing and mental health at a corporate level and what advice would you have for people that are running organizations within a smaller organization?

Cate Murden:

Okay, so let's go with the first bit first of all, how have businesses embraced it?

Cate Murden:

Okay, so I think that really, let's go back a year or so, certainly we were working with clients... No, no let's go back a little further. From the time that PUSH started, I was knocking on a lot of doors talking about this stuff and when PUSH talks about this stuff and I can only talk about it from a personal point of view, I've always been over conscious of the background that I've come from, right. So I've always talked about this stuff in a very high potential way and I've always talked about it in a very tangible and a very practical way.

Cate Murden:

So actually we've always talked about getting people to peak performance, right, it's about where we can get people rather than staying down here in the problem, hence the reason that we pooled together wellbeing, mental health, performance work as well as leadership. That's everything for me, having trained now as a coach within neuroleadership, it's about getting people into their PFC, into their prefrontal cortex, getting them thinking, feeling and doing at their very best, that is our work. So that's about elevating people.

Cate Murden:

Now over a period of time those conversations have become easier anyway, but the fact is a rising tide floats all boats, and I think that what's happened over the last year is that we've got to, sadly that crisis point where people have to do something about it.

Cate Murden:

We can get by, we can get by, we can get by, we can get by, oh fuck me, something's happened, we can't get by, we need to look after people.

Robin:

Which is dangerous, isn't it, because then it becomes a knee-jerk reaction to an immediate problem as opposed to planning for... We'll come on to it later about planning for what might happen and how it's going to happen, and what that can look like and how we can prevent it.

Cate Murden:

It's a very different conversation. Obviously there's all this talk about mental health, listen, what I'm concerned about is how we make health a strategic pillar within businesses, how we get people performing at their best.

Cate Murden:

Once you've got people down to this level, it's much bloody harder getting them back up again. So for example, when it comes to EAPs, listen EAPs, of course have got a purpose but your EAP is not a health strategy and a lot of times people will come back and say that, "Oh, we've got an EAP."

Cate Murden:

Listen, if you've got someone needing to do six hours of CBT, they're in a very bloody different position to someone who you've hop, hop with little sessions to help them have new tools and frameworks of looking at things and thinking and feeling better. You've got to take someone on a much greater journey if they're using that EAP, not that it doesn't have a value, of course it does, but it's a different purpose, right?

Robin:

Absolutely. And unless it's one of the key fundamental pillars within an organization it's just not believed yet exactly, it just gets passed around and that's wonderful.

Robin:

I'm guessing from everything that you've speaking about there in terms of wellbeing but also performance-related, and that's a perfect combination because from a business leader perspective we are always looking to maximize the performance of our business, which ultimately is our people.

Robin:

From your real life experiences, how have you taken those into coming up with this strategy and this business PUSH and really I guess, looking to get into businesses that maybe don't recognize yet that they have this need.

Cate Murden:

What does it need? Listen, I suppose the point is that for example, COVID has created a critical point, so I think a lot more people are open to those conversations. But the way that actually we start... First of all, you need an emotionally intelligent leader. You need a leader who at least has an awareness of this stuff and moreover realizes in the same way that you do that actually your people are the most important part of your business.

Cate Murden:

And I've got to be honest with you, within the industries that we work, that's pretty darn challenging, given the fact that most of the time if I think about my old industry of media, the focus is completely on client, i.e. service and product, right? So if you're focusing on service and product... And that's why I've got... And this I think is an interesting conversation, and let's go onto it later, what is going to happen with this hybrid model of working?

Cate Murden:

The fact of the matter is, is if we haven't worked out how to work collaboratively, if we haven't worked out how to create culture when we're not together, or indeed most importantly how we're going to learn if we're not together, I'll put my money on the fact that we will slowly start inching back towards the five-day a week model pretty quickly.

Robin:

We will. We will, and that's going to be incredibly interesting because I have a fundamental belief currently and I think we'll agree upon it both as employers and employees, is that currently we're living in what I would call an employer market.

Cate Murden:

[crosstalk 00:13:59].

Robin:

Of course, because people want security, they want the certainties if possible as it is out there. But the tide is going to turn, and the market will become an employees market, the talent market and organizations are going to have to work both really hard or their mind is that they're going to have to work really hard.

Robin:

Actually, looking after your people should be the easiest mindset and project in deployment into a business or that fundamental strategy that you talk about as opposed to it being seen as a big challenge because it's not. But people will be left without people, businesses will disappear, not because there isn't the flow of customer activity but because they don't have the people to deliver for their customers. It's going to be a really interesting journey and the hybrid model that we will talk about is going to be wonderful thing to watch unravel.

Cate Murden:

So listen, I think that the answers that I have for all of this then, I suppose is that it's about speaking to your people. It's about really, really understanding what it is that you do well as a business. So having that absolute clarity on what you are as a business.

Cate Murden:

I have to go through this as a leader and then the impact that, that has on my business all the time. What is the proposition of the business, what is our purpose? What are we here to do? And if that is the case, what does that need from every single person within the business.

Cate Murden:

So once you have that clarity, making sure that you've got the right people in but then having that real kind of bottom up approach of what do those people need in order to be operating at their best and having a real honesty in possibly what's missing.

Cate Murden:

So going back to that initial question which I've literally gone off on a tangent, the way that we'd start our programs is to start with an audit to understand exactly what's going on within the company, to look for any kind of blind spots and to look for the insights that are then going to craft what is needed to support the team better.

Cate Murden:

And there is needed at that point, a real honesty and an acceptance on behalf of the leadership team, that you know what, you're probably going to get some truths that may or may not sit well with you and moreover, you've then got to act upon them.

Cate Murden:

So for example, I was talking to a client yesterday, and like, "What else can we doing doing as the leaders within the company in order to make sure that this stuff lands?" And so there's something in this, there is the point that as leaders you've got to put this stuff on in the first place, then make sure that there is a permission and people are encouraged to get involved.

Cate Murden:

But do you know what the really crucial thing though as well, is that there is a responsibility on the employees to prioritize themselves to do that and understand the importance in doing, because I'm telling you now, the person that I was six years ago would never have gotten involved in that program ever.

Robin:

No, it's really interesting isn't it, and we have a wonderful team at Mobas and we're incredibly fortunate enough to do so but we're currently living in this environment where, I know with some people that live by themselves, some people that live in a relationship and then there's some people that live with their families, and they all have different varying circumstances.

Robin:

So you can't treat all people with the same approach because they're all living in very different worlds. And so I have a brilliant team, one individual who lives by herself and I know for a fact that she... I spoke to her this week about it, and she sleeps, breakfast, works, dinner, sleeps. Her phrase to me was, "I dread the weekends because there's nothing to do, work gives me an outlet."

Robin:

I said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just have a look at this because that absolutely shouldn't be the mindset. There's always something that we can do." And I think what it is, it's the cycle of sleep, eat, work, sleep, it's just endless, and so what we're trying to do is make sure that we can give these people individually something that is related to them.

Cate Murden:

But this is really interesting, so one of the webinars that I do, one of the workshops that I do is called, Finding Balance and Brilliance Whilst Working Remotely or during Lockdown, and one of the first steps in it is about optimizing your mental health.

Cate Murden:

Now, the point is we are a product of our daily behaviors and the challenge that we've got at the moment is the vast majority of our daily behaviors, the distractions, the boundaries, the routines, that natural differences that we have going on in our lives aren't happening. And as humans we need difference, we need combinations of different things.

Cate Murden:

In fact, the work that's been done by David Rock and Daniel Siegel, is that there is seven different things for the... They call it the mind platter, which includes... and I'm not going to be able to remember all of them off the top of my head, but play, rest, mindfulness, sleep, exercise, et cetera, et cetera and there are so many different things. And the problem is, is that number one, we were having quite a lot of those things if not all of them consciously previously and we're probably not having many of them right now.

Cate Murden:

We have to get really conscious about these seven different things and how we're going to put them in when they're not there naturally.

Robin:

And that is fascinating, and it's a living example today as we live within lockdown but how do you think that's going to play out? And it's something that I'm really conscious of, A, when I'm talking to our partners, our clients but also when we're thinking about the second half of this year.

Robin:

Okay, so we have our own plans with the hybrid working, but that is really interesting there Cate, because we are emotional beings, we do adjust but then we also have very short memories. So we've forgotten what March looked like last year, and we've forgotten what March looked like in 2019, but as we come out of this people are going to have to change again, not because it's forced upon them, but because it's just going to happen.

Robin:

So, as emotional beings we've gone from living how we've lived for 44 years in my case, to living very differently for a year, to then going back to not only a hybrid working environment but a hybrid life.

Robin:

So how do you think businesses... Okay, we'll keep it aligned to business and leadership because it's really important because we do have such an impact on both their working lives and also their personal lives. So how do you think leaders can really help employees adapt to A, that the working hybrid role but also the hybrid life? They are completely linked.

Cate Murden:

What we need to think about, to answer that question, are a couple of things. First and foremost, as humans there are five things that make up... We live to feel psychologically safe, right? We like to feel as safe as possible and the five things that have an impact on that are status, certainty, autonomy, how I relate to other people, and the fact that I think things are really fair.

Cate Murden:

If you think about what's happened in the pandemic, all of those things have been hit. Let's talk about certainty, everyone's saying, "Oh if feels so uncertain at the moment," life has always been uncertain. All we had was a rate of change that was a lot slower previously, and whilst we weren't particularly happy because believe you me, I was having conversations with people about stress and overwhelm over a year ago, we never have enough time but we've suddenly been given shitloads of time. We didn't like it then, we don't like it now but at least when it comes to certainty we were really used to what was happening before.

Cate Murden:

We were really used to what was happening before because we didn't know any bloody different. We've seen a really different world now, we don't really like this one either. And I will put my money on it, Robin, in a year's time, people will look back to this time and say, "Oh, life was so much easier then, wasn't it?" I will put money on it.

Robin:

I agree with you, and it's a really interesting point. So something that I've learned a lot, is that I read the book called, Essentialism by Greg McKeown, and it's about doing lot less but achieving a lot more. It's a really lovely mindset, we're bombarded all day, every day by doing so much because we feel that's what we should be doing. [inaudible 00:23:14] for doing so much and saying yes to everything. And it's a mindset now, where what we're trying to introduce into the business is, hey look, if you accept the responsibility of doing 20 things okay-ish, what's that going to do is apply an awful lot of burden and pressure on you because you don't feel like you're really achieving much.

Robin:

So let's take away a little of that noise, and the non-necessary things that really to be done, don't do 20 things, do five. And do five things that are going to make a really big impact on the day, or whatever it may be. And so that is something that we're really trying to infuse into the business.

Robin:

As you know there are different leaders in different roles, in different businesses, in different sectors, you and I quite clearly are very open-minded but also aligned to the fact that people are our most valuable foundation of our business. They're not pillars, they're not commodities, they are the foundation of the business, ourselves included.

Robin:

But there are business that are certainly much larger than ours, and some of them are almost institutionalized in their way of thinking, maybe in varying reasons. How do business leaders that kind of live in that space of the big corporates, but aren't the ones that operate in the tech sector, like the Twitter of this world who by the very nature are very [inaudible 00:24:52] oriented, how do the big corporates put the business performance because that's a really valuable point here, is that what you do is about delivering into an organization with a people-first focus that ultimately helps the business perform at a much higher level.

Robin:

How does a business leader, do you think, go to their board and say, "Hey guys, we need to put people..."

Cate Murden:

Because I think, this follows on from the point that you were making just now about we've gone from previous where working a year ago to how we've worked this year, to potentially going back to something in between. For all of these, surely the answer is around curiosity because the point is, Robin, is that if you think about it, we have gone from what was happening pre-March 2020 and the sad thing is, and this is the thing that I challenge the audiences on that I work with all the time, what's happened over the last is actually neither good nor bad, it is different.

Cate Murden:

It is different, and fundamentally every situation in life is neutral, it is your perception of it. And the point is that, if we go into a situation that's different it may feel challenging because we're still using old tools and frameworks to manage it and what we need to understand is new tools and frameworks to be able to manage it better.

Cate Murden:

So for me, I suppose I was more predisposed to what's been happening, and obviously the nature of my business, we're a nimble speedboat versus a corporate tanker. The corporate tankers are still going along working nine to five, quite frankly at the moment no one should be fucking working nine to five. If there has to be one beauty of working in isolation is the fact that I can boundary my day up however I want depending upon, for example, my energy cycle.

Cate Murden:

My energy cycle throughout the day, I am really high energy in the morning, I've got nothing in the tank because I've spent that all. So I totally manage my day around that. Of course there's going to be contingencies to that, of course there's going to be pillars within that. Maybe you make it between 10 and two, that's your core working time so that we know that the meetings et cetera, can work within that.

Cate Murden:

Listen, I put it out there but whatever you work out is your business because you've spoken to the workforce. So I suppose it's about a curiosity of at every point, how do we work best and I suppose that, that is the thing that I always put into my team. How do we work best in this situation?

Cate Murden:

Now, I understand there's a real difference because of the size of my team but within every large company there are teams, and it's how are we going to function best as a team and being curious to that and ensuring that you can take on that change in order to keep with the momentum of what's happening.

Robin:

That word of curiosity, is just superb because I think we've always naturally been curious and even the big oil tankers as you say, because they are. Because they're in markets and they represent different things, so they're curious about what they represent all of the time.

Robin:

But I guess, it's about understanding and elevating curiosity to the forefront of all business minds to really work out the best way of working, which really does lead us beautifully onto the hybrid working and there isn't a given structure for it. But I'm really interested to get your take on what you think the hybrid model could, would, should look like, and something you mentioned just a moment ago, was about working at a time that best suits you. Why? Because that's really powerful for A, the customer and B, the business and that comes from you, the person which is the most vital piece of the puzzle.

Robin:

So what's your opinion on what the hybrid could look, or do you think there would be a standard like nine to five has been a standard for however long? Do you think there will be a standard?

Cate Murden:

I think if the companies that we work with... And I think the point is, like you were saying about having that Friday working from home or not working in that normal way in order to have time and space to think about the business, I don't know in particular the big corporates that we work with, I don't know many that would enable their CEO or a proportion of their people the time to think about how we work best because it's all about margin, delivering for the shareholders and that is focused on clients and service and product.

Robin:

Yeah, it's amazing, isn't it, because the piece that we were talking about previously about curiosity, with that mindset they're not curious because they're focused on one specific thing but the curiosity could generate so much more if they enable it to be so.

Robin:

And I guess that's where fear comes in to play, fear of change.

Cate Murden:

What assumptions, what thoughts, what perspective am I bringing into this versus genuinely what is actually true or the right thing to be doing. And as leaders that's the really big thing, isn't it? And I have to manage my mind every single time on that.

Robin:

Yes, and it's interesting, isn't it? Because likewise so do I, and I'm constantly questioning it because as we stand here today, we have some big plans that are just saying, "We're never going to go back to the workplace." And are they saying it just because it's really current or are they saying because they genuinely mean it. Or, are they saying it because it generates greater levels of profitability and therefore then it's the wrong thing to do, because it's not right for the people, the people might want to be more collaborative in a specific area. So I think of it in three different ways, what I've taken from it is that we will absolutely do what's right in the team-

Cate Murden:

Okay, so I've had this conversation with a potential new client the other day, and we were talking about their program. Listen, so I was talking to their head of people and one would hope and certainly from what I've seen, has a much greater understanding of emotional intelligence, had really good levels of empathy and we were talking about their program and it's brilliant program that they've created and it thoroughly threads through to everything that they stand for as a brand and those are the best kind of programs, right?

Cate Murden:

And they were talking about how they want to help instill within their teams... So coming back to this whole thing of self-prioritization and looking after yourself, and self-love and the reason being, is that if you have that self-love and moreover if you understand that the company is supporting you in having that self-love, you are happier, you are more engaged, you are more motivated. And they then want to take that through, which this is the really interesting bit for me, to the tangible business metrics of how that impacts on sales and customer satisfaction. So that's beautiful, that takes a particular leader to be able to think like that.

Cate Murden:

And believe you me, it will show, it will absolutely show but do you know what? I think that where we will end up, Robin, is a quite challenging place when it comes to the hybrid model because feeling, we will probably get back to a place where people will be ending up working from home if there's reason for them to do that, what is that reason? Oh, parents working from home for example, or if someone has other stuff going on at home, which arguably is where we were pre-lockdown.

Robin:

Exactly, yeah. I completely agree. And I want to come onto your leadership style in a moment, if I may, but it's really interesting from what we've taken is, that we understand that there's a beautiful world in which there is this model where our office becomes a hub. It's a hub that if people are working on a specific project for a specific client and there's a specific need to work together, come in, work, go out because there is also, what we saw through the lockdown period after the panic and the knee jerk, was that actually there's a certain level of stability with people working remotely, that's brilliant.

Robin:

But what we saw when we went back for that very short wonderful period in the back-end of 2020, was all commercials had a big uplift. As soon as everyone came back there was a 15 to 20% uplift on all commercials because all of a sudden people were going, "I can help you with that," or, "I've done this before."

Cate Murden:

But listen, I will be really interested in looking at that over a period of time if that maintained because what you've got there is an uplift of joy, there's no bones about it. But equally we had exactly the same and I'm betting a load of other businesses would say exactly the same. March last year, it was new, it was adrenaline-based.

Cate Murden:

And that's the thing, these different moments in time are adrenaline-based and then you go into sustainability. Okay, well what does that look like?

Robin:

Yeah, it's wonderful and you're absolutely right about the leaders really need to feel what the business needs in terms of the people, and only if they have that emotional connection with the people can they actually genuinely do that, that's brilliant in all this.

Robin:

Which kind of brings us onto you, so I want to bring it back to you Cate, as well and all of that is brilliantly wonderful work. I want to understand from your leadership style, how do you think your team would describe your leadership style?

Cate Murden:

I suppose, I kind of know this because we have a really open team. I know they would describe me as really, really high energy, positive, having really great vision and creating a really open style.

Cate Murden:

I think that's probably also slightly to my detriment and I think that this is as well for me in terms of how I manage it, I've always been a bit more... At risk of sounding horribly David Brent, a bit more like friend and that's really a comfortable place for me, that's kind of where I go to. That can then be quite hard to manage but I think that sometimes, I try and create a family. I've always tried to create a family and I suppose that for me is always around psychological safety, that in itself brings some challenges, but that's I suppose the place I feel most comfortable.

Cate Murden:

I think in terms of my leadership style, Bruce Daisley, he refers to in his book, "The old mill owner," that place where you go to where you're just a bit like, "Oh why is no one working so hard? I'm the one that's working so hard," you're kind of like cracking the whip kind of thing.

Cate Murden:

And sometimes we can have the old mill owner in our head and I certainly was like that when I was working in media. I have become a lot better at being cognizant of that and knowing it's going on in my head and it's just an old way of thinking.

Cate Murden:

I think one of the most interesting things and I was talking to someone about this the other day, I want trailblazers in my team, I want people who are passionate. Anyone in my team, their opinion is as important as mine, right? Their perspective is as important as mine, and for that reason, I want real high passion and tell me were you think the brand has got to go.

Cate Murden:

Sometimes that level of passion can be hard to manage and there's a really interesting blend between putting guardrails in versus stifling. That's a really interesting place and that's something I'm learning.

Robin:

And it sounds incredibly similar to my style. I'm very conscious of my behaviors which fortunately over the 18 years, I've been able to really look back at myself and my behaviors over certain periods and therefore then my behavior is really important and people didn't follow the behavior but they understand that I welcome feedback, I welcome opinion, I welcome challenge and like you we want our team to me maverick in their mindset.

Cate Murden:

And that's the psychological safety bit, right? If people feel safe and you know that they can be like that, and that for me is an imperative. And yeah, sometimes you're a bit like, "Oh god, just shut up, but follow me, come on." "Yeah, this isn't always a debate, just do what I say," [crosstalk 00:38:36]-

Robin:

[crosstalk 00:38:36].

Cate Murden:

So it comes both ways but equally, if I want trailblazers then that is the environment that I create but as I said that comes down to that safety piece.

Robin:

Okay, so you've been in business now for seven years which in its very nature is a phenomenal thing to have achieved, but if there was one thing that you would do differently, what would be the big one big thing that you have learned that you would do differently?

Cate Murden:

This is so easy because I would say this about my whole life and as you know starting a business is literally like holding a mirror up to yourself and your life, worry less, have more joy. If I were to be honest, my natural resting state is very slightly anxious and hence the reason obviously PUSH was born in the first place, right? Because I'm predisposed, to this. And yeah, I naturally get to worry very quickly and it is of zero and the fact is, si that I not only always get myself... If anyone, talks about... Like I talk about my values or values in business I'm a tenacious motherfucker, I'm always going to get through and get my business through hence the reason why it is.

Cate Murden:

But it's more than that, I look back on times throughout the business and particularly when the business was first starting, and to be really honest with you, I moved back home when I first started the business because I didn't have any bloody money. Which let me tell you as a 39-year-old woman as I was then, living back at home with my parents was a very humbling experience.

Robin:

It sounds very familiar, I was 29 when I moved back with my parents, in my parents dining room, yeah.

Cate Murden:

You do it right, and I started this business from my parent's bedroom or well not their bedroom, that would be weird, I mean the bedroom that I used to live in. [crosstalk 00:40:41].

Robin:

[crosstalk 00:40:41].

Cate Murden:

And it was hard and I did it because of that, and of course that came with so much worry. But do you know what? I look back on those times and the hustle was brilliant and every moment has so much joy and as a human, one of my things is focusing more on the joy.

Robin:

Wonderful, that's brilliant. Listen Cate, I think that is a wonderful way to wrap up a brilliant conversation, I've really enjoyed it. I think the topics we've covered, I like you are very passionate about, I just wish more people thought that way. And I do hope genuinely that you continue to grow and to really deploy your mindset and your strategies into organizations that are willing, as you say to be curious because I think success lies behind curiosity.

Speaker 1:

You've been listening to the Transforming Minds Podcast from Mobas, the brand transformation agency. Whether your business goal is to expand, modernize, become more profitable, attract talent, investment or simply to accelerate your business growth, the Mobas team will unlock the value within your brand and harness it, to drive growth and success.

Speaker 1:

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