Thanks for clicking the URL in my Twitter profile. If I may, I’ll share my story to give you an idea of who I am and what I do.
I’m Clare Haynes and the woman behind Wildfire. A Brit, based in the heart of England, I strive to give people the skills to make work easier. At home, I’m Mum and chief planner.
Not especially academic, exams were hard work. Working hard, on the other hand – in part-time jobs – came quite easily. As I easily understood behaviour patterns at an early age (once this was pointed out to me), taking psychology at Universityseemed an obvious choice. Geography filled in as my second subject and I researched job satisfaction and industrial productivity hand-in-hand (I relish efficiency.)
After that, my “proper job” career began in advertising salesin television in London, crossing into fundraising for household name charities, at the same time getting qualified in marketing. My “work harder, get better, get further” strategy went well until, in senior management, I hit a wall.
Despite “working for a cause” and the natural motivation that it brings, I’d had enough of office politics, egos, inefficiencies, unfairness and talent being wasted, unnoticed or mistreated. Working ridiculously long hours didn’t sufficiently break down barriers for my team to get the job done. Training and development I put on for them only scraped the surface.
So, exasperated and tired, I quit and took a long-time-talked-about trip to Australia. Waitressing in the No.1 Jazz Club in Sydney (my informal musical education) I had my “aha” moment!
One night I challenged myself to turn an especially rude customer into a super-tipper. I persuaded the chef to re-cook the steak to this customer’s definition of medium. No mean feat – the customer is always right unless the chef considers said customer a ‘Moron, in need of educating in the difference between medium, well done and grill-kill.’ The steak and charm offensive earned me a massive tip.
Mulling the evening over it hit me “Work is like steak!” .. Give customers steak how they want it, they become happy huge tippers. Give staff a workplace that works for their wants and needs and they welcome working in it. This was long before “staff engagement” terminology was the norm.
So Ireturned to UKand management roles, but also to psychology, job satisfaction and productivity by setting up Wildfire. Wanting to make more things possible for people at work, it began as part-time career coaching (when coaching was a new trend), rapidly being invited to speak at events (and veritably wanting to vomit with the nerves prior to losing my speaking virginity), consultancy and training.
Sooner than expected came my decision – to brave the insecure step to take big change management and training contract opportunities or stick to salaried security. I chose Wildfire, where I’m more valuable. Helping workers to have courage and to be “Can Do” is my cause.
I spent 15 years expecting greener grass in other towns, cities, countries and continents but now, with the Wildfire hub, I’m based back in my home town of Victorian Royal Leamington Spa. The parks alone are worth a visit, as my 2 children will testify.
I spend 1 or 2 days per week somewhere on site for clients, 40% of my time designing new content for workshops and programmes and the rest on client support and planning. I work with more than 1500 clients per year.
I manage to duck and dive my way to an enviable amount of time laughing with my lively little people. And I’m forever on the lookout for ways to be more effective, clawing back bits of time; I live on simple systems.
For me, I strive to strike the right balance and often don’t get enough sleep or exercise. Sadly it’s impractical to snowboard daily in leafy Leamington, though the school run is safer.
For others, Istrive to stop staff having that Sunday-night-Monday-morning-feeling; I want people to feel confident, influential and capable. Wildfire’s 15 and clients are in their 1000’s and I’m still only scraping the surface – but most of the time it’s making a difference. By the time my children begin careers, I’d like to hand them “the formula” to finding their own winning way at work.