In this energising and inspirational interview, Andy Middleton, Chief Exploration Officer of the TYF Group:
Outlines the activities and services that the business provides, and how he manages a wide variety of revenue streams.
Describes some of the fundamental issues he’s seen repeatedly in businesses over his long career.
Talks through the early days of the business and when he first knew he was ‘on to something’, including some of its early successes in terms of impact on individuals.
Discusses the process and funding behind turning a hotel into an organic adventure lodge in his 20s.
Stresses the importance of the public and private sectors working together towards common goals.
Recalls how introducing the ‘ambition design framework’ steered the trajectory of the business, and how this focus allowed the business to drill down into its wider impact, instead of being motivated by money.
Reiterates the importance of finding and developing leaders, and of focusing on creating positive impact by involving people from all backgrounds.
Explains what a company needs to do to become a certified B Corp, and some of the positive experiences that he has had in meeting with other B Corp businesses.
Shares key learnings from his time in business including harnessing potential, asking yourself what the world needs you to do, and that ideas are worth little if your team isn't infused with your vision.
Or listen via your preferred audio player:
0:00 | Alan introduces the show by talking briefly about his history in business. He continues by describing the format and purpose of the show.
1:33 | Alan welcomes Andy Middleton to the show. Andy tells Alan a little bit about himself and his business TYF (Towards Your Future.) Andy explains that the business's roots are in nature, community and impact. He continues by detailing who the business works with, and some of the activities and services that the business provides.
4:14 | Alan asks Andy how he manages a wide variety of revenue streams, and how he prioritises. Andy responds by explaining that having a wide variety of income streams means that he can expect parts of the business to perform well at different times, due to various external factors.
6:13 | Alan asks Andy whether his business is affected by seasonality. Andy answers by giving an overview of how the time of the year affects demand for the business's various focuses.
7:42 | Alan suggests that the business has a holistic view. He goes on to ask Andy to discuss some of the activity programs that TYF offers to businesses. Andy outlines some of the team building programs that he offers to businesses, and gives an overview of some of the benefits that these programs offer. He continues by talking about some of the fundamental issues that he has seen repeatedly in businesses over his long career.
13:23 | Alan asks Andy if his business was started as a 'reaction to a need' as opposed to a long-standing intention. Andy answers by explaining how growing up in St. David's, a degree in Geography, and traveling around the world built the roots for TYF.
15:05 | Alan asks Andy when he first knew that he was 'onto something' with the business. Andy responds by talking about the early days of the business, and some of its early successes in terms of impact on individuals.
16:32 | Alan picks up on Andy's mention of buying a hotel at 26 to turn into an adventure lodge, and asks how he managed to finance that purchase. Andy talks through the specifics of the process, including fundraising and working with the Welsh government. He continues by explaining the concept of an 'organic' hotel.
19:50 | Alan asks Andy to talk about how his business evolved going from the 80s to the 90s. Andy talks about the success of working with businesses to take ownership of their work through 'learning to think differently' programs. He goes on to explain how he later worked in conjunction with Cambridge university.
25:07 | Alan suggests that Andy's timing in combining the elements of his businesses in the late 80s/ early 90s was ideal. Andy gives his thoughts on the importance of sensing a trend forming. He goes on to explain that he didn't focus on growing the business, but instead growing its impact. Andy discusses the importance of the public and private sectors working together towards common goals.
30:22 | Alan returns to the timeline of the business, asking what happened next. Andy talks about a big shift that occurred 10 years ago, explaining a framework that he developed called 'ambition design.' He explains that he believes that people often judge quality by using checklists that were developed a long time ago, and are now outdated. Andy goes on to give an impassioned explanation of the inadequacy of laws that affect the way in which companies interact with nature, and talks about how his ambition design framework is able to measure the impact of companies' actions.
37:16 | Alan asks Andy to talk about how introducing the ambition design framework steered the trajectory of the business. Andy explains how focusing in this way allowed the business to drill down into its wider impact, instead of being motivated by money.
40:19 | Alan suggests that perhaps Andy was able to use the framework that he applied to other businesses to reflect upon TYF's status and progress. Andy responds by talking about the importance of finding and developing leaders, and re-iterates the importance of focusing on creating positive impact by involving people from all backgrounds.
43:12 | Alan asks about the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on TYF. Alan expresses that while it wasn't possible for the business to work as normal, it was a powerful time for reflection and training for his team. He continues by giving some thoughts about the future of tourism, and the effects of young people talking about sustainability in the home environment.
49:22 | Alan considers the importance of training children to ask questions and make decisions from a young age. He goes on to ask Andy to give his experience of being a B Corp business.
50:32 | Andy gives an explanation of what a company needs to do to become a certified B Corp. He gives some insight into some of the positive experiences that he has had in meeting with other B Corp businesses.
53:40 | Alan asks Andy to share some of the things that he has learned from his time in business. Andy responds by talking about the importance of reminding oneself of one's potential, expressing his belief that this is something that the education system is poor at teaching. He goes on to discuss investing time into thinking 'what does the world need me to do?' and 'what's the biggest difference I can make?' His third lesson is that no matter how good your ideas are, they're worth little if the people in your business can't tell a compelling story relating to the company's vision.
56:38 | Alan thanks Andy for coming on the show, confirms website details for TYF, and wraps up the interview. He ends by reminding listeners how to get in touch with Love Business.
58:22 | Alan thanks Shaun, and wishes Skandinavisk a happy 10th birthday. He ends by reminding listeners how to get in touch with Love Business.