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The Inside Out way of working

Leaving behind a bit of something good

When I was about 8 or 9, a Japanese family came to live next door to us. Peeking curiously from behind the curtain in the front window as they began moving boxes of belongings in, I spotted a young girl, about my age, and gave her an eager wave.

It wasn’t long before our parents got talking, and I got to meet Noriko at her doorstep. In a matter of weeks we were best friends; playing with our Barbies, going out on our roller blades (it was the 90s) and playing libraries (really!). She taught me how to say things like ‘hello’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in Japanese, and she soon knew that my evening ‘tea’ wasn’t literally just a cup of tea.

Noriko's Dad had been seconded to work at Nissan in Washington for a year. When his stint was up the family was going to move back to Japan, leaving me to say goodbye to my new friend.

Before doing so, Noriko’s mum planted a Japanese maple in their garden. Every spring when the leaves turned a magnificent scarlet colour, and every autumn when they faded to a brilliant orange, we were reminded of, and remembered fondly our former neighbours.

Why am I sharing this story?

This week I was reminded of how important it is to leave something good behind wherever you and whichever life you touch. And for me, this applies directly to the work we do at Inside Out.

When I set up the business in 2020, one of my first clients was a new, growing company that was (and still is) doing great things. They wanted to contract with me, but instead I persuaded them to keep our arrangement going month to month. I wanted to give them the flexibility to cease our agreement when they no longer needed or wanted my services. After about 18 months that time came, when it made more sense for them to hire someone internally to do what we'd been doing. We were then able to have a really grown up conversation and support them to transition to their new way of working.

People asked me then if I was disappointed to be losing a client to an internal candidate, and my answer surprised them. While I was disappointed to no longer be working with this great client, I was delighted that they had recognised, through our relationship and achievements together, the value of great communications. I was also thrilled that they were going to be able to grow their business and develop their offering to their clients in a more sustainable way.

With another client, we’ve worked closely with their internal communications team to share new ideas, ways of working and our expertise that’s resulted in better channel management and them using innovative new tools. One of the team shared with me that they would never have dared try to convince leadership of getting involved in enterprise social media had we not shown them how it could work and given them the confidence to try it.

The point of all of this is, we’re not meant to be there forever, we're just passing through. We will help our clients through a major programme of work or a challenging time, provide expert guidance and support, but most importantly leave them in a better position to where they are today.

We will work with their internal teams to upskill them and transfer our knowledge, so they will be equipped to deal with these issues next time they arise. Sure we’ll always be here for them if they need additional support, but the point is really to leave them in a better state, skills, experience and confidence-wise than when we started working together.

Whether it's supporting our clients' interns or students to learn communication skills for their future careers, developing senior leaders or working with the existing comms team to share our skills, frameworks and expertise, we're all in. Sharing is caring, as my three year old likes to remind me, and I think it's fair to say we care.

Just like Noriko and her family, we hope we leave behind something good with all of our clients and partners as we pass through; a reminder of our teamwork and collaboration, a new way of thinking, or a really engaging campaign.

Danielle Phillips, Founder and Principal Consultant,

Inside Out Communications Consulting

Find out more about Inside Out Communications Consulting and our services on our website


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