Today I want to tell you a story about something you may find extremely interesting.

But it wouldn’t seem right to me to start the story without giving you some context.

For people who don’t know me and don’t know what I do, I’m a coach and a trainer. I coach people one-on-one but I also go into organisations and coach their team, train their team, help build their culture, increase their sales, help improve their marketing strategy, alignment, all these sorts of stuff that make the customer satisfaction go up.

Everything that I do comes from communication, language and behaviour patterns that I see. Patterns in terms of business, because everything is linked.

Throughout the years I’ve been fortunate to work with directors, entrepreneurs, top-level CEOs and business leaders to help them and their team meet their potential.

This week I sent an e-mail to a CEO of a large recruitment company, a listed company, you know, the kind of company with multi, multi, multimillion pounds turnover each year with a large workforce.

And even though they have around four hundred employees throughout the world within multiple offices, I know from secret sources that they are turning over nearly 60% of their staff every year.

What this means is that they’re losing and replacing nearly 60% of their staff every single year. In figures, in terms of recruitment fees, retraining fees and all this sort of stuff, millions of pounds are spent in this company churning out new people.

And on top of that, a lot of these people are management level or higher.

That’s not a cool situation they find themselves in. I know I can help them fix that problem. So, I decided to contact the CEO of the company

I sent an email to the CEO in which I tell him about the human element in business and how actually it’s the people that make the business, and not the other way around. If a business had no people, not even one person, it wouldn’t be a business but just a name on a bare paper, right?

It is no secret that it’s the people within a business that matter. It’s the people within a business that pays for everyone’s salary. It’s the people within the businesses that make the business what it is.

Whether it’s a bad business, or good business or whatever’s going on, it’s the people within it that have the biggest impact.

Before I go on, I want to point out one thing.

I’m a funny guy. Well, at least I like to think so.

Joke aside, what I’m trying to say is that I’m not a spammer.

I didn’t send him a random “Hey, I offer corporate training, let me help” message. Every email I send I am myself. And every email I send is personal and takes a lot of time to craft.

Of course, I did the same thing with Mr CEO. I sent a “real me” cold email to a person I’ve never spoken to before. None of the emails you send out comes with a guarantee of a reply.

And that’s exactly how it went. A few days went by, I didn’t get a reply, so I sent him another email. Nothing fancy, just a normal follow-up email you would send in this case.

In that second email, I mentioned that I would love to just have a conversation with him, one hour or even less because I know how to fix their problem.

Here is where my favourite part comes in. The dream of any cold email sender just came true. I got a reply.

But when I read it, I laughed. He didn’t send me a joke back. But his reply was too funny.

I’m a huge fan of language. I keep mentioning it. Because it tells you everything you need to know about a situation. You just have to be open and look for those language patterns.

His reply told me a lot about him and about his business. And it’s such a big sign of bad leadership.

It was a short reply. Too short, you might say, but it was enough. It told me a lot.

Guess what reply I got from Mr CEO of a multi multinational company that generates multi, multimillion pounds


That was the reply, “Unsubscribe”. What does this reply tell you?

Alright, let me make break it down further.

Here is Mr CEO who read that email (he replied to it, he obviously read it) and here is little me who knows what issue the company has and knows how to fix it, offering just to have a conversation.

Naturally, I would have loved a reply that said “could be worth a chat”. But he didn’t go that route.

Another option for him would have been “thanks but no, thanks”. Or maybe “Hey Steven, we’re implementing a new plan now, but let’s maybe speak in six months”.

Well, he decided that the best response to my emails was “Unsubscribe.”

Obviously, I replied. Because, for me, it became clearer what I could do to fix their problem.

So, I made a reply to that email and I said:

“Look, you’re not on a list, this isn’t automated. It’s me, Steven writing this email right now.”

I haven’t heard from him since. I sent him a connection request on LinkedIn but he did not reply.

A company that is losing 60% of their staff turnover, needs something to change. And hey, if you’re reading this, Mr CEO, the door is still open.

The way the company looks like right now, it seems to be a very expensive hobby for everybody involved.

Now you might be thinking, why did I insist so much on meeting with them? Because if you look at their online presence, on their website and the videos they’ve put out, they stress about culture, about the values within the business, about the staff, the people within.

And yet, they’re losing the people within. They’re losing the culture.

In their subconscious, I believe they are aware of the problem and they would love to have it fixed.

I realized that I am fascinated by stuff like this.

I mean, I speak to a lot of businesses, a lot of organisations in the UK and abroad, from a 10 men team that turn over a million to multinational organisations that have turned over ridiculous amounts of money. And they get it.

They get what we need to do. But when you’ve got a company that is this big and it doesn’t quite get it, that tells you a lot. And for me, it’s a sign of bad leadership.

You don’t get a 60% employee turnover rate overnight. It takes years of neglecting a small issue until it grows and grows and grows into this big dragon that takes a bit more effort to bring down.

And from where I’m standing the “unsubscribe” remark made it obvious where that small issue started.

For me, his answer gave me a sign that that language pattern is going to be reflected in other areas of that business. It’s going to be reflected across the board.

From the way he manages his teams, to the way he deals with clients.

How can I be so sure of it? Look, if you’re always doing the same thing expecting different results, you will never get it. You will surely encounter the same problems over and over again.

Like I said. You don’t reach a 60% employee turnover rate overnight.

I started this article with a real story of something that I perceive as bad leadership, or maybe I should say naivety leadership. This is just one example, unfortunately, there are loads of them, and I am sure that you also have similar stories of bad leadership.

Look, I can’t stress enough about how bad leadership has an effect on everything. Everything within a company. Business, culture, but more importantly people within a business.

But you know what, there’s loads of opportunity out there for everybody.

To finish this post, I want to give you some food for thought that I consider really important. I believe you should write it on a piece of paper and put it in a place, where you can see it nearly every day. Here it is:

When you’re blinded by what’s in front of you, sometimes you need to step back and see what’s around you.

And since I’m feeling especially excited about this subject, here’s something equally important that I want to tell you:

If your company culture isn’t aligned with your values, and you would like a more engaged team, my door is always open.

You can book a free consultation call with me any time here:

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