About this book

You can’t be everybody’s friend™

How to build a better business/better relationships/a better team by understanding your culture/cultural fit

Researched and compiled by John Ardern

It’s said that “everyone has a book inside them”. This is mine! The idea behind this book was sparked by the work that my dear friend Jeff Edis & myself were doing as “The Consult Group”, a new business development consultancy, working with a wide range of different creative and marketing services agencies – of many different types, sizes and more importantly cultures.

What is culture? Simply put “the way we do things around here”.

There are so many different “ways to do things around here” – and we found that there was no right or no wrong way, just different ways, different cultures. This affected not only which ones we as The Consult Group decided to work with but also which clients/prospects our agencies’ clients were working best with, both currently and in the future – and those they weren’t.

Here’s the story:-

Jeff and I were sitting in a pub in Leeds one day (it was actually called The Farmers Arms on the Leeds Bradford road) – we used to go in there a lot, if only for a quick relief, (and some nuts and crisps – pre diabetic days!), after a particularly bad meeting/day at the office.

I was rambling on about how it was that we got on really well with some clients, but really badly with others (sometimes in the same city in the same market place) – and that the same seemed to be true of our own clients with their clients as well.  Jeff asked “so Mr. Researcher, why is that?” – I replied “well Mr. Creative, I think it’s because we can be friends with some clients and not with others – because we share the same culture”.  Jeff replied – “you mean ‘you can’t be everybody’s friend’” – and so the book was born.

I then recalled some research work I’d done years earlier (2002/2003)– for “The Drum”, the advertising and marketing magazine, published out of Glasgow, Scotland [link]. The main objective of this research was something completely different, but when discussing how clients go about deciding which agencies/suppliers to use, I identified the all-important issue of “shared cultures” or “cultural fit” that is one of the most important, if not THE most important influencer on that decision.

Later on, I did some work for a major legal firm – which identified the self-same influencers on choice of lawyers and solicitors.

As I began to talk about it more and more, I found that many others shared this view – but that this wasn’t in any of the textbooks or industry guides on “how to choose an agency”.

Then others jumped on the bandwagon.  A “research report” commissioned by North West Vision & Media (a public sector QUANGO no longer in existence thank goodness) mentioned “cultural fit” as a throw away line.

So the book started to be written back in 2007, and, with Jeff Edis’s invaluable help, I’ve put it together – based on our individual and collective thoughts and experiences of over 40 years consultancy in creative advertising, market research, marketing management, business development, new business, culture analysis and appraisal, and more recently Mentoring young and up-coming creative individuals and businesses.

Who is this book for?

This is a difficult question to answer, as many people should be interested in how their culture and their cultural fit with others affects their relationships and their success, both in life and in business.

I would answer by saying it is for people who want to re-think – to re-evaluate themselves and their life in a new and different way.

Thus, those who are thinking of changing their career, changing or adapting their life, maybe wanting to start-up or develop their own business (there will be several sections/chapters to help them), and so on.

In particular, this book is for those who want to challenge themselves – to reappraise who they are and their relationships in their life and in their business.

We will have many case histories – including our own – from people who have been through this process. One such case history will be from a close friend who said to me “I wish I’d done this earlier. I recommend others do this process now, and before starting a business, especially a partnership, not later, when the damage is done”. More from him later.

So, let’s make a start.

We plan to publish a chapter at a time – Dickens style – hopefully once a month.

There’s a list of proposed forthcoming chapters (link here), so if you want to read anything about any of those subjects, just let us know – and we’ll send you the current/latest draft.

Publisher Details

Published on: www.youcantbeeverybodysfriend.com

Published by: Really Useful Research & Development Consultancy

Balmoral House, 9 Balmoral Grange, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 0GZ, England


Tel: +44-(0)161-720-9924 Fax: +44(0)161-740-0561

Mobile +44-(0)7836-603-369

Email: john@youcantbeeverybodysfriend.com

Skype: johnardernresearch

Twitter: @johnardern

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