Roger Grant - Personna - Interview by Super Super Dope
Updated: Jun 17
We Love The Honest Thoughts From Roger Grant, CEO of PERSONNA. Read more in this astute interview.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
I’m a people guy. I can see creative potential in people and like pulling the million-dollar ideas out of their heads. Sometimes others can see your potential better than you can see it in yourself. That’s my SuperSuperDope.
How and Why did you start PERSONNA?
Let me take the cat out of the bag here. Sophia my business partner and life partner started PERSONNA in 2010. I joined in 2014 to pivot the business. We could see a cliff coming. We were doubling our business year on year, but we realized that we were no longer fighting traditional competitors. We were going head-to-head with mighty tech titans dressed up as grandma. I thought: “Will our growth be disrupted? And if we needed to change, what do we change to?”
We prototyped several new services and eventually pivoted to focus on the people side of change, providing coaching & facilitation.
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What does an average day look like for PERSONNA?
My day begins with walking my boys to the bus stop at 6:21 am – these are some of my most magical conversations of the day. I then meditate for 10mins before getting ready for work. I’m lucky to get in three breaths before my mind starts to wander.
At work, a big part of the week is unleashing the potential of the team. I try to keep people inspired and engaged to learn and test new ideas. They have skin in the game.
The other part of my week is working with business leaders to design experiences that unleash the power of their people to create breakthrough results.
What inspires you?
People who hold themselves at the edge inspire me. I see it in business leaders. I see it in athletes. They are attempting to do something that has not been done before. They keep going even though they don’t have all the answers. They are able to hold two disparate ideas in their heads. First one is “Am I crazy?” And the second is “What if we could pull it off?”
If they take it too far, they know they’ll be knocked out for the count. And if they pull back, it’s becoming a bunch of boring Thursdays stitched together heading towards a cliff.
What do you enjoy most with running your own business?
The people. I get to work with awesome people to create awesome results. You get to meet yourself, embrace yourself for the good, bad and ugly.
Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?
I like to call these WFIO moments. It stands for “We’re f@cked. It’s over.” There were several WFIO moments during the pivot.
When we were deciding to pivot the business, every man and their dog had THE solution for us. And every one was different. The consultants with their cookie-cutter answers were especially convincing. When faced with uncertainty, their cool confidence was the ultimate comfort food: instant noodles. Just add hot water and ready to succeed.
We paid heavy tuition fees to learn that cookie-cutter answers don’t work. The best answers came from within.
What are the biggest challenges for PERSONNA?
Our biggest enemy is our clients’ time. They are running at full capacity and they are looking for inches. We are respectful of their time. When they come for coaching, we make sure that the focus is fully on them so that they stretch beyond what they thought they were capable of.
The other big challenge is me. I have my own shadows and sometimes need to get out of my own way. I recently called my coach and said: “I’m f@cking it up.” His reply: “It’s OK, we are all f@cking it up. That’s part of being an entrepreneur.”
Any advice for your previous boss?
Wear pink shirts.
Are there any brands, business’ or business leaders that you admire?
My clients. I admire their courage to stay on the edge.
What would you like to achieve Professionally in 6 months / 1 year / 5 years?
We’re on a mission to help people make magical breakthroughs by unleashing the power within.
Where will I be in 5 years’ time? The real answer is… I don’t know. The old Roger was guilty of having one foot in the future and one foot in the past, pissing on the present. Roger today is trying to focus on the mission and be present every day.
Any advice for talent looking to set up their own hustle?
Do the inner work upfront. Get clarity around what you’re here to do and why you give an f@ck. Express your ideas and find your tribe. Continue hustling. Only you can find your own path. No one can do it for you. It comes from within. And that’s where the power lies.
What is your favourite quote?
"When you go to the mountains, you see them and you admire them. In a sense, they give you a challenge, and you try to express that challenge by climbing them." - Edmund Hillary.
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PERSONNA is a leadership development company focused on the people side of transformation. We hold a simple belief that everyone is an extraordinary and powerful force for positive change. When you make work personal, naturally you become a better leader.
We’re here to help people become better leaders, build highly-effective teams, and create a culture of trust & collaboration in their organisations. We provide leadership branding, leadership coaching and group experiences. If you are curious to learn more drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.