Interstellar Business Show​

With Andrew Bull

Podcast for Technology CEOs and their teams.

It's time to grow your mind, elevate performance, and own your future 🚀

Interstellar Business Show​

Podcast for Tech CEOs who want to grow their minds, elevate performance, and own their future.

Building leadership teams: Jason Connolly shares how to build a management team the right way


Special Guest
Jason Connolly - CEO of JMC Legal Recruitment

Episode Introduction

Andrew is joined by Jason Connolly, CEO of JMC Legal Recruitment, the UK’s leading recruitment agency to the legal sector.

This episode is all about building a leadership team. How to do it, and why every business owner should build one.

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Episode notes & resources

Are you a business owner who works too much and lives too little?  Get help — Check out Andrew’s free training course.

More About Jason

Jason founded JMC in November 2016, and have grown this into the countries top legal recruitment agency, working with law firms Nationally. JMC has a top team and a multi-million turnover

Jason was named as one of the Top 40 business people of 2019 and 2020 in the South West of England by Insider Magazine.

Jason regularly appear in both the legal industry press and general media. He has recently been interviewed by; Bloomberg, Law gazette, ITV news, Channel 4 news, Sky news, BBC radio, Insider magazine, Modern law magazine, Bristol post.

You can connect with Jason on LinkedIn here

Jason’s website is here:


Please note, this transcription is autogenerated, so there may be errors.

Andrew Bull 0:00
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the interstellar business Show. I’m your host, Andrew Bull. And I’ll be accompanying you on your journey of growing, working and living smarter as you attempt to take your business and Interstellar leap forward, so you can start working less and living more. And with that big central theme of the interstellar business show of helping you work less and live more, as a business owner, I think you will absolutely love the content of today’s episode, which is all about installing a management team into your business. So you no longer have to manage everything. And to do that and to have that conversation about those issues. I’ve brought in expert Jason Connolly from JMC legal recruitment. Now, Jason’s been running his recruitment business for many years. Now. He’s also CEO of that business. And he’s got a lot of experience when it comes to putting in place the right management team inside your business, what you should do, what you should not do, what some of the mistakes that you might, you might do if you try and do it the wrong way. And he’ll give you some advice about how to go about doing things the right way. Plus, he’ll even share how you should look inside your business for existing talented high performing team members who could be exactly the kind of management and leaders that your business needs. So I’ll be getting into that with Jason, right after this message. And this message that’s coming up is all about a business report that I’ve created just for business leaders and owners like you

Voiceover by Josh 1:36
Are you a free thinking business leader, we have a report, you must see. It’s a personalized report that reveals your strengths and weaknesses. Head to Interstellar dot report and get your free report today. test yourself at Interstellar dot report.

Andrew Bull 1:59
Today, I’m joined by Jason Connolly from JMC legal recruitment. Now Jason’s done lots of things right, his career, he’s worked in the place. He’s worked in cabin crew, and now he’s got his own recruitment business. In fact, a recruitment consultancy, consultancy, which works with law firms in the UK and the US. Welcome to the show Jason.

Jason Connolly 2:21
Thank you very much for having me on. It’s lovely to be here.

Andrew Bull 2:24
And we’re glad you’re here. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business then and you’re very interesting background?

Jason Connolly 2:32
Yeah, sure. I am started JMC legal recruitment four years ago, it’s now become the UK. Number one recruitment agency for lawyers in the UK. So it’s been quite a rollercoaster ride since starting only four years ago to hold such a prestigious accolade now, but we’ve we’ve done extremely well, we recruit lawyers all over the UK, not just in the UK. We also do a fair amount and a growing amount of work in the US. It’s been a rollercoaster ride getting here. My career has been one of many highs and many, many lows. And it’s not been an easy journey to get to where we are. But we’re doing fantastically well. We’re an agency that’s very, very, very different to how most recruitment owners run their businesses. And we give everyone a real high investment model really a lot of mentoring. We’ve got a multi million pound turnover. So we’re doing fantastically even through the pandemic, we’ve managed to still fill roles and we’ve even been having things like virtual inductions virtual training. So we’ve very much been at the forefront of technology through this but I’m get my career started off. I was 16 years old, wasn’t in a particularly great school. I didn’t like the school. It was a rough comprehensive actually ranked in the bottom. Five worst secondary schools in the country was bulldoze down the year after I left and I can assure you no one was shackling themselves to the gates to try to prevent it from being demolished. But I did enjoy school, I found it was more sort of a game of survival than one of inspiration and leaving me feeling empowered by education. That was certainly not the case. I can really empathize with you with that experience, I think. Yeah, I didn’t enjoy my school days at all. When I was at school, I was really into performing magic. And it was something that I really got a passion for I became really good at it. I became really good at all the things that you need to do to be good at a magician like misdirection I was an expert at so when I was doing my study leave at school, I chose not to study and chose that time to perform magic. And busk and I was busking in Covent Garden in London. After I left school, that was what I did. I worked part time in a kitchen the more and more and more My time is filling up doing magic work. So I was performing pretty much six days a week and in the

And I absolutely loved them. And I decided I want to work for this airline. But despite the fact that I was like confident performing on stage, I wasn’t that much of a confident person. I was confident in some regards, but definitely not in others. I wasn’t very good at writing. I wasn’t I’ve never been great at maps, even now I’m still rubbish at maps. And you’ll find me using a calculator to do the most basic sums. and academia has never been a strong point. But you know, what I did have about age was bags of charisma in some regards. You know, I was a performer, not necessarily that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re confident in your personal life.

Andrew Bull 6:21
No. Well, that’s interesting with the whole like onstage personality that a lot of performers have that completely contrast to what’s going on backstage?

Jason Connolly 6:31
Yeah, Indeed it is. And so I applied to virgin I remember, you know, getting my mom I grew up with from a very I would say it was poor background, I would say it was a very, very, very modest kind of, we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, my mom had me when she was 18. My dad’s didn’t want to know. And I’ve never had a lot of money growing up. So even when I started earning a bit of money and magic, I remember my God, I’m earning 50 pounds for a night in a restaurant. And you know, what I was actually probably being highly underpaid at that point. But you know, that was, besides the point I was 16 years old with loads of, you know, kashia I’ve never seen before. So I applied to virgin. And I got an interview. And I turned up there, I was really young. And I remember looking around in one of these group interview processes, thinking, I am the youngest one here by a long way. And then that thing where they kind of went through all the different year to introduce yourself do these different exercises, then everyone got told to leave a split of one off into rooms. And then it became down to me and this other lady and I thought, I haven’t really noticed during the interview process. I don’t know if we got through and it turns out, we got through I got the job. And I worked to Heathrow on the checking desks, which was so much fun before the days of the DIY self checking. It was the days when you’d arrive at the airport four hours early, because you’d be in the Virgin Atlantic queue for an hour. Checking in your bags for your summer holidays. And it was good fun, really good fun.

And y’all made some really great friends there. And he bought my confidence out virgin. You weren’t able to hide behind a rock. I remember on the first day sitting there on the check in desks, the lady walks up to me and says so are you gay? Are you straight? Then I’m not. Hell is this bold woman. And then I went up, Gary, and she went, Oh, you’ll fit in just fine. They love my Batman. And so and you know, that was my experience of Virgin. And I stayed there for a few years then got wowed by the police. And they were doing a big recruitment drive for the 2012 Olympics. They need to police more police officers than ever. So I joined you know, don’t have any regrets. I do wish I’d stayed at virgin longer. I you know, I think I had the grass is greener on the other side syndrome at a young age. So I went headfirst into six months of absolutely.

I don’t even know how to describe it really, let’s just say six months of intense training, into the police and then found myself on the main streets of Soho in West London.

Sorry not sohom what am I on about, Southhall. I wish it was Soho. Um, so yeah, Southall a much different area.

Very different. Yeah, it’s for anyone that hasn’t been there. It’s not the world’s most desirable.

Andrew Bull 9:22
Yeah, so just for people listening to the show, Soho is like quite a trendy area of London. There’s a lot of cool places. There’s still some, you know, grimy areas, but there’s a lot of cool stuff happening. So it’d be quite a nice place to work, perhaps as a police officer, where Southall was a bit more suburban, should we say?

Jason Connolly 9:44
Well, the clue is in the title the whole bit to the end. So done that for a few years. Didn’t have a great time in the police didn’t enjoy my time there. I saw things I thought I should never have to see. And that that wasn’t in terms of the actual incidents I was turning up to. It was more from an internal perspective, and just didn’t enjoy my time there. So I stuck it out for about four years. And then I thought, well, I need to leave and find something that I actually am going to be empowered by. And I kept seeing adverts of recruitment, I thought, well, I can talk to people didn’t really know what the job actually involved it, you know, I think it’s kind of a mystery from people on the outside looking in on what you actually have to do to do this job. And then went into the recruitment industry have many, many knocks nearly locks, lost all my money in my house.

And nearly lost everything built actually built up a lot of money and then lost it all. Built it up again, and nearly lost it all a second time. But I was in the equipment industry for about five years before I started JMC which is the company I have now, which as I said he’s doing well. So that is an absolute kind of fast track through where I was to where I what

Andrew Bull 11:02
a diverse range of experiences though, I came from Virgin Atlantic to work to being a Beat Cop in South though I mean, that must be what what a jump really and the environment, you know, and possibly the cultural environment as well for who your colleagues and so on as well. I imagine that would have been well,

Jason Connolly 11:23
it was Yeah, it was from vibrancy and all things, camping, all things colorful to black and white outfit, start shirts, no hairs on back of neck shouted out on the parade square at 7am every morning, unless the the the crease in your trouser wasn’t precision, like down the center. So you know, it was glamour to to a very different type of setting and

Voiceover by Josh 11:54
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Andrew Bull 12:00
One of the reasons why we’ve got to get got together today in this podcast episode is to talk about business owners, and specifically about some of the problems that business owners are having with their businesses. Yeah, and, and one of those being probably work life balance, like a big one that i think i think a lot of business owners start their business. And when they do they think are lost, I get to choose when I go home, I get to choose how many weeks I work a year, but then the reality sets in and the work work life. Balance isn’t as good. Is that something personally you cannot identify that struggle for work life balance?

Jason Connolly 12:45
No, I think I came into my art into running my own business very much with my eyes open. I think if anything, I was kind of thinking from day one, it was going to be a seven day a week operation. You know, work life balance never even came into my mind. Maybe what did come into my mind was oh, maybe I get to have a glass of wine at lunch or something like that. But no, I was the opposite. And actually, I worked myself into the absolute ground and became very, very unwell a couple of years into running my business. So, um, you know, I, I work life balance was never kind of on the cards for me, I kind of I worked all hours when I worked for other people anyway, my level of drive, you know, has always been, you know, I’m gonna do what I need to do. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t I work smart. Not always. I think I work smart. And I work hard. And I think there is a difference. A lot of people don’t work smart. But no, like, I if anything I’ve been I was so much on the other end of the spectrum, that you know, I got very ill. And and it took me out of the game for six months, because I ran myself into the ground.

Andrew Bull 13:57
That’s interesting. So the lack of maybe awareness around around that issue coming down the line kind of led to it. So yeah, so there might be people listening to the podcast right now, who probably think I’m fine with working hard, there’s not going to be any problems with that. But actually, if you let that situation creep, you could end up burning out. So work life balance is a is a thing, whether that’s salt, you know, whatever it is that you need to worry about right now. Or maybe it’s something that’s going to come down the road to you very fast, or just we’ll all slowly or creep up and one of one of my fears is that you know that I will suddenly wake up my son would be 18. And like, I think I’d missed out on loads of time with him. Because I’d be so consumed by my business. I think that’s that’s the kind of the risks that we face as business owners. We’re so consumed and absorbed by what we do that we can just bypass out our personal lives and the joy, joy that can bring. But I think one of the reasons I want to talk to you today is I know one of your one of the Because you’re a specialist in recruitment, is you’ve got great ideas about how people can build successful management teams. And, you know, what are the what are the problems that were that lead to someone needing to do that we’ve talked about work life balance, but there are other things that we’ll hear in that,

Jason Connolly 15:19
I think just to reverse the conversation slightly. I think, work life balance is really, really important. Because, you know, when I say I got ill, I got very, very, very unwell. And that was because I pushed myself and push myself and push myself and push myself to get to always the next milestone the next place. And, and I think people just need to be, I had to learn the lesson the very hard way. You know, and I hope a lot of people don’t have to learn it that way. Because, you know, it really took a toll on my family as well. But I think that from the, from the get go, it was always I need to make a success of this. And even when I got a couple of 100 grand in the bank, I would think to myself, okay, well, I’m gonna work to the next milestone, but I’m gonna get to half a million, and then I would go right, you know, and then it just never seem to stop. But I think that, you know, to advance the conversation further to towards the senior management team. For me, I, I started the business by myself. So I never really knew, you know, what senior management team was, and I think it you know, also, interestingly, I never had a business mentor or was part of a business community. And a lot of people say, well, that I spoke to someone I had a mentor someone trained me, I think asking for help, never seemed like an option. For me. It wasn’t even something that I even never contemplated, because I wish I had actually said, All right, okay, let’s seek out some people who can give me advice, I just went full steam into it, because I don’t ask him for help is never necessarily been something that I’ve done throughout my life. I think maybe mainly because my mom probably having a young, you know, I, there’s a certain level of bond there, which I get when I think a parent has a young, where you kind of feel like you’re the parent the times when you get to about eight years old. And I I think I just kept going. So I wish I had kind of reached out to people sooner, because actually, there’s so many amazing people out there, that were all too willing to help if you you know, ask the right questions. But I think I were my senior management team came from was out of the fact that I was getting out of my depth quickly. And I was having a company that was bringing in a balance sheet of, you know, had had hundreds of 1000s of pounds coming in through the door. And I didn’t know what the bloody hell I was doing. I was getting myself into all sorts of messes with tax, and I just didn’t have a clue. So I knew that I needed experts. And I thought what I knew what I needed was people I could trust. And what I think I spent a long time doing was not necessarily having the right advisors. And really what a senior management team is, is someone to, you know, bounce ideas off of it, someone to bring different specialisms to the table different perspectives, and specialists in their field. Because I think that’s the thing that you know, entrepreneurs take for granted is the fact that you can turn your hand to anything can you can kind of get a business up and running. And you take for granted the fact that you might do the accounts or the bookkeeping, or the reconciling, or whatever it is that you’re doing. But actually, that’s something that someone’s been trained in normally for a substantial amount of time in order to do that job. And I think that, you know, I got to a stage where I was still managing to even run the accounts and reconcile myself when it was becoming a million pound business. And I you know, I just remember one day walking in to my finance director who I’ve got now and he just looked at me like, Are you are you bloody match, you know, there’s companies out there that turn over a million, which you’ve got full back office support. So I, I got a senior management team in place, and it made my life a lot easier you when you have a big team of staff, you really need people you can trust people who you know, have got your back. Because it can be a very lonely place at the top of a company, you know, you don’t have necessarily people to everyone, everyone comes to you have questions, and then it gets to you. And there’s kind of a Oh, okay. Right with bottlenecks here. You know, I’m the one giving advice back then, yes, I’ll bounce ideas of people sideways. But you know, if you don’t have enough people sideways, and you don’t have enough advisors around you, then you’re going to at some point, make a mistake, and it’s not a matter of if it’s a property matter. It’s a matter of when so you need to get those people in place. But it’s not a you know, it’s not an easy thing to do. And to find the right people finding valuable really good people is hard.

Andrew Bull 19:46
Yeah. And so and i think so You said really stuck out to me there. And that’s that is tempting to take on everything isn’t it as a as a business owner, right? Because You can’t do it. Because you’ve got that kind of can do attitude, you think you

Jason Connolly 20:04
have this singular attitude, which is, I can do it better, you know, everything I do is not going to be done better, because I really care about it. And then you get into that kind of frame of mind, where actually you don’t let anyone do anything. And that’s how you don’t grow your business. And that’s how a lot of people have stayed as sole traders for most of their life, because it’s the fear of giving stuff away, or giving stuff over. And really, you know, what people should be doing is growing their businesses as quickly as possible. So the business can function without you. That’s how you get work life balance. But it’s it’s much easier said than done. And it’s difficult. Yeah,

Andrew Bull 20:45
yeah, yeah, it is. But I think that DIY mentality is a massive dark force, that is kind of restricting the growth of many businesses and affecting that work life balance, as you say. And if any of you can get yourself out of that situation with a DIY, that DIY, do it all kind of mentality. And then there’s lots of opportunities for people to go after as well. And you can stop, for example, you can stop being the bottleneck in your business, right? Rather than everything having to come through you the whole time, you being the decision maker and everything, and just getting rid of a load of decisions and let someone else do that can really accelerate your business and also get more out of your team. Right?

Jason Connolly 21:29
Well, yeah, exactly. And I think that you, I think I’ve got a lot of opinions in business, which are different to those of kind of a lot of business owners and you know, different to, I don’t necessarily think I’m the conventional business owner in in a lot of different ways. But you want to get the best out your team, you don’t want to, you know, what a lot of people do is they manage a team, they manage, who wants to be managed, no one likes being managed, they want to be led. And there’s a big difference between a leader and a manager, you know, I don’t want managers, I want leaders. And you know, that’s what I look for in my business. Because Matt do even the word managing, it has negative connotations to it, people, you know, don’t like that. And, you know, the best way to get, you know, the most out of any team is to inspire them. If you inspire and motivate people, you won’t have to manage them, because they just want to do the job. And but you know, a lot of business owners don’t do that they hit people with the finger stick, they whack KPIs on them, they have whiteboards, in their face, showing them constantly what they must do, how patronizing to have a whiteboard, constantly staring you in the face. So you know, I don’t, I, my, my, my beliefs about how to run a business, you know, are different. And, you know, in recruitment, we’re a terrible industry for bringing people in letting them sink or swim, giving them no training, it’s absolute madness, power, the vast majority of the recruitment industry still operates. It’s so draconian, and old school and now of the 1990s, double glazing salesman tactic on the doorstep, it just doesn’t work anymore. People don’t want to be sold to they just want to be given advice being given, you know, an honest service, and just not being lied to. Whereas, you know, unless you’ve familiar with the recruitment industry, you wonder what the hell I’m going on about. But you know, it’s, it’s an industry that just doesn’t train people well, which is why we’ve we’ve risen so quickly, and we’ve become such a disruptor in the market, because we actually do the job properly. And there’s actually not a lot of us out there.

Andrew Bull 23:42
I know the recruitment industry’s reputation from from its general reputation,

Jason Connolly 23:49
even you don’t know the recruitment industry, and you’ve got an opinion on the recruitment industry. That’s how bad the reputation is. Yeah,

Andrew Bull 23:54
it’s cut. Well, I you know, I’m open minded, but I’ve heard Yeah, you hear like, boiler room, kind of, you know, it’s very, very sales orientated, like a car dealership kind of sales. When

Jason Connolly 24:09
honestly nothing like that, in the way that we operate. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got a room full of very, very motivated people, and a room full of people who are passionate about the job that they do. But you know, we just tell the truth. You know, it’s nice to be honest.

Andrew Bull 24:25
I love that. So what if you are going to put a management team in place and let’s say a leader, say a leadership team and this forget this management word? And say you’re gonna put a leadership team in what what what would what makes a successful leadership team then

Jason Connolly 24:42
you’ve got to have a team that you know it, I don’t like people that you know, and just going to tell me Yes, all the time. You know, that I want people that are actually going to give me an honest opinion and people that aren’t going to be afraid to say what they think and you know, I think you’ve got I don’t know A leadership team is something that just comes into place and it slots there and it’s all perfect. It takes time, even even, even my relationship with my finance director has taken the best part of a year for us to really understand how each other works. Because at the start, he didn’t realize that I didn’t know certain things, and he would assume that I was more knowledgeable than I was. And it’s taken us time to actually it’s taken us a year, a year of working together. Now, I think we’re a well oiled machine, it’s the same as my marketing manager, a year of working together until there was real cohesion, not because I’m some sort of diva in the office, and I’m hard to work with. But it takes time to form a good relationship. So I don’t think anyone is going to necessarily, overnight get in a great leadership team, because it takes time. And I think that if you rush it, you can get it wrong. But I think that what you really need to do first of all, is saying, what is the gap that you’ve actually got? What is it you actually need? What is it that you’ve not got? Or sometimes you won’t even know what you haven’t got that you need? So you know, the problem can be even deeper, but you might need someone to identify the points in the business that aren’t going so well, the points aren’t going right, and the points of improvement because you’re not gonna know everything. And, you know, there was lots of things that I picked up on, but I, I thought we were doing well in but actually, we wasn’t doing so well in. And you know, it’s been educational for me. But I think first of all, you got to identify the gap. Once you’ve identified the gap, you’ve got to think, is this person a value adding person? And what I mean by that is, are they going to add value to the business? And that’s how I look at everybody. That’s how I’ve enumerate people, that’s, that’s the ethos I’ve got is how much value do you add to the business. And so you need to look for value adding people. And then once you’ve kind of identified the gaps, it should grow from there. But your senior leadership team is a team that you should trust, implicitly, they have your back that on your side, yes, they’ve got in their best interest to that of the business, not themselves on their pay, you know, their best interest is that of the business. And it takes time to find these people, when you find a great person, don’t let them go, hold on to them, bring them on board, don’t be greedy, don’t just keep all the equity for yourself in a business and never give some ambitious person a route to get to the top as well. Because what you’re going to find is that person will leave you that person will leave you they will leave your business and and it will be harmful. So once you’ve got these people make sure you hang on to them. Because, you know, I work with businesses every single day in the legal sector. And beyond that tell me, you know, well, we’ve lost this person, but why did you let them leave? Well, I didn’t know they were leaving. Why not? You know, how can you not know someone’s gonna leave? And you know, our retention rate is extremely good, because, you know, we make sure that we treat people right. But you know, a senior leadership team isn’t the the magic wand to absolutely everything, get the business and getting it right. It’s a combination of a whole load of things, you know, you can’t value the senior leadership team. And then the rest of the way down, this fractions divides and people who aren’t happy, you’ve got everyone has got an important role in a business, whether it’s the person who cleans up at night, or the person that makes the big decisions at the top, if that person wasn’t valuable, they wouldn’t have a job they haven’t. Because there’s value to be added.

Andrew Bull 28:21
So, I mean, what we’re really talking about is there being an overall overall, quote, the right culture across all parts of the business being in place, and then yeah, highlighting all of those people

Voiceover by Josh 28:33
to Interstellar dot show, and find all the resources mentioned in today’s episode, plus, discover powerful training, which will help you grow, work and live smarter. Visit Interstellar dot show today and begin your adventure.

Andrew Bull 28:54
If I’m a business owner, though, and let’s say I want to really step back and like, not do so much at all, on a day to day basis, what do I need to start looking for and thinking about in terms of that leadership team that I put in place?

Jason Connolly 29:09
Yeah, it’s a good question. I think you need to get the business functioning without you. So you’re going to need to appoint someone into a leadership position. I’m always dubious of bringing in people new to a business to oversee a business, I think that you need to know the business you need to get the dressing room on side. And I personally don’t bring in, you know, senior people on top of people already there unless there was kind of a side need that wasn’t fulfilled by the general population and the skill set that we have. But you know, that’s, that’s my personal viewpoint. You know, I do work in a different industry to a lot of people. But you know, if you want to get out of a business, you need to find those skill gaps that you’ve got, and you need to create a pyramid like structure and a good you know, reporting system a good way of people being able to have visibility is the job done, what data do you collect and you need to have Have a way of how do you quantify success in your business. But if you want to get out of your business as quickly as possible, then you need to, you know, make sure that it runs without you test it wrote tests that go away for a week, turn off your mobile phone and your emails and see, does the business actually survive without you? A lot of people, sometimes people, you know, might think the business doesn’t function without them. And actually, it does, because they’re scared of letting go. And maybe they’ve gone from so many years of being needed to they’re not being needed, and then they can’t let go once they are let go. So you know, this, but my viewpoint is, I couldn’t imagine not being involved in my business, I find it very difficult to answer that question. Because maybe because it just sit feels. So you know, at the moment so far away from me necessarily to just get back from what I’m doing.

Andrew Bull 30:44
But here’s an interesting perspective to point on. That is, should we, as business owners, who are thinking about the business picture, anyway, make sure our businesses can work without us, right? You don’t want it to be like something, I get run over tomorrow. And I’m not around for six months, because I’ve got my both arms and legs broken, then someone else is going to all the team are going to need to be able to manage the business without me. You know, surely that’s that’s kind of if we want to build these bigger, more sustainable businesses, that’s something we’ve got to think about as well.

Jason Connolly 31:20
Yeah, indeed, I do agree with that. And, you know, I think future planning your business is important. And, you know, it’s something that’s, you know, it does pass my mind as well. But I think it’s not always as easy as, as just walking away. You know, to get an actual business that can function fully without the leading person is highly difficult, you’ve got to have the right leadership team in place. And that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not something that you can put together, you know, even now, I’m still in a position where I’m still putting the pieces together on my business to get it, you know, more future proof. And, you know, maybe Jason not, you know, maybe we mean, not involved. But it’s, it’s difficult, and it takes time, and I’ve I’ve helped lots of law firms do it over the years, and it can be done and you know, a business should run without you, it’s, it’s not smart for you to have a situation where the business doesn’t work without you, because you need to exhibit it takes time it isn’t, especially if you’ve just started the business by yourself, and you’re growing it out, you’re gonna make mistakes along the way, as well. And you know, you’re gonna have to get the business to a point where it doesn’t need you at all. That’s not easy. That is difficult, but it can be done.

Andrew Bull 32:36
Sure I get I guess the thing is, though, we have to start somewhere and project a point further down the road, where we might be at that point, and I think you made a good, you made a really good point earlier about having the right person or people inside the business anyway, who could be the future top level leaders of the business. And maybe that’s the thing to think about, if you’ve got a big enough business is to have those people in those roles who, who slowly over time can take on more responsibility to such a point, you could step back, right?

Jason Connolly 33:08
Yeah, indeed, are the reason why I don’t bring in external leaders, necessarily I have when it comes to other aspects of the business that we don’t have expertise in. The reason why I don’t like doing it is because I think it upsets people as well, when you when you, you know, someone comes in, and they’ve got aspirations to be that person. You know, when I’m looking at people, when I interview them, I’m kind of asking them questions about what’s your future aspirations? What do you want to do? Where do you want to be? Because it’s not down to that person to prove it to me, it’s down to me to mentor and help that person get to where they actually want to be, it’s a partnership, you know, if the partnership isn’t equal, and that person isn’t giving me enough, then you know, then it’s not going to work. And you know, I’ll be having a frank conversation with that person, but you want to bring people up from within the business. One because, you know, there’s no person who knows the business better than people who already work there. And when you bring in someone externally, it does take time, I’m not saying that’s the case in every business, but if you can raise up your own talent internally, that you know, you’re gonna find you’ve got really good leaders, people who know the business from all different aspects, people who will have worked in different departments and and you can’t, you can’t buy in that experience always.

Andrew Bull 34:24
I think that’s really smart, actually, but you know, training your people up from within, because the reality the reality anyway, right, is that most people are capable of huge amount and there’s only maybe 3% of jobs in the world, which can’t be done by everyone, or all 3% of people who are not capable of doing a lot of jobs. So I think people are capable of a huge amount often businesses don’t invest all look with open eyes at their team and see that the hidden poles that are there really that could with the right encouragement and confidence To shine and and take some weight off the leaders back.

Jason Connolly 35:05
Yeah, there’s always those people, but it’s a lot of companies don’t invest in people, or what they do is they give people off the shelf Training Solutions, which is, you know, here’s a training course here you go, here’s an online portal, go and get yourself trained. And then, you know, companies wonder why no one, if people don’t feel invested in these days, it’s not about money, all the time why people move jobs, actually, money is one of the least reasons a lot of the time why people move jobs, it’s about feeling fulfilled, it’s about feeling invested in, it’s about feeling that someone cares about you. And you know, that a lot of companies don’t give that and that’s why people leave. And that’s why we keep taking people from other employers, because of the fact that people are invested in that, you know, it’s not leaders aren’t built overnight, it takes time. And you know, we’ve got people that we’re training up to be leaders. But it’s, it’s it’s kind of a slow transition to lead people, what a lot of companies do, this is what they do, someone starts doing well at their job, okay, this person’s billing money, put them as manager, because this person makes money, they will make other people make money. That’s the wrong way to do it. But just because someone makes money in their job, or they’re very good at their job, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be a great people leader, or you know, if you want to call it manager manager, but you know, a lot of people just assume, okay, this person is a great functioning person, they stick him as a manager. And that happens all over the place is so so so so many businesses, whereas actually, the person who builds the most isn’t always the best leader. And actually, quite a lot of the time, throughout my career, I found that it’s not the person who builds the most because the person who builds the most is so worried about billing and billing and billing and billing, that probably not give the person as much time because they’re so focused on their income and their billing. Normally a leader is some of its, you know, sometimes got a bit more time for people, the sort of person who’s actually got 10 minutes won’t always look at their own interests. Now think about other people. And you know, it leads leaders quality and dementors quality is normally different to that of a top performer. But a lot of companies don’t do it like that, then they wonder why the team’s fragmenting and it’s not doing well, because, you know, the leader isn’t leading it in the right way. And I mean, everything can every business does stem from the top, you know, if you’ve got a bad culture, work your way further up the food chain, you’ll find the kink somewhere,

Andrew Bull 37:24
I 100% agree is the culture is from I think the culture comes from the top down really you set the ultimate owner or leader the business sets that culture and drives it through. And if they’re not driving that culture through, then they’re really not shaping the business side, like like they should, over empowering the rest of the team to shape the business. So I think that that makes so much sense. And it really resonates with me the idea of just just because someone’s good at one particular thing that like recruiting them isn’t necessarily going to be the right, the right way forward. What kind of things should leaders be doing to them to level up the the competence and capabilities of their teams, then do you think?

Jason Connolly 38:09
It’s a very broad question. But I think that to get people up the ranks, first of all, you’ve got to have a good, I think the thing is with a culture is you can, if you’ve got a rubbish culture, it’s really hard to change a culture, you can copy someone’s business idea, and you can copy their product, you can copy whatever it is, they said, the service they offer, but you can’t copy your culture, if you’ve got a bad culture, it’s really hard to change it. And either my culture has been really important to me in my business. And it’s been something that I’ve been very protective of, you know, I’ve had times where I’ve had a really big billing individual, but an absolute troublemaker, who was upsetting people, and it was worth a quarter of a million pounds a year to put up with that level of upset. So I think you’ve got to have a culture. And I think to get people leveled up, you’ve got to really understand them, not just the point where they work for you. But when you’re interviewing these people, don’t just interview them for the job you’re interviewing them for, think about where could this person be? How can we get this person up? What’s their aspirations? What is it they want to do? And actually understanding that person, everyone who comes into my door? You know, I’m always asking them questions about where they want to be, where do you want to go? Tell me about that? Because I want to get that understanding of what their aspirations are long term, early doors, so I can understand what I also want to understand is if that person’s aspirations change, and so and they’ve six months in a year, and their motivation changes, why is it changed? Why are they thinking differently? I think a great you know, a great lesson in this is it comes down to understanding. You know, you got to understand the people that work for you can’t level them up if you don’t understand them. If you understand them and actually care about that person, there’s a money rather than a big cog in your money machine or a little cog in your massive money machine. You know, every cog has a purpose. If it wasn’t a cog there, the machine would stop turning people you know, need to have You care about their staff, and listen to them. And then once you listen to them, yes, you can have an appraisal system. And however that works, but you don’t actually spend time with your people and really invest in them. That’s the only way to get them up. There’s no shortcuts, there’s no, you know, send them off to read six management books on Amazon, they’re going to come back and amazing leader and be great. And management. No, it doesn’t work like that. If it was that easy. That’s what everyone would do. You actually need to you know, spend time with the people and listen to them. And then guess Guess what? If you give that level of investment to one person, what does that person do? Oh, they give the same investment down. Oh, now we’re starting to like a pyramid. Now, that’s more interesting. So and that’s the way you’ve got to do it. There’s no shortcuts to this, I think you need to listen to people and understand where their gaps are, what you can improve on what skills that they’ve got, what skills that you whether you know, where you want them to be. And it’s a partnership, and you’ve got a you know, and if you invest in people that really look after you, and if you look after people, they look after you, but so many businesses get it wrong, they have management processes, protocols, which you know, do exist in big corporate companies, I understand that there is a time and a place for that. But you know, if you don’t don’t lose the personality of the business through that have afforded that I see so many small businesses are running their businesses not in the right way. And you know, yes, okay, they make a turnover. But especially when you get things like a pandemic, you know, when you get a pandemic, which is locking up on your door, and you suddenly you have to switch your business remote, oh, god, this is different. Now, we’re not seeing each other. Now, this really shows how strong the team are at communicating, when they’re all in different places. And that’s why a lot of businesses have struggled through this time. And we’ve seen a lot of people arriving at our door as candidates wanting to leave because the business, you know, isn’t the same isn’t, you know, it was held to part when everyone was in person. But, you know, if you’ve got a great team, you know, they will ride out through the toughest times, it actually is through the toughest times that some of the greatest businesses make growth.

Andrew Bull 41:58
Yeah, I think that i think that’s true. I’ve certainly noticed that from other business owners that I’m connected with. Yeah, that is interesting how some people rise and some people fall through this time. And communication is key. And I think as you come back to communication is one powerful question that you can ask people, which is how do you feel about x? height? You know, what, how do you how does doing this make you feel? What do you feel about this project idea, or, or us doing this? actually taking the time to listen to your team? Because I think too many people just assume, and they’re like, Oh, this is what we’re going to do. This is what the whole business is going to steer towards. And they don’t tell you time to ask.

Jason Connolly 42:41
I don’t think it’s even that one question, Andrew. I think if any question, that’s an open question, how, what, where, when? And why a lot of managers use Do you, would you? You know, and I even struggled to think of closed questions, because I’m so used to asking open questions. But you know, how do you feel? What would you do? If this? Why would you do this? Why how, you know, and it’s all those sorts of questions, is actually asking people open questions and asking them for an explanation, not asking them an open book, closed book, closed question. And Yep, how people feel is important. You know, I care about the welfare of the people who work for me, very, very much. And, you know, I’m not saying it’s been a doddle. We’ve had people that have had issues, and, you know, we stick by people for the good and the bad times as well. And, you know, we don’t, we don’t make people feel awful if you know, they’re having difficulties, we stick by people

Andrew Bull 43:31
whatsoever, just to round things off, what’s what’s three tips that you can give to any leader to, you know, encourage that positive team? vibe? Yeah, I

Jason Connolly 43:44
think number one is listen to people, I think you’ve kind of summons, kind of not nicely, put that just now, listen to people, I think number two, is, make sure you’ve got the right advisors beside you, a good, a very, very good finance person is always very, very important in a business. Make sure you’ve got that. And number three, is a very good question. I think number three is probably make sure you love what you do. Make sure you don’t lose that passion. And, you know, understand when you drive this change, you know, make sure that you’re still celebrating your successes as well, because it’s very easy to keep running forwards. But, you know, you’ve got to give yourself a bit of praise. There’s probably, you know, hundreds of lessons I can pass on to people who run businesses now after having, you know, and actually I will add a fourth on there, I think, um, you know, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. A mistake is only a failure if you don’t learn from it.

Andrew Bull 44:47
That’s true. And that’s something you need to give that so a freedom you need to give to your team as well. If you’re going to empower them to take work off of you.

Jason Connolly 44:57
That they actually need to have the freedom to be able to come to to try something and it not work out, people make mistakes. You know, it’s I know, I’ve made books full of them probably books off the book off the book. But you know, I like to think I’ve never made the same one twice. And it’s, it’s actually the failures that teach the biggest lesson. So you know, you’ve got to, if you’ve got a culture where someone makes a mistake, they’re too afraid to come and tell you, you know that that’s not a great culture. And that’s only going to cost you in the long run. People should be you know, yeah, you know, you want a team, but if there’s a problem, they come to you with it. So you know about it or not? Yeah, you know, and not to the contrary,

Andrew Bull 45:32
yeah, well, you don’t want that culture of blame either, where actually, it’s not positive, constructive, people just pointing fingers and then avoiding taking on the next project that comes up, because that becomes very negative. But I also think there’s a responsibility from the leadership team as well, when it comes to thinking about mistakes and perfection, right? I think we can expect too much from from what we expect others to do, and expect them to do something to a 10 out of 10. ability, when if we lowered our sights slightly and accepted things to be six or seven out of 10, then we’d probably be happier, our teams would probably be happier or more full of confidence, and we’d get more stuff done. Most of the time. I think business leaders can procrastinate and slow things down by being too perfectionist about stuff. Yeah, and

Jason Connolly 46:24
I think I think that that’s difficult, because when it’s your own business, you want everything done 10 out of 10. Because, you know, you I think one one thing you’ve got to understand and this, this is a I think this has been a fairly difficult lesson for me to learn is, if your standard is 10, out of 10. People are never ever you’re going to get those superstars are nine or 10, out of 10. They don’t come along very often. When you do again, hold on to them. But on the whole, you can only expect to six or seven out of people, because they’re never going to have the same level of passion that you do because it’s your business. And you know, you’ve got to if perfection is standing you from moving forward, then you know you need to query Well, it doesn’t need to be exactly like the way I would do it. I remember when I started recruitment, I was too scared to give any of my clients over because I thought when I was going to do it, as well as me, and then I thought to myself, well, I’m never ever, ever going to move forward, unless I’m prepared to part with something. So as you know, I think you’ve got to be realistic about your expectations from people. But again, managing expectations is very important. You know, when you’re bringing someone into a business actually tell them what the job involves, tell them what your expectations are. Miss managing expectations is a massive way to lose clients. It’s a massive way to lose staff. You know, you’ve got to be able to do two things, one, see things from other people’s perspective, put yourself in their shoes. The second thing is you’ve got to manage expectations oversell a job someone comes in, they’re disappointed. Make sure you manage expectations properly. And by managing expectations, you know, under promise over deliver, then people are absolutely happy.

Andrew Bull 47:57
Brilliant. I think that’s a great note to end it on. Jason, thanks very much for coming on the interstellar business show today. Really glad to have you here sharing your amazing experience and expertise with us. Where can people connect connect with you and learn more?

Jason Connolly 48:14
Yeah, sure. Um, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. That’s the main platform I use. My name is Jason commonly commonly spelled c o double n o w Why? Well, you can go to my business’s website, which is www dot JMC hyphen Thank you.

Andrew Bull 48:29
Brilliant. Thanks for being here. So I had a great time talking with Jason today, he’s got so much to share about building a management team. And as he suggested, actually, it’s better to focus on building a leadership team. Because team members don’t want to be managed, they want to be led. And here’s some final thoughts about building your management stroke leadership team. Look to get your team on board with the process. Sit down with him, have a meeting, discuss where you’re at White, what you’re trying to do, get their ideas, perhaps you’re you’re staring at, you know, you’re missing some amazing ideas for how you can improve your leadership team and get more people on board and taking some of the weight of the decisions and executive type stuff off of your shoulders. Just by having a meeting with your team and talking to them about who actually wants to take more ownership who’s ready to step up, step up and take more responsibility. But that only comes by you being open enough to have those conversations with your team in the first place. And you might think well, if I bring all my team together in a meeting and say look, I really need some help. taking ownership of projects and men maybe long term, looking at some people in the business taking a more executive roles within the business. Your team are not going to see you as weak. In fact, they’re going to see you as A very strong person, because you’ve had the courage to bring them all together, and you valued them enough to ask for their opinion. So I think it’d be a very powerful move for you. On the flip side, you might find when you ask your team members, if any of them want to step into executive roles, or near executive roles, that someone they’re a bit hesitant, and they don’t really feel like that’s what they want to do. And I think that’s okay. Because sometimes when we apply for a job, that’s all we want to do just that job, we don’t necessarily want to step up to the next ladder of responsibility. And there might be a myriad of reasons why someone on your team doesn’t want to step up right now, if that’s the case, then it’s probably time to look outside of this your business and look at bringing some other people into it. If you’re going to do that, though, then obviously, the process of getting someone into position of being a leader or being able to run your business will probably take a little bit longer. So do allow for that, maybe bring them in, in not a CEO straightaway, maybe bring them in as a low position, get them used to the business, and have that idea of them taking on more and more responsibility. And then transitioning, at some point to being the main leader of the business, you can finally take that step back, the last thing you can do is look at bringing in a coach or getting some training to improve the confidence and capabilities of your team. Because maybe the reason that your team are hesitant to step forward and put their hands up for more ownership. And more responsibility is because they’re a bit afraid or they don’t believe in themselves or they’re lacking confidence, in which case, the right kind of coaching or training could do wonders for what your team believe they’re capable of doing. And eventually, that also might be the key for you stepping back from the business. I hope you enjoy today’s show. I had a great time talking with Jason. Thanks again, Jason. And I look forward to seeing you all again. For my next episode. If you haven’t already subscribed, please subscribe wherever you’re listening to this now, and stand stay listening for the short message about a business report that I’ve created just for business owners and business leaders just like you.

Voiceover by Josh 52:27
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