ON Thursday 9 July, 2009, The Naked Office http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-previews/the-naked-office—virgin-9pm-405335 premiered on British television.
It featured an entrepreneurial company in Newcastle, onebestway, led by Mike Owen, and Naked Leader founder David Taylor, whose dual role was to strip away the problems to help the company grow while persuading people in the office, as a symbol of them being one team, to come into the office for one day, completely naked – the ultimate dress down day – Naked Friday.
The programme won numerous awards and is still being shown and talked about around the world. In the UK it is repeated regularly on Pick TV channel. David says: ‘It was fun, risqué and actually very focused on business success. Mike and his team were amazing to work with and went from strength to strength.’
Mike credits David with helping him and his staff to arrive at a clear vision in their time of need. David was asked to help raise onebestway’s flagging fortunes after Mike had been forced into making redundancies at the start of the credit crunch.
David came up with the controversial and inspired notion of asking Mike and his team to get naked for one day to help with team-bonding, openness to each other and communication. The results were astounding, with increased morale, customers, turnover and most importantly, profits.
The Sun http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/2511797/The-office-of-bare-trading.html dubbed it The Office of Bare Trading, describing David as a cheeky consultant, in true tabloid style.
Onebestway has had dramatic growth with its new mission – its creative work and ideas are resulting in greater sales for the business. ‘We lift your claims beyond the sameness of others and make them believable, persuasive and urgent,’ is the onebestway maxim.
Not content with his company’s lift-off – and no we are not talking about clothes again here – Mike decided there is more than one best way to make a difference in business. He has since launched leading brand consultancy Violet Bick Limited, whose clients include Coca Cola, Virgin and Nike, and he has a third enterprise, started with another of those naked originals Lisa Forster, in angelfysh limited. This is a focused Search Engine Optimisation business working with global market leaders with the promise of an entry on Google’s front page.
Mike and David took three overall lessons from the programme that still hold true today:
1. People are not a company’s number one asset – they are your only asset.
2. The leader as role model is key – as David says ‘without Mike this would never have worked.’
3. Business can and must be fun!
‘Life is a journey of course, and very scary sometimes,’ says Mike. ‘But on the subject of “what I want to be when I grow up” David helped us to see that if you can see it in your mind’s eye – vividly, today, you can be it, today. You just have to imagine what you think it feels like to be this ‘thing’ that you want to be – what behaviours define this ‘thing’ – then do them, now. That’s all we are doing.’
Naked Leader’s Formula for Guaranteed Success, was the key in Mike’s thinking.
Now he concentrates on the fundamentals of business, particularly when it comes to customer service.
‘Customers demand five things – Accuracy, Availability, Partnership, Advice and Enrichment,’ says Mike.
‘They want organisations to help them to learn, to bring things that will improve and exceed their expectations so they can take advantage of them. To achieve this, get your brand right. Marketing means nothing without a strong brand.’
It is a simple philosophy. Simple and straightforward. Mike Owen’s burning ambition – naked even – is being realised.