While working with Chesamel on the Google Digital Garage project, I had the pleasure of line managing up to six Team Leaders. These leaders were based in three Google stores across the UK and between them managed up to around 60 coaches who worked in these stores.

The very first highstreet Digital Garage store was in Sheffield (I wrote about a blog about its launch here) and since then Google opened stores in Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh, each opening for about 12 months and getting a little bigger and better each time.

The stores are in popular city centre locations, open to the public to offer completely free digital advice in the form of seminars, workshops and one to ones (check out some of the #DigitalGarage activity here.)

Chesamel, the agency I work with are involved in the process from start to finish – beginning by recruiting local digital experts to work in-store and being heavily involved throughout.

leadership

Each store has two Team Leaders, onsite every day to manage their team on a daily basis. My role was to line manage the Team Leader’s performance and ensure strong two-way conversation between stores, agency, Google and other partners.

Communication | This involved lots of visits to store, spending time with Team Leaders, the wider team and customers. Plenty of video calls also allowed us to stay in contact remotely. I made it my priority to be open and honest with the teams I managed, filtering down information from agency and client. I took the responsibility seriously to filter back the great work the teams did back to the agency and client in the same way.

KPIs and Objectives | I met individually with each Team Leader each month – a time to discuss personal and store progress. We set objectives and KIPs together. We reviewed store numbers, the performance of the wider teams as well as personal goals. Good performance was rewarded with monthly incentives and group recognition.

Being Accessible | The stores I managed were open long hours, every day. There were also many events running alongside the stores in different venues around the UK. Being on call to support was key to being able to manage such a large and dispersed team. Setting expectations for how I could be reached and when was important to this working well.

I was lucky enough to work with and manage some highly talented and inspirational professionals on this project. Sharing knowledge and respect was imperative to the success of our working relationships, as well as promoting learning and opportunities for development.

 


Back in April 17, we joined local co-working space, Assembly Bradford. A space for freelancers, creatives and professionals founded by four Bradford based entrepreneurs.  We were asked if we’d like to take on the first networking event for the space, our answer was of course yes.

breakfast networking

The aim was to showcase the Assembly space, its freelancers and their offerings, whilst also offering a relaxed environment to network and learn – “Morning Assembly” was born.

Our workshop session, “Digital Mentoring and Knowledge Sharing” covered the importance and benefits of knowledge sharing and mentoring in a digital capacity. 

mentoring event

With an early start, the ping pong table was moved aside and our presentation corner was ready to go for an early 7:45 start! (It is Morning Assembly after all!)

Tea, coffee, juice and a little breakfast soon got bodies woken and mouths chatting for a bit of pre-workshop networking. We had people who knew Assembly well, some who had heard of it and some complete newbies, everyone was welcome and everyone was active throughout the workshop which we loved!  Questions were raised and answers were offered, discussions throughout the group showed how keen the Morning Assembly audience were to share their knowledge, brilliant, just what we’d hoped for!

morning assembly

There was plenty of time following the workshop section of the event for another coffee and a good chat with other attendees, some detail swapping and great discussion around business questions and issues carried on from the workshop before heading on to work filled days.

This was the first of a series of networking events hosted in Assembly Bradford, keep an eye out for future events on Assembly’s Twitter page. With a community of designers, publishers, architects, writers and many other creatives, there’ll be plenty to see, hear and learn.

 


It’s no secret we love a good coffee, so when it comes to business meetings we like to make the most of our beautiful Yorkshire surroundings and heritage. If you’re travelling to West Yorkshire for work or play, or you need an impressive spot to meet a client, check out our favourites and let us know what you think!

saltaire

Salts Mill

Top of the list because I love this place, for so many reasons. The village of Saltaire is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the neat, uniformed, Yorkshire stone terraces, once home to the mill workers, all lead to the imposing but perfectly formed former workhouse that is Salts Mill. Now home of David Hockney’s collections, arty boutiques and outdoorsy shops the mill also has three very appealing dining options. Now, just to note, Saltaire itself is worth a visit for the vintage haunts, independent designer craft shops, coffee spots and stunning park, but as you gather I could talk about this place all day. So, for a business meeting I’d recommend Café Into The Opera. Salts Diner is the main restaurant and is fun, colourful and genuinely tasty (pizzas recommended) but noisy due to the open plan layout right in the centre of the mill. Climb a little further and you’ll find the slightly more formal Café Into the Opera, for a nice coffee and light bites, all under one of Hockney’s impressive, original murals.

corn exchange leeds

The Corn Exchange

So inevitably your business meetings in West Yorkshire may take you to Leeds – and there are many a gourmet coffee spot in the city, but if we’re taking heritage beauty, the Corn Exchange should be your stop. Central and close to the train station, this stand-out building is a great meeting place. I’d recommend heading to the Humpit. Vegan and veggies are well and truly caterer for here, as are the health conscious. But this place is trendy with a street-food vibe and is placed in probably my favourite building in the city – just look up.

bradford cathedral

Bradford Cathedral

I remember discovering Bradford Cathedral by mistake, while wandering on a lunch break back when I was working a contract in the city. Surrounded by a mixture of tall mill buildings and new developments it adds to the absolute diversity of the city’s buildings and culture, but is like a peaceful haven in the city centre as you wander into the pretty grounds. Right next to the cathedral in the modern Kala Sangam Arts centre you’ll find FoodWorks. Foodworks is a social enterprise providing training for people with learning disabilities and the lunch menu is a delicious with a distinct Yorkshire theme.

skipton train station

Skipton Filmore and Union

Skipton is a pretty, bustling market town and at the head of the market-lined main street sits Skipton Castle. Walk along from the train station towards the castle and you’ll hit Filmore and Union on the cobbled high street.  Fast becoming a Yorkshire foodie favourite, with new branches opening all over the region – this is a daytime spot for those who know good food, with an emphasis on healthy, clean eating.

salts mill

Ilkley Friends of Ham

Friends of Ham is also becoming a popular Yorkshire meeting place. The original Leeds restaurant recently expanded, and an Ilkley branch popped up last year. Safe to say, they won’t stop at two. Fantastic for meetings as you can order a mezze-style lot of dishes to pick on as you go. It’s a little quirky and great quality. The Ilkley venue looks small but there’s plenty of nooks and crannies and even an outdoor space at the back. Ilkley is an impressive, lifestyle town, a mini Harrogate if you like – you’ll find boutiques and gourmet eateries, even a Betty’s.