Earlier this month, 23 strangers with more than 276 years of marketing experience between them were brought together in the 22nd floor of London’s notorious Shard building to become friends, colleagues and gurus all in less than 2 weeks. It was no mean feat by the facilitators of Google ’s Squared Guru course.
The aim of the course was to bring people from client and agency side together with a variety of skillsets, many with very little digital experience, to provide everyone with a framework of how they can become leaders of the future in a world which is becoming more digitally enabled.
Having worked in digital for twelve years, I wasn’t convinced of the value I would get from it. Could they teach an old(ish) dog new tricks? Could I help other people along the way too? And would a training session provided by Google look beyond their own offering?
Contrary to my initial expectations, coming out of the Summit bubble was a life changing experience for my professional and personal life. Even though I had some words of wisdom from two colleagues who had attended the inaugural Squared Guru course just over a year before, I couldn’t have predict what was ahead of me.
Apprentice meets Dragons’ Den
Delivering and presenting projects at pace was at the heart of the course; think Apprentice meets Dragons’ Den. As we tackled the projects, a number of inspirational speakers came in to share their knowledge along the way. These were essential to providing us with the techniques to deliver top quality work.
One of the highlights came in the first project, where we helped enable a local school to develop a careers programme. With only ½ a day’s preparation and having never worked with any of the attendees, everyone was unsure on how to act and behave. We soon got past this, knowing that we couldn’t let the expectant young adults down. Having delivered the project, everyone seemed to feel a sense of relief similar to that which comes after a new business pitch, as well as the satisfaction that we had done something positive for the local community.
My key takeaways
I emerged from Google Squared Guru with a number of hugely valuable learnings:
- The need to evolve my leadership style.
In order to grow to the next level of my career, I needed to let go of a few things in my day to day working life and enable my team to support. This will give me the freedom to be able to do what I should be doing as a senior leader within the business whilst ensuring my team and colleagues are well supported
- Pace of working
The pace at which we were working on developing solutions and presenting them back to various high profile people from the industry was a shock to everyone including those who worked agency side. Everyone adapted quickly, however, with the key elements being collaboration, teamwork and being decisive; qualities I hope to continue developing in my work at Summit
- New techniques on problem solving and approaching challenging situations
Some of the techniques used would be very fitting for an organisation like Summit. My plan is to work with my colleagues who previously attended the Guru course on developing a Summit Squared equivalent in 2017
- Giving more of myself
As mentioned above, one of the highlights was supporting the young adults with their careers programme. My plan is to work with our HR department to facilitate something similar for the local communities where the three Summit offices are based. This will not only give back to the communities, but also raise awareness of digital, as many of these people could be future employees and leaders at Summit
Squared Guru programmes run 3-4 times a year, and I would highly recommend getting involved if you have the opportunity to do so. More info can be found at https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/articles/squared-guru.html