Is failing important for the growth of a company? With Joanna Swash

December 11, 2023

gunnercooke has released the latest episode of The Inspiring Leadership Podcast, hosted by Co-Founder Darryl Cooke and Sir Peter Fahy.

The series delves into the minds of inspiring businesspeople, to learn from the very best, and to understand what makes a great leader. Insights include recipes for success, behaviours to model and practical tips from some of the best business leaders, most successful coaches, and the world’s most influential thought leaders.

In this episode, Darryl and Peter are joined by Joanna Swash, a Welsh businesswoman, keynote speaker, and business mentor. She is the group-/CEO of Wrexham-based Moneypenny, a company she joined as the first salesperson in 2005. Moneypenny is a leading provider of outsourced customer service functions for companies. In 2021 she was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Business Council, where she advises the government on building skills resilience for the benefit of both education and business.

Joanna shares her career journey, from starting work at the local chip shop to becoming group-CEO of Moneypenny and how her determination has allowed her to make important career decisions. She discusses the importance of making mistakes when scaling a corporation and the role that culture plays in this, that having a culture of accepting failure is ultimately a good thing. She also explores how to sustain your company culture while growing overseas and influencing positive change as a business leader.

Joanna believes strongly in the culture that has been created at Moneypenny, and this includes the acceptance of failing. She says: “If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough and we’re not moving fast enough. I think if you can create a culture where it’s ok for things to go slightly awry, then our teams will keep trying and innovating. It’s a much more entrepreneurial approach.”

She goes on to discuss the culture at Moneypenny and how important it was for her to maintain it whilst scaling the business, saying: “How can I take this culture that we have here in Wrexham and bottle it up and deliver it in a different country whilst also allowing the people to put their own country flavour to it?”

Joanna is a proponent of being a business leader that drives change, saying: ”We’ve got a huge responsibility as business leaders. We have a seat at the table, whatever that table may look like, within our businesses, within our communities, within our friendship groups, and we’d better be noisy because we can effect change, great change. I think that if there are projects locally that need voices, need support, need important effort, then we absolutely need to be involved in our community.”

To listen to the full podcast visit Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Previous guests of the Inspiring Leadership Podcast have included Jürgen Maier, Dr John Blakey, Paul Hargreaves, Vikas Shah, Hassan Damluji, Alison Grade, Sir John Timpson and Roger Lane Smith, who discuss how to have integrity in business, the importance of mindset, the balance of process and innovation, and how CSR drives a business forward.

Darryl is welcoming inspiring leaders who are making a difference in their business or community to join him for future episodes. Get in touch to recommend a guest.

Read more insights from our guests in gunnercooke’s business magazine for good, The Reading Room.