Tim Cook’s essay in last week’s Businessweek was a breath of fresh air. It brought the importance of being yourself in the workplace to the fore. Cook felt it crucial to talk about his sexuality so that others could be inspired to be comfortable in their own skin. He went on to say that he has ‘the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences'.

Cook’s statement is brave and it is necessary. It’s about time people felt at ease with who they are – and especially at work.

Looking forward to Monday

At Giant Peach we were excited about the statement. It’s so important to us that people can be themselves. It’s a huge step in the right direction for those who face persecution and bigotry; it’s also a big step in the right direction for a general attitude to work and your colleagues. Work doesn’t have to be a thing that you dread or even fear. Going to work can be a positive and energising experience. And it starts with a change in culture and leadership.

Moving back to local

As a small business, you can afford to be personal and it’ll put you ahead. After the Big 6 energy scandal and the banking crisis, the trend for corporates is to try much harder to drop the jargon and get rid of overly formal approaches that can intimidate customers (or worse, gazump them into buying a product they aren’t sure of). Corporates are trying desperately to become local again and CS trends even indicate that we’re looking at ‘love’ being incorporated into measurements.

It’s a small world after all

Being a smaller company you can ‘do’ local and human more easily. You can be more flexible and have a face to face meeting or pop over to your client’s office to make sure things are running okay. Take advantage of that.

Being human, being yourself and connecting with people is what business is all about, but we can forget that in the face of tough competition and bad vibes in the workplace. If you want your company to thrive then listen to your team, communicate with each other, find out about each other, help each other out. And do the same with your customers.