In Conversation with Francesca Calese, CEO and co-founder of Molo

March 23, 2021

Francesca is the CEO and co-founder of Molo, a digital-first business disrupting the mortgage industry.

She is a senior executive with more than 15 years of experience in the financial sector, working for some of the established institutions such as Deutsche Bank and Barclays, across a number of domains and sectors.

Molo is the first fully digital mortgage lender in the UK, with the aim of bringing mortgages to the 21st Century making it easy for customers to get financing for their home.

Here we cover leadership, inclusion and a number of topics in our fourth interview in the series.

In this fourth episode of our “In Conversation With…” series David Savage (Group Technology Evangelist) quizzes Francesca on inclusion, leadership, disruption, future skills and culture.

FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to this episode of In Conversation With. Today I'm joined by Francesca Calese the CEO and co-founder of Molo Finance. Thanks for spending a bit of time to chat to me today.

Thank you, David, thank you for inviting me. It's a pleasure to be here.

So, look, first of all, before we get into anything else, who are Molo Finance?

Yeah, so Molo Finance is a digital mortgage lender in UK. So we are a FinTech company now three years old who launched in the market with a view to disrupt mortgages and bring mortgages to the 21st century at last.

So look, FinTech as a term has probably been around for about a decade. You launched three years ago.

Why did it take so long for the FinTech market to wake up, and maybe not wake up but to turn its attention to mortgages?

Well I think wake up is the right terms to be honest. So I think it's a question I actually asked myself when I started the company and I kept thinking why this has not happened yet. Considering a mortgage is the largest part of financial services is a core need of everybody's a mortgage, you know, and it's the most fundamental financial need. I think the answer, I think lies in two things mostly, I think one actually probably three, right? So one is first mortgage is a complex product, so it's quite difficult, okay.

So it's not as easy as digitizing other products. When you issue a mortgage, when you lend for a mortgage you need to assess property, to assess individuals. There are lots of things that go into that. So it's a very complex product. So probably is not the immediate low hanging fruit let's say. I think second and probably the same level everyone sees that not only is very complex, but it's probably one of the most heavily regulated products in the world. So not only in UK, right? So it comes with all the compliance, a lot of regulation for one fundamental reasons. When you get a mortgage typically because you want to buy a house.

Having a house is a fundamental need. So the regulator wanting to make sure that the kind of borrowers are really super protected and they kind of are not exposed to any risks. So because of that there's a lot of compliance around it and it's more difficult to digitize. But then I think the third reasons, which is probably the primary one really is I'm simply speaking it was not possible, until two or three years ago was not possible.

I mean, a lot of the things that are allowing us to give our customer much smoother journey have come up in the last two, three years. If I think about in terms of technology development, things like being able to, you know, call data easily to API's, the ability to look at data from a customer point of view through open banking. These are all developments that happened recently even digital at DMV. So if you just take down these things I think it would be very difficult to even make it happen.

What are the main friction points when you're trying to put this product together? Because if I think about FinTech and I think about mobile banking, for example, you know I got a checkbook, through the posts from Barclays a few days ago I hadn't seen a checkbook in about 10, 15 years.

So wondered what the hell am I gonna do with this thing? No one takes checks anymore, do they? And I remember when checks, you know you used to pay it and it was like five days to clear and you kind of think well why you know you can send a bank transfer now to someone instantly and it's bizarre of the money doesn't simply appear.

What were the friction points with mortgages that makes you say, well it wasn't possible two or three years ago that now actually has changed.

Yeah, I think so, well, there are many. I think mostly kind of three types of friction points, right? So one is when you lend for a mortgage it's a big amount of money. So you're giving up a lot of money, right? It's not 10 pounds or even 10,000 pounds. So you want to make sure you're giving it to the right person.

So this is a typical credit assessment, right? So for a mortgage that the depth of information that you need to have and the breadth of information you need to have is a lot. And typically you didn't have all these information's available in a digital format until sometime ago in any way. So these are things about your disposable income, your recent account transaction, your income, payslip and things of that, there is really a lot. So you couldn't really access them digitally. So then you had to rely on a lot of paperwork, a lot of scan, actually faxes even there were sent at a stelios by the way.

So this is one area where you do need to do a thorough assessment, data were not available digitally. So you had to go through a very convoluted and manual process through paperwork, exchanges of paper, right? I think the second friction point is about assessing the property. So, and this is very unique to mortgages, right? So then it's not enough that you're lending money to the right person, but the property is critical because it's the collateral for the loan. So you need to be able to make sure that that property not only really exists but it's in good conditions. And has the right value that you are assessing.

All of these things, again, it's a lot of data, not available digitaly until some time ago, not reliable at all unless you sent somebody there to physically knock the door and actually take a look. Which if you think about it, I mean, it's still happening right now. But yeah, it sounds like not very technological, right? And then I think the third one is honestly is all the legal work. And I have to say that it's probably not 100% fixed. When you sign for a mortgage you probably sign a lot of pages of paper and contracts, the mortgage deed, and so on.

You need to validate a lot of legal titles of the property. So all of these things are really manual seal and they're still no, very difficult digitize. So this is another part of the process that has kept it so slow and kept it so manual for such a long period of time.

So kind of what you're describing is an incredibly complex product, you know. It's not like a bank account where it's one single products you've got all of these various different moving parts, and yet here is technology beginning to disrupt that market.

As someone who's kind of gone through that process and seeing how tech can begin to relieve some of those friction points, do you look at other areas, maybe outside of finance, where you go, you know what, this is overdue and it just, it's taking time where maybe there'll be a solution from technology that could really help?

Yeah, well, I continuously have ideas. I think in my job probably that's a little bit what I do. And I think the sky's the limit in terms of I think continuously the more you innovate, the more you find new frontiers to innovate. I think in general though, let me, I think maybe I can mention two things.

So I think the whole world of law, so legal in general. Now that's connect a bit to what I just mentioned before but I'm surprised sometimes how anything you do which has to do with the lawyer in life is still operating like we was operating 30 years ago.

So I think the all legal work, maybe there will be a legal tech certain point. It should be done better because even, if you do a transaction, you're using documents that you could actually automate a lot of that. So I think somebody will come and digitize law eventually. And I think that's a big deal, right? So I think there is a big opportunity there if you know how to do it, which probably nobody's cracked it yet. And then maybe it's less revolutionary but I do think there's a big opportunity to improve or evolve. And I don't know if it's a lot about technology, but it is in education.

So I'm very big fan of education general. A lot of things are happening. I think it's less about use of technology, is more about innovating the way people learn. So but is a complete different world, right? Very far away from mortgages I must say.

Look just one last thing to kind of question on that front 'cause disruptors coming into an industry obviously provide huge amounts of benefit for the customer.

But I suppose at the same time, your challenging norms. When you do that whilst you're providing a better service for customers is there that the aspect of just because we can't implement technology should we all be doing the right thing?

You know, we can move fast, we can break this, we can provide a better customer service but what does that necessarily mean for the industry that we're coming into and disrupting?

Okay. That, that's an interesting question. So let me maybe clarify stuff from one premise. So even if we see ourselves a technology company and we are in tech and technology is at the heart of what we do for me technology is a means to an end, right? So the reality model was not born because we wanted to build a fantastic tech platform that you know, kind of make it work.

So it was born because we were trying to solve some customer's problems. So we are there to make the customer feel much better, faster, better, cheaper, eventually. And one of the things we do that leveraging the power technology right? So I think it's always very important to keep in mind, what's the ultimate goal is, and for us, it's about customer experience a lot and technology helps a lot. So typically what I have found David is that these two things are win-win. So you can give much better outcomes to customers, even a lower cost with a very fast and innovative process, and everybody's happier.

So I haven't met yet any trade-offs if that's what you're pointing at in terms of the industry, unless you have specific things in mind, maybe for example where you want to mention, I'm happy to react. So typically what I'm saying it's a positive change for the ecosystem as well.

Also because, let me mention one thing I think when you innovate and you do something's not been done typically you're an agitator in the room. So you are effectively checking things out. And some of the people would realize, well maybe we need to innovate as well.

And living in a competitive environment where a lot of people try to innovate at the end, drives positive system impact for the customers for everybody, right? So far, I see this more as a virtual virtual circle rather than not.

So you're a female CEO and you're working in two sectors that are dominated by men, in finance and tech technology. Have you ever felt pressure to change the way in which you conduct business because of that?

So I say a little bit yes, but let me start for one belief, right? So I think I always believed and I still do and I always recommend to any girls starting their career right now always believe that I think if you are, you know, smart, driven, you know you work hard, you will achieve what you want to achieve. Now there will be bumps in the road, but you will do it.

And this is not, you know regardless of the gender in a way. So I think this has gotten me a lot, right? In my career, however, you know, we cannot be in denial I think there's no doubt to learn that it's more difficult sometimes for women, is actually takes more effort, let me put it this way, right? To get to the same place it takes a bit more effort, it shouldn't be the case.

So yes, when you realize that you do realize that potentially there is a natural instinct to align to the norms of behavior that are more common in your industry, right? So, and that happens I think yeah, a little bit probably has happened to me when I was looking more in banking because I was younger, you know subject to influence you look at role models.

Typically your role models are mostly men's because you know, that's a majority so you try to conform.

So I think a little bit, yes. I have to say today I have in a slightly different space because I feel you come to a point in your career where you actually are quite more also confident of who you are, how you want to do things and then you cannot unable to have your own personality and be a little bit less influenced. But I think there is no doubt that I think there is a little bit of pressure at different stages, you know in different industries.

And do you think that has to do as much with gender is just kind of coming into a traditional industry and wanting to disrupt it? I suppose, you know, we'll get onto leadership a little bit later but it is interesting isn't it?

That I could see a situation whereby some of the skills that you inherently have as a female, actually are positive. And yet, as you say, you go into a banking environment most of your role models are men and you might lose some of that along the way.

Yes, I absolutely think there is a risk. And by the way, I think the world has changed a lot, right.

So I started my career actually in consulting which was also maybe, you know, as emetic let me say as an industry. And I think the world has really changed. I think you're right. So I think there is so much value for Maintaining a diverse set of skills and recognizing the diversity and value of both of them that they should not be lost.

But unfortunately it depends where you are. Some environments don't make it easy to kind of be more authentic, right? As a woman. I really think actually banking has gone a long way in that direction. I think tech is the next industry that needs to do some steps forward, right? Because here is where there are still a lot of stereotypes.

There is a lot of coaptation, gender bias and so on. And I think it's a pity because that doesn't reflect meritocracy. So I fully agree with you.

You referenced that the fact that technology still has a long way to go. I've worked at Harvey Nash group for 13 years. In those 13 years,, the data around the number of women participating in the industry hasn't changed.

It was amazing to see so many people involved in International Women's Day and there being so so much buzz this year. But despite the buzz over the course of that time figures, as I say, remain the same. So how can we encourage, how can we genuinely get more women involved in the industry to follow in your footsteps?

Yeah, well I think a lot of things can be done, but I think real things should be done rather than cosmetics, right? So, and you're right. You know, especially the last International Women Day there's been a lot of positive momentum in my view. I think we need to distinguish between things that are not gonna move the needle and things that actually will do.

So from my point of view, what can be done? I think it's a lot is in the hands of people that take decisions. So effectively, all, you know, in a company who sits on the board or is CEO of a company venture capitals you know, investors metro capital, all the people are in decision-making position. It's all starts from one thing to make sure that they really recognize the importance and value of diversity.

Really means deeply, okay. And not just as one of those nice things to do to tick the box. I think once this happen there are some actions you can put in place to facilitate this. And for me, there probably mostly three, right? So one is to, I would say, instead of trying to create positive bias, eliminate the negative ones, right? And I think that is a subtle difference. What I mean by that is that there is a lot of talks as you've seen as well, right?

Okay about women, female founders, or you know trying to get initiative to get women together. So but the reality you should not apply different yardsticks, right? At the end, you want to look for great founders, for example, in tech and that's it. And then you want to make sure that you create a level playing field, right? So instead of creating a specific category that you need to invest in women, just say, I want great founders but then I will not apply. I will try to take out all the filters.

There's a really negative bias that typically there are. I think, to do that, there's only one way which is to get more people in the decision-making positions. And it's natural and at the end, I think we're all bias. When we take decisions, we all tend to co-op people that similar to us, you know, I'm Italian.

Maybe if I meet another Italian person I tend to get along quite well. So there's only one way, which is to make sure that there is diversity there where the decisions are taken. And unfortunately it's about making sure, you know in board level, managing team level , investment committee level for venture capital there are women that could compensate or actually offer a different point of view when making decision when not in people when making investments. In a thing related to this, I think the other thing that is needed is to take a little bit more proactive action. Proactive action I mean, so things will not happen by itself, right? So when I even do some hiring typically the majority of, I don't know CV's I receive there very few women, you know female kind of application.

So you probably need to try and make sure you have the ability to assess both. So go proactively, look for people to hire their women proactively look for founders, women. And then of course assess them in a very fair way, no but at least make sure that is the level of diversity. So at least I think these three things could help a lot.

So look, girls outperform boys in science and maths at school. But then so few seem to carry it through to further education, higher education.

Without going into why we think that is, I think that's a much longer debate. But what would you say to say 15 year old girl who's fantastic at science and maths, but maybe isn't thinking about considering studying those subjects.

I think that's the major problem because not many people know, but by now it's been also studies that one of the main reason why there are a lot of amazing women in university but very few women working in tech for example, afterwards is because there's a lot of opting out, which is effectively women themselves kind of not moving forward.

What I will say is mostly two things. So one is to say in a way lean in, so be self-confident go for it. Don't be held back because you think you're not right, because somebody told you, you know that engineers are only mans or things like that. Just go for it, be bullish because women often will be less self-confident than men's. So a little bit of a push should help I think.

And that I would really like to tell to every great girl out there right now that is thinking should I go for this or not? Just go for it. You know, at the end, probably you find out you actually are better than you think.

Yeah, and the second thing would be to kind of don't overthink it, right? I think one of the reasons why there is a lot of opting out is also because women always have the family in mind, which is good. It's fundamental, a family is important but that doesn't mean that it's a choice. And that you'd be surprised, but there's still a lot of people that still think really bias or they're very influenced by the upbringing thinking of, if I go into career that is quite demanding, I may need to, might not be able to focus on the family.

And that it doesn't need to be a choice anymore today; so don't worry about it you'll be able to do both. Because you'll have a lot of supportive men that will help you doing that.

So you lead a business which would be described as digital first. What skills do you look for as a consequence?

So you'd be surprised, a lot of the skills I look for they're not necessarily digital all the time or have skills. So let's say on the skill side for sure there are few things I always look for. Number one for me is numeracy. So seems quite strange, but analytical mindset, ability to deal with numbers, to extrapolate insights from numbers is super important because in reality is important, whatever you do.

And then that type of mindset allows you to do coding, allows you do problem solving in anything. And then of course, depending on the role, we look for different skills, right? If you're hiring engineers, we need to, you know coding is quite important of course but it's not the same everywhere. Design is also quite important skill in this moment but these are also specific to a role.

More in general, I think the minimum common denominator or things that we really look for in people are things that are soft skills which I think are even more important. For me, it's about ownership, so drive. So ability to take something and go kind of bring it to the end and not kind of let go which is quite correlated to resiliency and grit as well.

So having some kind of drive that allows you to kind of pick something and go make it happen, right? And the ability to make it happen, and without being discouraged by difficulties that's quite important. I would say problem solving, problem solving is fundamental. More and more we all face every day problems that nobody's solved before. So there is not a book, right? There's not somewhere where you go and look it up.

You need to be able to face new problem and find a solution kind of in a creative way as well. Yeah, this goes also with a little bit, thought leadership. So be able to think about the future in a way that is gonna be innovative and creative. I think creativity is one of the skills of the future in my view. And the final thing, which is not a skill but I'll mention anyway, I look for humility.

So big egos, big kind of don't work. I mean, now this very specific, but I do think, especially in the future and in the environments we work today is all about collaboration. It's all about team play and it's all about desire and ability to keep learning in a way

You mentioned creativity, sorry to jump in. But when you say kind of creativity, that's quite broad but I think it's quite interesting at the same time.

In terms of attributes do you think are gonna be most valuable in five or 10 years, do you think creativity trumps a lots of other skills that may be we look for today?

I think so, yeah. I think, I mean, there are other things but I think creativity is one of the skills for the future. So if you think where we are heading, right? So a lot of things will be automated, a lot of tasks and honestly, a lot of jobs that were out there in the past, they can be automated in the future.

So there are only few things that you cannot really automate and that will really stand out. And I think creativity, ability to merge together, yes a numerical mindset the ability to appreciate, for example, design, right? And it's quite a little bit, the future I think in my view. Is ability to think out of the box to provide solutions that are not only new but also fun. I think it's going to be quite important, yes.

So look as a digital first business, has the last year been BAU for you?

Well, I think, I don't know, but you know, for us, no definitely not BAU. I think last year I felt more like a roller coaster to be honest, inevitably, right? So I will say though, let me put it this way. It's almost like to say that it was a tale of two cities. So one side, some part of what we did were very BAU. So as a digital business we are not impacting the way we were work, working from home was quite normal for us.

The next day we decided okay, tomorrow we worked from home, everybody was happy. So we didn't have to mobilize a huge transformation program or all of a sudden to move things to the cloud, this was all kind of there. The other thing that was part of the BAU side of things is how we operate in terms of how we lend our customer relationship, our customer communication was exactly the same, nothing changed.

In fact, it accelerated, that for us, it's been an incredible year in that respect. It's been huge acceleration of digital adoption. So more and more customers were really eager and happy to get a mortgage online. And we didn't have to change anything. That how we operate doesn't require meetings, doesn't require paperwork. So a little bit more of the same in a way.

So let's say that the BAU part means that it didn't impact our business model the way we operate, the way we work and the way we bring the team together. I think the part that was a little bit less BAU, was about the fact that we are part of the economic environment. The property market was on hold for five months. Capital markets went crazy. So investors were a bit worried.

So clearly we had to be a little bit cautious, right. but was almost incredible to see how our core operations were, you know, not impacted at home.

In terms of the culture, what opportunities do you think we've stumbled across over the course of the last year?

You mean opportunities for a team for a?

Yeah. I mean, look, I say that obviously the last year has been really, really difficult, okay.

But to give you an example of where I'm going from with this I would say that whilst we communicated brilliantly locally in the business that I worked in we didn't collaborate brilliantly across geographies as a global organization. And we've gotten a lot better at that actually over the course of 2020.

Wow, yes, I think that's a very good point that you make it. So being remote in a way, what I noticed from a cultural point of view is the following. So because you're not every day in a room together and you are remote, then we all needed to make a practical communication, over-communicate in a way. And all of a sudden it didn't really matter, where you were based.

So to your point, we used to meet everybody in the morning in our office. All of a sudden, nobody was meeting anymore but we actually meeting virtually and you could be based in China, to be honest, it didn't make a difference. So I think last year, what it did it made the world smaller because it was a like everybody was communicating online.

So everybody could access everything. Even on a personal basis you could do a birthday party online and invite everybody in the world. So I think there's a massive opportunity of bringing teams together at a level playing field and unite companies, right? So for me, that should stay and we should not forget what we learned in terms of the lesson. I do think that we are human, so there are some aspects that we liked a bit, right?

So we are feeling also that in our team. So at the end, it's also nice to get together for a drink. And normally it's nice but it does create some good positive culture and relationships that go a little bit beyond. So of course you can try to maintain that and we did, but I think that part I hope we can kind of go back there at certain point.

You mentioned that the opportunities to get together and have a drink, okay. And yeah, we absolutely are human. What do you think might happen when we're actually able to see each other again?

Yeah, so it's super interesting because so I think there'll be few things that happen in my view. So there will be some behaviors as some of the things that we're doing now they probably will not change, will not go back to what they were. And I think we learn to appreciate that some things can be done different. And I don't think that will change that we will go back.

So things like how you work in an office. So I think the office dynamics will be different. I don't think we will go back to having, you know, every day, everybody in the office with a lot of desks and so on. I think we shouldn't because we all learn that you can actually work from home very flexibly and it's fine. And I don't think we'd go back there.

There'll be a new way of working together, new office environments, probably more for collaboration rather than for individual work. But then there'll be other things where we I think we'd absolutely bounce back to the old normal, let me put it that way. Things like social life. I think everybody's desperate to go back and kind of meet with friends, meet with, you know go for dinner, going for drinks. I think we'll go back to normality.

We'll even forget that we spent one year not going to the pub, right?

Yeah, no, it's interesting you say that. I was walking through a deserted Waterloo about a week ago and I, you know it was almost beginning to feel normal, but I said to my wife, you know, I think the first time I walk into a crowded room, it might feel quite bizarre but I think very, very quickly it will feel normal again.

Yes, yeah, I think we would probably maintain for a little bit some cautious around hygiene and washing our hands. This is difficult to forget, but you know eventually we will get back to where we were a bit.

Yeah, like you said you Italian. I can't imagine Italian not wanting to be gregarious and not having drinks and food.

Yeah, that's very difficult David, let me tell you it's very difficult yes. So in fact, you know, in Italy last summer already, there was a lot of everybody did everything as normal, which didn't help but...

No, no, lastly, I wanted to talk about leadership with you. What do you think makes you a CEO. Putting this tittle to one side you know, what does it mean to be a CEO?

Okay. What does it mean to be a CEO? I think a CEO of a company like us where you actually I feel more the founder than the CEO, to be honest. It's probably different than a huge company, like I don't know GE of a big bank, right? So for me being a CEO means three things. So one is to be the depository of the vision. That is number one.

So as you build a company to develop, as you grow it's very easy to have a lot of pressures and to kind of focus on the short term. And I think for me, I feel a need to be the one that always keep everybody focused on the big thing, right? So the vision ahead, because otherwise you can stop at every shiny object that you meet around the next corner, but you'd go nowhere. So I think it's number one a CEO should be the depositer of the vision and the one that aligns everybody behind the vision proactively, right? It doesn't happen by itself.

Second, I think it's important to also be aware. I mean, I think a CEO is also probably the chief troubleshooter in the company because that's what I probably spend most of my time doing. At the end, everything that needs to be sorted out or every issue, the emergency of the day, you need to find a way to sort it out. And I see it as my duty as well, to be the one that helps other people to be doing their job and solves problems for them, right? It takes away hurdles that they might meet in their journey.

And yeah, last but not least, I think you need to be almost a little bit the chief entertainment officer as well, because it's about motivation. It's about making sure the team stay motivated stay aligned, keeps looking, seeing the big picture but also has fun together. We spend so much time working that it's not just about work anymore. It's about growing and developing a team that is whether the sum of all the people is bigger than the sum of the parts, right?

And so for me, this comes a lot. We make sure everybody stays motivated and we also play hard, but also I have fun together

Just a quick one. You said that you're possibly more co-founder than you are CEO, but the two are slightly different, right?

Are they? So yeah, no, they are. So, yeah the reality, I think if you founded a company, you always will feel it most as a founder and actually sometimes disconnecting it too is difficult.

So for me, it feels that that company is his baby and you are all over it sometimes, maybe too much.

But you really want to make sure that everything goes well and that you will do whatever it takes to make it a success. And you have no limits in doing that. No limits as of time that you dedicate, no limits in terms of the ideas that you can come up with. I think a CEO, if you think about it is more of a manager, right? So it's more of making sure that there is a machine that works to deliver against that. So doing both in my view is the best of the world.

We can, you know, all of us making sure you are the manager in chief that is also the visionary in chief, right? But so I couldn't distinguish the two right now but I know that I feel more as a founder, yeah. Yeah. I think...

I know , I totally get what you're saying. I suppose my point is that maybe some of the traits that make you a great co-founder and founder don't necessarily always make you the best CEO. So as a CEO of a modern digital business what do you think you've had to work on? If you're being really honest, what do you think you've had to work on as a CEO?

Well, I think I'm always working on something and I think I believe that I always have to learn. And we all always have to learn and I like to learn.

Otherwise it gets very boring after a while. So what do I need? So far I think the CEO and co-founder really coincide very well the very early stage of the company because that's where the two things are 100% overlapping. I think, as the company grows and you have more people that come into the team great people and capable, then you need to delegate. That's the first difficulty, okay. So you need to let go a bit and because otherwise, its unsustainable, you cannot do it.

So for me, that was one of the things, I mean I've run big teams before and big banks, bigger than Molo but I was not the co-funder so I didn't have that affection.

So I think the problem here is that you need what I had to learn is to step back from some things and let other people manage it, knowing that of course, you know, we've kind of worked together but knowing that I could not be involved anymore in everything. And you need to let go a bit of the decision-making as well.

The last thing I'd ask, you talked about kind of, I suppose vision and entertainment and keeping a company going you know, that empowerment of your staff. This year has been particularly difficult with people being isolated, working on their own not having that social interaction.

What would be your one tip? What would be the thing that you would pass on to other would be co-founders or founders and CEOs about the best way that you found to help empower your stuff?

The best way? I think there several things David, so let me try to focus. So well I think first for me, empowering the team comes from making sure everybody is aligned, sorry to repeat that, but on the vision.

So making sure that all times everybody sees the big picture, because if you don't and if you want to build a mission driven company which I think is a call to make sure people are motivated and empowered, then you need to make sure that at all times everybody's not just looking at the silo or the task of the day, but knows that that's a small step they're working for something bigger than them.

That is in my view, critical fundamental, like so you need to know that their partner team and everything they're doing is bigger than a single person. So making sure everybody has the big picture the whole times is important. I think second, I would say is communication. So communication is key. So, and sometimes it's difficult because you're running from one thing to the other.

You really don't have time but not everybody knows what's happening. And so making sure that you convey the status of the situation, that authentic way, transparent but also positive in a way through communication, different form of communication is very important. And then I think just ownership. So allowing people to, once they know where we're going I think believing that they will know better how to get there.

So for me, there's a big difference between the what and the how, right? So we need to be aligned on what we want to do but then I want to, I trust the team that they might know better than me in some areas, how to get there and let them do it, right? So that for me has been quite critical

Francesca I wanna thank you for sharing your insights on the last year, on leadership, on culture, future skills. It's been fascinating to have your time today, so thank you.

Thank you Dave, thanks for having me. It's been very, very great discussion and I look forward to talk again soon.

And look, if you've enjoyed this episode of In Conversation, it's the fourth one that we've posted. So we've got three other episodes that you can dive into right now on harveynashgroup.com.

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