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What is the story behind Drum?

Updated: May 18

“I never want people to feel like I did’

I was 25 and I landed my ‘forever’ job – the one that was going to make me safe, rich, and happy. Or not. I stuck at it for five years, not realising I was like the proverbial frog, being boiled alive so slowly I didn’t notice. I went in a cocky, confident, enthusiastic, and excited person; I emerged depressed, lacking in self-belief with a borderline alcohol issue.

What happened?

Without going into too many details; there were two workplace challenges:

  1. I suffered as a woman in a misogynistic system. The open sexism necessitated much of my job was spent with a mask of ‘I’ve got this’ and ‘that doesn’t affect me’ and ‘I can handle that’ when the reality was I hadn’t, it did, and I couldn’t. It’s quite hard to excel in your role when you’re trying to hold a mask in place all the time and feeling hurt, confused and afraid underneath it.

  2. There was no safe person or place for me to explore my potential, my interests, and my concerns. Feedback, development, and healthy support were non-existent. There was one person I could take fears to, a peer, and his support was limited to helping me get through a contaminated system. It was something but not enough.

I hired a coach to get me out and I left. I don’t regret it and occasionally I do wonder what choices would have been available to me if I had a chance to grow and excel.

For the last 25 years, I have worked with people inside organisational systems, many of them leaders and I have done this from a core of not wanting others to have the experience I did.

Why is this relevant to Drum?

Drum can help leaders make sure that their people never feel like I did. This experience might have its extremities, but I speak to people every single week who are struggling in some way inside organisations with their leaders or the impact of peers in the system.

Even with the establishment of HR, P&C and L&D departments over the last twenty years, people find it hard to know when, where or how to escalate – and if they’re like the frog as I was, they don’t know quite how wrong it all is.

We will always have relationships to navigate – having the tools to do that is critical. As a cocky 25-year-old I needed strong, well-held, challenging feedback – the tools don’t mean soft messaging; they mean the right messaging.

There are three main ways I have designed Drum to help:

  1. 1:1 coaching – when leaders need to work stuff out for themselves privately.

  2. Leader Drums – when leaders need to work stuff out with their peers.

  3. Drum for Meetings – when everyone needs to work it out together – it’s not just the leaders who have responsibilities.

The clients who work with me at Drum want the same things I do – an exciting place to work where everyone is pulling together to make good things happen – and their lives are flourishing in the process. They want it accessible and simple in concept; they’ve got a lot going on. This is the work.

But why is it called Drum?

It's called Drum because a drum is a vessel that exists in many cultures; it can be large or small and hold all different sorts of materials. Later we realised that the drums in a band are at the back, but often kick off the music and the beat holds the group together...

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