November 30, 2023

Episode 96: Conrad Ford and Sophie Hossack of Allica Bank

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The Story

It's not surprising that I'd be excited about welcoming two of the leaders of the fastest growing tech company in the UK and, according to Deloitte's, the third fastest growing tech company of all time, Allica Bank.

On this Humanise the Numbers podcast, we welcome Conrad Ford and Sophie Hossack, who share powerful insights, valuable ideas and principles around growth – and they should know, given the rate of growth they're experiencing at the moment.

If you want to hear Sophie and Conrad unpack some of the fundamentals behind their rapid growth and how it connects and is relevant to you and your accounting firm, please listen to this podcast. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have, and I hope you'll take one or two of the insights and use them for decision-making and action across your firm. I look forward to seeing you there.

Scroll down this episode page for the contact information for Conrad and Sophie and for the additional, downloadable resources mentioned in the podcast.

The Solution:

My favourite interview question, which I ask in every interview, is, what is your superpower? What's the thing that you do better than everyone else? Because very often they're interviewing for the wrong job.

Sometimes people say, I’m a completer finisher, or, I'm the person who brings everyone together. But when you put people on the spot with that question you get some extraordinary insights because it forces them to think - ‘what am I best at?’

I've been a CEO and founder and nothing brings to life your failings more than being a CEO, founder or sole founder, because every failure comes through in the business and you've either got to learn the hard way that you're not good at certain things and you're not designed for certain things, or in your early career you try and hide your weaknesses.

I think that, as you mature, you are more open about what you are not good at. I'm not a completer finisher, for example. I'm not Mr Detail, which is why I was never born to be an accountant. I need an amazing COO next to me if I'm going to be a CEO. I'm also very grumpy in the mornings, so I need a sales leader who's excited in the morning. That's why I look for superpowers and people who have the things that I don't have. If their superpower is the thing that I desperately lack, then we've got a professional marriage made in heaven.





Connect with Sophie

Connect with Conrad

Connect with Paul

Resources relating to this podcast:

During the podcast, Conrad and Sophie discuss the importance of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to their business and to the success of their cross-functional teams. Conrad breaks down how the OKRs work in their business, why they are transparent to everyone internally, and why it's vital that everyone feels that the role they play is connected to the OKRs or sub-OKRs.

He also shares their ambition when it comes to the creation of their OKRs and admits that they don't always expect to hit them - they are there so that they stretch themselves.

Their OKRs connect everyone in the business to their North Star, which is 'To build the most recommended business bank'.

Click the button below to discover the difference that a clearly defined set of OKRs can make to your firm and how they can connect your team to the roles they have within your firm.

Towards the end of the podcast, Conrad mentions a book entitled Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, by W. Chan Kim and Renée A. Mauborgne.

He talks about playing to your strengths and finding a new pool of demands. To access a copy of the book, click the button below.

Conrad shares the importance of human interaction at Allica Bank and why, when it comes to making the critical decisions within your business, you need to speak to a real person.

Though tech can often help with quick decisions, it's good to slow down and talk to a human being when it comes to significant decisions or those 'critical moments of truth'.

Moments of truth matter to your clients, moments when you are really present to work with them on making the big decisions that matter in their business. They are a crucial part of building the relationship.

Having a great relationship with your clients will ensure that you're the person they come to for help with crucial decisions for their business.

Click the button below to discover how Jan Carlzon got this right at Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and how you can too.

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