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Ohh the good life….

“A healthy body is a healthy mind”

So, at the Interactive Team, we’re all about the healthy living feels. We work hard and to work hard, you must fuel your body with the best you can, and that doesn’t mean beers! (Although we do love a rewarding drink from time to time.)

Our philosophy is that we want to maintain good health because we want to feel the best we can to do the best job we can. Gilles our director is Mr Healthy to say the least! We’ve got Nutri Bullet for smoothies and juices, the fridge is packed with fruits and veggies and he’s never far away from a plate of fresh fruit. He hits the gym and can be seen after work kicking around in his gym gear, ready to pump some iron.

There is nothing that zaps your confidence more in a client facing role, maybe you’re too tired or too many takeaways is taking its toll on your suit trousers! Now, if you know us, we love pizza and we like pizza on a Tuesday in the office, just to give the team a chance to eat, chat and bond a bit. At the same time though, we love the good life, the healthy life.

We can also say we’re no strangers to a massage, we sometimes get treated to a back rub from a professional who comes in especially to loosen us up for a big event!

We’ve compiled a list on how to be healthy at work! Check it out..

  1. Be a healthy snacker! Get your 5 a day by buying fruit at the start of the week and grazing throughout. We promise you it’ll do you better than a cake or crisps. Often we think we are hungry, and reach for the fatty snacks, when in actual fact, it’s water we need!

                                         

2.Keep hydrated! Get your daily dose of H2o and drink at least 8 glasses of water a day! We’re lucky we have a nice water cooler to make it even easier! Bottoms up!

3.Eat a healthy lunch. If you eat foods with a low GI. (glycaemic index) Low GI foods keep you healthy because they slowly release energy to keep you going all day (glycaemic index) Then you’re going to be less likely to hit that horrible afternoon slump when your blood sugar level spikes then drops.

4.Keep yourself supple with a massage! Tension neck syndrome (TNS) can occur when the neck and upper shoulders are held in a fixed, awkward position for long periods of time, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

                                            

5.Protect your peepers! Eyestrain is another problem that can be encountered in front of a computer. Go for regular eye tests to keep your eyes sparkling.

  1. Give yourself a break! A healthy tip that all of us want to hear is that holidays are an important part of staying healthy at work. Too much work = burn out as stress impairs the immune system!
  1. Your keyboard, mouse, and phone can end up with thousands of germs that could potentially make you sick.Don’t be far from anti-bacterial hand gel.
  2. Work out with your work buddies and set yourself achievable goals! Get fit together.

 

 

9.Listen to music in the morning! Music releases endorphins and gets the blood pumping, ready for a new day! Listening to your favourite music is good for the soul

10. Most importantly, communication is key. If something is troubling you, get it out in the open, you’ll feel better getting it off your chest and you’ll likely find a solution. It’s a win win situation.

Think Tank

The Interactive Team’s 4 key components to a Think Tank

In the reconfiguration of our office space to accommodate our Head of Media’s move up from Glasgow we moved desks around in the newly crowned Media Team room and now with extra space we’ve installed whiteboards and a spare chair – aptly named the Gilles Chair.

Our CEO, Gilles Baudet, despite having a corner office, with an enormous desk (which I’ve been not so subtly coveting) spends the majority of his time when he’s in the Glasgow HQ and not visiting our other branches in the Media Team room – so much in fact that we have a designated chair for him.

But there’s a good reason for it, while overseeing the media accounts of every branch, organising our nationwide conferences, and master classes, training material and – well everything in between, we need direct access to the CEO Gilles Baudet to make decisions.

It’s become a really fun atmosphere, and one I suspect few offices would be able to replicate. Due to the importance CEO Gilles Baudet places on the work we do there is a ripple effect of respect across The Interactive Team. When people need to solve a problem they now come into our office, they bounce ideas off us, and its seen as a space to get things “sorted”

Now, while not every business out there needs a dedicated Media Team, The Interactive Team is quite lucky in the sense that through CEO Gilles Baudet’s vision we’ve inadvertently created a Think Tank – which we can safely say from experience – every business should have.

Baudet says “I love it, every single day I’m excited because of the energy that’s generated from this room” – and from a CEO of a company with over 150 team members nationwide that’s a pretty glowing endorsement!

 

Contrary to what you might think, a Think Tank truly doesn’t require a great deal of resources, so from our research and from our own experience we’ve compiled a list of the 4 key components of setting up your own Think Tank!

 

 

1/ Key members

In order to achieve results from your Think Tank it is crucial that you gather key members to be a part of your team. You need a manager: someone in a position to make financial decisions, someone that has a definitive say over what happens going forward. At The Interactive Team we’re fortunate in that the CEO of the business, Gilles Baudet, is in our Think Tank. If we’ve got a deadline, you can guarantee Gilles Baudet will give us what we need to get things done.

It’s also essential to have someone deeply practical on your Think Tank. Who is it in your office that keeps track of everyone’s birthdays? Usually the person who keeps track of all the important dates and figures is a good person to have sitting in on your Think Tank sessions. They’ll be level headed enough not to run away with an idea before you’ve looked at the logistics. Sometimes they’ll end up being ‘the bad guy’ because it will be their job to say if something is feasible or not, but if you want your Think Tank to make cost efficient decisions you simply can’t skip this member.

And of course you need the creative types, the ones that will come up with whacky ideas, the bright sparks to solve problems you hadn’t even seen coming (not that I’m tooting my own horn here!). The other people are there to rein them in and the creative types are there to drag the others along to the overall vision. Luckily in The Interactive Team we’ve achieved a balance in our Think Tank members, everybody has a good balance of practicality and creativity – but we make room for each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which is why we’ve really come into our own with the business.

 

 

2/ Equipment

You don’t need a smart board (although if you have the budget for them they’re a dream for sharing your progress later on and saving your ideas!) to have a Think Tank but what you do need is some way to put your ideas up in front of the group.

Psychologists will tell you that visuals are a crucial aid to helping humans organise and analyse. So the bigger the board the better. In The Interactive Team we have whiteboards lining our training room. There’s only one office that doesn’t contain a whiteboard and that’s Gilles Baudet’s own office. In the Media Team we’re considering taking down a beautiful black and white 4 by 3 foot image to make way for another whiteboard. But if your budget doesn’t stretch to wall-to-wall whiteboards, a mounted flip chart can work just as well, or even an overheard projector if your office is old school.

Obviously a good supply of whiteboard markers is crucial. The Interactive Team has a standing order with our stationers because we use them so frequently. Something we’ve now instituted that I can personally recommend is a perpetual calendar, laminated and placed in a prominent position. This way when we’re planning a master class, a road trip to another branch, or coaching sessions we can pop it on our visual calendar as well as on our phones so everyone can see what we need to keep in mind before making more plans.

 

 

3/ Time

Putting something truly great together doesn’t happen overnight. There’s nothing worse than realising that you need to prepare booklets for a conference happening the following day. Thankfully we’ve never had this experience at The Interactive Team, because with so much going on everyday it is paramount that you schedule your days to stay on top of your tasks with enough room leftover for anything unexpected.

Now that you have your perpetual calendar prominently displayed, if you can see something coming up that you need to be prepared for it is essential to give yourself the time to prepare for the day. Set up a Think Tank session well ahead of the day, some people will need to make room in their dairy for sessions with the Think Tank, so if you can all get an app to share calendar dates that would be useful too.

But not only do you have to schedule a session, you also have to manage the time you have effectively.
At The Interactive Team HQ, especially on days CEO Gilles Baudet joins our sessions, its easy to get carried away with having a laugh – and while you don’t want to stifle that fun, creative energy, you also don’t want to leave yourself running late for another appointment. With Gilles Baudet’s busy schedule in mind we always leave an extra 15-minute cushion time to make sure we never run over time.

Finally another piece of advice on this matter is to schedule a deadline. If you’ve created an exciting new project there’s nothing worse than not setting a realistic time scale on it. If you don’t learn to schedule a deadline, you may find that your ideas never get off the ground – which leads us to our last key component of setting up your own Think Tank.

 

 

4/ Follow-ups

There’s no point coming up with an amazing idea if you don’t follow it up with progress and completion of the task – which is why incorporating follow-ups into your Think Tank game plan is crucial. Just a five-minute follow-up is all it takes to make sure everyone is on the same page and heading in the same direction.

If you all agree at the session to the dates and times, then space out your follow ups between then and the deadline you have a clear set of expectations for progress. Using follow ups as a means of reporting your progress can also be a means of demonstrating your return on investment to management should you need it in future. You will have a ready-made list of when key components of your project were completed.

 

Well, I hope you can use the experience of The Interactive Team Think Tank under the direction of CEO Gilles Baudet as a guide to setting up your own company Think Tank. Genuinely I can’t recommend the process more highly. Through formally recognising and placing an importance on the meetings that take place in the Media Team we’ve created a powerfully positive group within the business that has the tools and motivation to drive significant change for the company overall – if that’s not something you want for your own business then I don’t know what is!

If you want to share your own Think Tank experiences or see what The Interactive Team and CEO Gilles Baudet has been up to why don’t you visit our Facebook page here.

The Interactive Team

The Interactive Team’s tips to handling responsibility

This week our Managing Director of The Interactive Team, Gilles Baudet, is taking a very well deserved break. Naturally on Friday about a million things were popping up, but as my colleague Stacey pointed out, the holiday wasn’t just for Gilles, it was for his family, so it went ahead – much to his wife’s relief no doubt.

Now, even though The Interactive Team is very much built around Gilles own ability to drive the business forward, it doesn’t stop just because the boss is away. In the meantime the Glasgow HQ is being handled by one of our Campaign Managers, Joel, who, pending promotion will be launching our branch in Birmingham.

I grabbed Joel for 5 minutes inbetween his duties and asked him what its like stepping up to the plate, and shouldering the responsibility of running the branch on his own, this is what we discussed.

 

“Its exciting, it gives you an opportunity to prove yourself” he said instantly.

Wasn’t he scared of the responsibility, I wondered out loud.

“No, Gilles has been personally training me for a while now, so I’ve learnt what is expected of me and what it takes. He wouldn’t have left me in charge if I couldn’t do it.

The biggest challenge while Gilles is away is being prepared for everything – but I’ve learnt to have a plan A, B, and C because in this business there’s always something that can happen.”

 

This goes back to that old adage – proper preparation prevents – well, you know the rest. It’s a hallmark of this company to be hyper prepared. We have a Dropbox full of learning material to help not only our Events Team, but our Management Team too. With daily management meetings and training sessions, it is beyond crucial to be prepared for every question, every outcome, every possible thing that could happen. We work in the moment, live data uplinks mean live decisions, which equals live results, results that directly effect our clients – and our customers too, and so without proper preparation anything could happen.

 

“When you’re running an office,” Joel says, “its important to set the tone, and the bar, high so people know what your standard is – when people are looking to you for an example they’ll do 70% of what you do right and 200% of what you do wrong”

Whether I agree with those statistics or not, he has a point – and I don’t like those odds.

“Everything you do has to be above and beyond of normal standards,” Joel says of coping with that responsibility. That sounds pretty tough I say, “doing all the easy things correctly, that’s the hard part,” Joel laughs.

While Joel might have been having a laugh, again, he has a point. Leadership is a myriad of smaller tasks that goes together to make a larger whole. While each task in and of itself might seem inconsequential or be fairly easy or simple to perform, each action has an impact on the people around you, and each one has to represent The Interactive Team at its best.

With that kind of responsibility stacking up I wondered what Joel’s goals for this week were, personally and for The Interactive Team.

“I guess what I’m most looking forward to is proving to Gilles I’m ready to open the Birmingham branch” he replies.

The Interactive Team operates on merit-based progression, so this is the exactly the chance a Campaign Manager can use to earn a further promotion.

Professionally Joel’s goals for the week were concerned with motivating the Events Team.

“I want to show people you can achieve your goals, whether they’re your own performance, or financial – I’m going to lead by example.” Joel continues, “it’s easier than you think to progress in this business if you just set your goals and achieve them step by step every day.”

 

As someone personally trialing different ways to hit my goals I dug a little deeper. How does Joel go about hitting his own goals?

“You know, you’ve got to facilitate your pathway to hit your goals,” he paused.

“I prepare every single day. I’m ahead of my day by getting up earlier so I have more time to do what I’ve got to do, I’m focused because I go to bed early,” Joel finished.

My mind leapt to last weeks experiment in ways to wake up earlier, and the advice was consistently, start as you mean to go on, ie go to bed early to wake up early (you can read more of my morning routine experiment here).

 

“And I always have back up plans” Joel smirked.

 

So the key lessons from Campaign Manager Joel this week will be to lead by example, to take care at every step so they add up to a good whole, and if you want to hit your professional and personal goals to prepare for every outcome.

 

For the rest of the week I’ll be continuing my goal setting and visualisation experiment I started here – if you have any advice or want to share your own experience head on over to our Facebook company page here.

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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?