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The Interactive Team

The Interactive Team reviews the benefits of visualisation

While I was interviewing one of the Team for an upcoming article we got to talking about mood boards. He was planning of making one to hang on his wall for daily inspiration – I refrained from telling him that I had a million online versions on my Pinterest account – but it did get me thinking.

When we have goals in mind, whether it be a promotion and the lifestyle that comes with it, or the way that you want you wedding to look (the reason for my Pinterest obsession) humans naturally seek out visuals to help motivate us towards that goal.

The fact is, that very few of us are capable of processing information without a visual element to it. Think about it, when you read a book you imagine the characters, you form a mental image of how you imagine the characters would look. Or say your pal calls to tell you they’ve dyed their hair from blonde to black – you immediately demand a photo because in your head that person has blonde hair and your brain needs visual help changing that information.

The human brain is wondrous, but the way we think can actually be quite limited. When we learn new information our brains immediately seek to categorize it and file it away with similar information. When we go to remember that new information we retrieve it via synaptic relays, the strength of that neural pathway determines how capable we are in using that information. So now you know that scientific explanation behind why practice makes perfect – how can this help you visualize and achieve your goals?

Well visualization might seem similar to daydreaming or fantasizing but there are crucial differences that makes visualization a powerful tool for goal setting. When you fantasize you only experience the euphoria of the end of the goal, the reward or accomplishment phase, you’re on the stage performing for thousands, you’re on a yacht in the Seychelles, you’re looking trim and fabulous in your wedding dress – but what makes visualization different and powerful is that you imagine the processes you require to get you to that reward.

 

Sports psychologists have long been encouraging athletes to use the power of visualization to enhance their performance, athletes from Wayne Rooney to Muhammed Ali – and you can bet Floyd Mayweather is visualizing winning his fight tomorrow night every punch, every duck and every weave.

It’s undoubtedly a multi million dollar business, with books like The Secret and How Winners Win topping best seller lists the tricks of visualization have gone from psychologist strategy to mainstream media.

 

So I asked around The Interactive Team HQ to see what people visualized throughout the day and how it helped them.

Suzanne, a colleague in another office, had been working towards a target all week, and when she hit it the office erupted into cheers “you can only do your best,” she said modestly. What did she visualize when working towards her target this week? “I have a Mulbery handbag that I really want to get, that’s my long term goal at the minute, every time I hit a target I think of that.”

Our Head of Recruitment, Stacey Smith, has this tip “when I’m having a bit of a dip in my day and things are just getting a bit nuts, I shut my eyes for a moment and I picture my house. I walk through the halls of my five bedroom dream home, I put my Chanel clutch down on the granite workbench in my kitchen and I make a coffee from my shiny coffee machine”

 

Managing Director, Gilles Baudet, shared a more business focused visualization that he focuses on frequently “I see the people that I brought on Top Gun as Directors, I think about what steps going forward I need to take each day with each person to get them to that stage. It absolutely motivates me, and I hope it motivates them too to know I take their careers so seriously.”

 

My visualizations are nowhere near as progressed as my colleagues, and not even close to that of Managing Director, Gilles Baudet’s, but I’m getting there. Instead of fantasising of fitting perfectly into that wedding dress I’ve begun acknowledging the process of getting there. To whit I now have a graph beside my desk where I can check off every glass of water I drink, so I can say to reach my fantasy, I need to do x, y and z and it will become a reality.

With visual reminders, both mental and physical I’m that much closer to making it a reality, and you could be too. Good luck!

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The Interactive Team April Top Gun Weekend

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Long before The Interactive Team was founded, Gilles Baudet had a vision. Now that might sound a little twee but hear me out. The formation of a business can happen in many ways, sometimes you have an idea of a terrific product or service, sometimes you have a vision of the sort of company you want to build, one of principles and innovation, or sometimes you start with a great name and you go from there. Now Gilles Baudet had two out of three, but he didn’t have a set name that encompassed everything he wanted his new business to be. So he went back to the fundamentals, what did he want the business to be about? Well Gilles Baudet wanted it to be dynamic, adaptable and cutting edge and so he chose Interactive. And then he wanted his new company to reflect what was at the heart of his business – people – and so he chose Team. If a business name is to truly reflect who you are as a company it should hit on the things most important to you – and to Gilles Baudet the Team is one of the most important things in his life.

 

10422553_629348150498945_6319728089282066312_nAs the company grew Gilles Baudet made the conscious decision to continue investing in the Team – recognizing it as a central aspect of the business. It’s now become customary to place importance on team building and networking exercises, everyday we take time to learn from each other – in fact new Team members are often surprised that a company our size would sacrifice so much of the day to it – but the truth is our Team is pivotal to our success. To CEO, Gilles Baudet, this investment is a no-brainer – which is why every quarter we select the top (and the up and coming) Team members across the whole company to go away for a Top Gun long weekend. Its always massive amounts of fun – but every activity, though seemingly innocuous, is specially picked and designed to maximize team building and trust.

Last weekend, from the 24th to the 26th the best performers from all the offices, from all the cities we operate in across the UK came together in Deneholme Country House in Nothumberland for three unforgettable days.

 

Our Head of Recruitment Stacey Smith said, “everyone arrived excited, but understandably nervous for the days ahead, but by the end of it we all left the best of pals”

 

Some of the most fun was had on the second day when the group was split into two teams for an adventure competition day. For every person that participated in the activities the team would gain a point – so to win the trophy at the end of the day it really required everyone to muck in and have a go. By having such directed activities with clear goals, it really gave everyone the chance to open up and get into the spirit of the trip. With every encouragement and every pat on the back the bonds of team-work and trust grew, it was a terrific trip and many Team members are already planning their next quarterly goals to ensure their place on the next Top Gun weekend.

Below are some snaps of the Team enjoying some of the activities, to view the whole album, please visit our Facebook page here

 

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SUCCESSSS

Gilles’ 6 Daily Habits for Success

So I read Izzy’s article yesterday and it got me thinking, while those points are good for when you’re starting a business it doesn’t give you an idea of what its like actually running the business and I thought that would be a valuable lesson to share. These are things that I do every single day – that I feel have helped shape the growth of the business – that keep me motivated and pumped up for the day.

 

So this is a list of what I do daily to help me run The Interactive Team:

 

 

1 I verbalize my goals

Every day I get up, sometimes I’m not in the best mood, there are more than a few sleepless nights with two children under 5 but to make sure I leave the house in the right mood I take the time every morning to verbalize my goals. I get out of bed and I stand at my window and look over the view and I say out loud what my goals are for the day and for my life. I tell it the universe. It’s an amazing way to set a positive attitude for the day.

 

 

2 I take a gratitude shower

Not everyone showers in the morning and I get that, but to me it works because it fits into my morning motivational routine plus it helps wake me up. So to help me get into the right frame of mind for the rest of the day I use the time in the shower to say things I’m grateful for, my beautiful family, how many great people are in the Team, my own personality traits that I’m able to motivate the people around me to help this business grow – I’m genuinely thankful everyday for the people around me and taking the time each day to remember that really amps me up for the day

 

 

3 I listen to motivational music on the drive in

There are some songs that I just love. They really set the tone for the day. I know that Huw used to listen to the Rocky theme every day, its a technique you’ll find a lot of top business people use because music has a way of effecting your mood instantly. I listen to Jack Savoretti every day, but whatever you love and whatever takes your attitude to the next level, make a playlist and hammer it. It’d actually make a great addition to your smart breaks to reset your attitude.

 

 

4 I share my attitude

Once I reach the office I like to take the time to talk to everyone I can and help them gear up for the day, share my passion and get everyone into the same mind-frame. I don’t see my time as my own in the morning, I’m with whoever needs me, whoever wants to learn from me or jam with me. Then I run the morning meeting and we spend time every time learning about how and why the business works and what each person need to do to take it to the next level.

 

 

5 I keep my energy up

Because my day is so packed, if I don’t take the time to eat I wouldn’t get through it all. We hold so many meetings in the kitchen that we bought a board table to accommodate us all. I love sushi, and I try to eat fruit too – I think its really easy to slip into bad habits with food so I’m always conscious to buy fresh ingredients when I’m out and then I’ll make myself sandwiches throughout the day. Of course, I do have the occasional espresso – but it’s without sugar – so I don’t feel too guilty about it.

 

 

6 I prepare for the next day

Every night I spend about 1 to 2 hours preparing for the next day. Its essential when running your own business, especially one with multiple offices across two countries, that you stay organized. I prepare the brief for the next morning, I review all the emails I’ve been sent during the day, I check our numbers and make sure the business is on track and hitting its goals. You’ve got to take the time each day to take stock of what you’ve achieved and what you’ve still got to do to reach your goals.

 

 

I’m not saying that if you do these things your own business will be successful, I just now that over the last three years of running The Interactive Team I’ve done these 6 things every single day because they suit me and they’ve helped my business grow. If they can help you change your own habits and improve your own start-up then I am more than happy to have shared them with you – and I hope they bring you as much focus and success as they’ve brought me.

 

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The Interactive Team reviews the 5 signs you should start your own business

 

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When The Interactive Team started in 2012, it was Gilles Baudet, a couple of mates, and an office with bad carpeting. Gilles had moved cities to be closer to his wife’s family (not to mention country!), he had a baby on the way and he’d just left a well paid job with clear career progression. It was a risk, a big, big risk. But he didn’t choose to start his own business and risk everything without doing his homework first – he had a clear vision of what he wanted to create and a clear goal of where he wanted to end up. So once you’ve decided you want to start your own business – well – what else do you need?

It turns out there are certain qualities that every entrepreneur has in common; signs that the risk they’re taking might well pay off. So here is our list of some signs that you too should start your own business.

 

 

1 You want to be your own boss

 

Let’s be real – there is no reason starting your own business unless you truly want to be your own boss. If you hate working for someone else or are sure you could run a company better than the one you’re in at the moment it’s a sure fire sign you should start your own. But you’ve got to want to be at the helm of it all. Unless your business becomes the next Apple, the fact is that for a very long time you will be where the buck stops. Even if you do get the chance to retire from the frontlines and take a position on the board – well, Steve Jobs couldn’t stay away and creatively drove the business in what was technically his retirement. So if you can’t handle the limelight then maybe being an entrepreneur isn’t for you. But being your own boss is a lot more involved than it sounds and often decidedly less glamorous than it looks. Sure you can set your own hours, and maybe even get a few tax breaks, but every decision you make will directly affect the success of your business. Which brings us to our next point.

 

 

2 You’re a thrill seeker

 

Now you don’t need to go base-jumping every weekend to be an entrepreneur, but a sense of an adventure definitely helps!

If you’re risk averse then I’ve got bad news for you – starting your own business is not for you. Being an entrepreneur is the career equivalent of a rollercoaster. Your stomach will flip more than once – and if you don’t enjoy that feeling you’ll want to get off the second things get too bumpy. But starting your own business has ups and downs, and you’ve got to learn to ride them out. But if you can thrive on the uncertainty – and enjoy the thrill – then you’re more likely to succeed than your counterparts.

Tolerating ambiguity is an essential part of starting and running your own business. You have to get a kick from the tension of not knowing if you made the right choice until the outcome plays out.

Entrepreneur calls risk “the admission fee” of being an entrepreneur – so the question is, are you willing to pay that price?

 

 

3 You have thick skin

 

It takes guts to start your own business, there’s no doubt about it. There will be doubters along the way, sometimes it will feel like everyone around you is a naysayer but you need the ability to stand on your own two feet and rise above it.

When starting your own business having a thick skin is more than an asset, it’s a must. You need the ability to pick yourself up, brush off all the negativity and get on with it. If thick skin isn’t something that comes naturally to you then there are a few techniques you can try to improve your resilience.

One such technique is a simple meditation: imagine a valley, see how the light travels down the valley, from the tops of the mountains, down into the glen the light comes to rest on a river, winding between the rocks and the trees the river flows peacefully by. Its calm but has a strong current. Leaves from the trees have fallen into the river; they float gently and rest on the surface of the water for a moment before the current takes the leaf away. Focus on just one part of the river, just one section, see the leaves come into view and then in time, pass out of sight. Just observe them, nothing more; just let the leaves flow past you. Imagine your worries, your concerns, your preoccupations are the leaves, flowing past you, one after the other the river takes them out of sight and out of your mind.

Resilience is like a muscle the more you practice the stronger it becomes, take the time to develop it by meditating. By letting other peoples negativity just flow around you not only will you resilience grow but your ability to start and runyour own business will grow too.

 

 

4 You’re motivated

 

No one is going to make it happen but you. Thems the facts! You need motivation like you’ve never had before. What was the most motivated you’ve ever been in your life? Was it studying for exams? Was it running a marathon? Was it asking that hottie at the coffee shop out? Double it. Then triple that. That is just a touch of the level of motivation you’ll need to succeed in starting your own business.

Do an experiment: set yourself a goal, something you’re really unlikely to do – for me its waking up early – I can do it, I just never do, getting up at the first alarm is deeply unlikely. Then tell three people about your challenge, make yourself accountable to them by putting money on it – 20 bucks a pop? If you don’t achieve your goal by the end of the week you have to pay out. If you do succeed they’ll each give you – say £10 – or something else you find valuable. And there you have it, a pretty accurate model of how running your own company will be. If you can’t be motivated to stop yourself losing money, even in a silly bet with mates – well 50% of new businesses fail within their first 6 months – and now you know why.

 

 

5 You have self-belief

 

There’s more to being an entrepreneur than motivation, you have to believe, beyond any doubt, that you have what it takes to make it. And it’s a different quality to motivation, motivation can help you get up in the morning, but you need that voice in your head at night before you fall asleep saying “you’ve got this, tomorrow is going to be amazing” – if you don’t have self-belief then, like a soufflé, your business will fall flat. But more to the point, if you don’t start your business with the belief that it will succeed then why start one at all?

Self-belief can come from a number of places to give you the confidence you need to see your business succeed – maybe you’ve had a light bulb moment and thought of the next cool app or you’ve spotted an industry with low supply and high demand, or maybe your mind is always racing and you’ve spotted potential in one of your ideas – but the key in all this is to believe not only that your business will make it, but that you’re the one to make it happen.

 

 

 

And there you have it, while this list is by no means exhaustive, what you see above is the building blocks to starting your own business. So, do you have what it takes?