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Perseverance, hard work, some tears and a lot of fight

Chatting about failure and success with Ruth Johnson from Reinvent People Management (Pty)Ltd

The NSBC recently held a contest on social media and Ruth Johnson from Reinvent People Management (Pty)Ltd won. Here is what she had to say about her company’s success and overcoming tough times in business.

Ruth Johnson is the owner and CEO of Reinvent People Management (Pty)Ltd. Her business is 100% black female owned and her business is adaptable, agile and compatible with your business needs and rhythm. She offers innovative people management practices for the future through strategic business partnering, effective change management strategies and interventions, and the optimisation of human resources. These services are set up to enable, enhance and empower both employees and employers in small and growing businesses.

When did you consider yourself a success?

Success is always a work in progress but a few key moments would be when I reached my three-year mark in July this year. Entrepreneurs always say that once you have made it past three years in business you are on the right track. That is what I consider to be a point of success. Another key moment was when a coaching client (who I coached almost a year ago) recently sent me an update of how my coaching is still making a positive impact on his life. It amazes me how I had that influence through my work. It’s surreal, but it’s an area of my work that makes me very happy.

To what do you attribute your success?

Perseverance, hard work, some tears and a lot of fight. This journey has really been a journey of self for me; an intensely spiritual one. I’ve had to learn to hear and also trust my own ‘voice’. In essence, I had to trust myself and do what I thought was the right thing for me. It’s been hard, but it has opened up so much for me.

I’m constantly reviewing the way that I approach my work. I am always checking and testing if what I am doing is meeting my client’s needs and objectives. Sometimes this even involves holding up the mirror to the client and reminding them of the objectives they set. It’s not always easy but I believe that this is where I am truly showing up as a business partner to them and adding value to their business.

Taking an ‘in the moment’ and ‘future fit’ approach to people practices. We need to work with where the world is and equip people for where it’s going to. We cannot remain static in our approach.

What failure taught you the most about your business and what was the lesson? 

The failure which taught me the most about my business was having a client reduce my contracted time with them by two thirds earlier this year. This was due to challenges they had in their own business that was beyond their control. During the month of May, I had almost no work but it reinforced two lessons:

  1. You cannot become complacent when you are generating your own income. You need to keep actively looking for new sources of work and maintain your relationships.
  2. You need to and have to trust the process. I started panicking and feeling super stressed about where my next client or work was coming from. Then I decided to let go of the worry and trust my journey. When I did this, I started getting calls about my availability to do work, from ‘old’ and new clients. I’ve been busy with them since June.

What was your best moment in business to date?

It’s hard to only pick one. Here are a few moments which have been memorable for me.

  • Running a development workshop with a senior management team in Zambia last year. It was awesome to hold that space for the team and to see the progress they made in three days.
  • Coaching someone and having them give you the feedback that “I’m eternally grateful for your guidance in helping me in turning my life around. I don’t even recognise the “old” me anymore, in more ways than one.” What started out as a career coaching need, transformed into some of the most powerful and rewarding personal coaching that I’ve done.
  • ’Walking’ with a client through an extremely difficult period in their business and still have them value your advice and guidance.

What drives you to keep going when it gets tough?

Owning my own business was always my dream. Now that I am living my dream it is my number one motivator to keep on keeping on. The second driving force is knowing that this is just the beginning of something bigger and having the opportunity to set my own tone and my own pace.

Lastly, what are your success habits?

My success habits are:

  • Authenticity and accountability.
  • Building and maintaining good relationships – 90% of the work I have secured has been through relationships or referrals.
  • Making it my business to know what drives my client’s business, to know what’s of value to the business or the individual.
  • Being able to remain objective and look at a situation from different angles, helps me to facilitate a well-rounded solution or approach.
  • Self-care – I’m working on this. Setting boundaries and knowing when to switch off

Well done, Ruth Johnson from Reinvent People Management (Pty)Ltd. We hope you will grow from strength to strength.