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“If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission”

“If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission”- ClearScore's pledges for International Women's Day 2016

banksy-imageAs soon as I saw this piece by Eddie Colla I was struck by both its message and choices that have been made in its characterisation. That’s why we put it up on one of our walls in the ClearScore office.

The sentiment is powerful for me and has been for many years. I’m trying to create an environment at ClearScore where everyone in the team is empowered to drive us forward to our goals. In my experience traditional company hierarchy is great at making you think, “If only I had my manager’s job then I’d make those changes” or “if I was CEO….”

Corporate hierarchy, especially in traditional industries, is deliberately designed to disempower so that risk is managed and control is imposed.

Controlled fusion

I want the opposite of this at ClearScore. What we are creating at ClearScore is akin to a controlled fusion reaction. Thoughts, energy, people, ideas, craft, obsession, innovation coming together in a controlled environment which harnesses the unbelievable energy that is created by fusion. The level of innovation coming from the team on every level, and not just on our consumer product, but also in the systems, databases, operations and our processes is amazing at the moment. Greatness is oozing out everywhere and improving our product everyday.

It’s chaotic. It feels almost out of control. It creates tension and sparks fly. We can and are doing more to enhance the fusion whilst managing the energy.

We make sure that we are bang on in zero tolerance processes such as those that are regulated but we always push ourselves to drive for greatness fast: permission just slows down the velocity of the delivery.

Level playing field

The second thing that I love about this piece of art is that it’s a masked woman. This means a lot to me, especially on International Women’s Day. We have been thinking a lot about how we make ClearScore a place where incredibly talented women can achieve their potential on a level playing field. 35% of our permanent team are women and Anna Kilmurray is our marketing lead and sits at the top table of the company. However currently we have no women in our tech team and Klaus, our CTO, is looking into this. For our 31 tech hires we have been through 331 CVs, 8 of which were those of women. We just aren’t seeing enough women at the top of the tech recruitment funnel.

Our International Women’s Day pledges

So making progress on getting balance into the team is why today we are making some pledges on International Women’s Day. We are making the following pledges:

  • to help women and girls achieve their ambitions
  • value women and men’s contributions equally and
  • create inclusive and flexible cultures

To learn more about these pledges, see the International Women’s Day website.

Concrete action

But how are we going to move from intention to action? Here are some of the specific actions that we will be putting into place.

  • We will be investing in recruitment advertising specifically designed to attract talented women, especially for the tech team.
  • We will ensure that we review salaries annually to catch any inequality, and we will aim for a female workforce around 40 to 45% of total by the year end.
  • We will continue to provide a flexible and understanding working environment that demands commitment in return for a “zero clock watching” culture. We’ve even supported one team member to work whilst spending time back with her family in New Zealand.
  • We will continue to invest in training for the team: currently we have one female team member on a Level 4 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship and two team members including one woman on a high potential year long training course with one of our investors. We commit to monitoring and reporting on our progress.

But after all these pledges, commitments and actions are implemented what I am personally committed to is creating a culture where everyone can do their greatest work – and no one should ever need permission to do that.


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