Business Essentials

Mycare MD Susan Ann Hills: Find your ‘Heart M.O. and you’ll be happier at work’

Mycare MD Susan Ann Hills: Find your ‘Heart M.O. and you’ll be happier at work’

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Formerly a senior manager in the UK’s National Health Service, Susan Ann Hills bought a start-up home care franchise 13 years ago. But in 2014, disenchantment along her entrepreneurial journey led her to embark on a period of self-reflection. The resulting vigour with which she returned to her care business led to Mycare being awarded an ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Quality Care Commission in 2018, and, in early 2019, she launched a revolutionary new care service to the care sector on behalf of the franchisor. She discusses the power of finding your ‘heart M.O.’ for successful business, and her new venture, Zenith Women, for aspirational women in mid-life.   


Understanding your ‘heart M.O. – your modus operandi, or ‘way of working’, is so important… 

I went to a workshop recently and I was speaking to a non-executive director in his 60s about this and he said, ‘Oh, I don't really know what I'm good at’. I thought then how many of us go through life and never really know why we don't fully enjoy our work. We do things that maybe our parents wanted us to do or that we fell into early on, and we never really stand back and wonder why we're doing it.  


At the age of 55, I realised that I didn't really know my skills or my strengths… 

So I decided I really needed to get to know me and take a 360 look. I’ve been interested in personal growth for years, so I had lots of books to readI asked my friends, family and colleagues how they saw me, including the negatives, and I also took personality tests which can show you things that you may not see yourself. And after a while I was able to understand why I liked doing some things and not others.  


Ask yourself what do you love doing naturally 

How did you show up when you were younger? When you’re trying to find your heart M.O., you need go back as far as you can remember in your childhood. Through doing that, realised I was entrepreneurial, even at the age of eight years. I used to run a club in my road and collect money from the other children. I remember taking pots of coins to my house and my Mom and Dad were horrified, but I said, ‘I'm in charge of all the games so they pay me’. When I thought about that, I understood that skill was there even then, but I had no idea, because it was never nurtured. When I was younger, I also loved acting and later that performer side came out through corporate presentations at work. I love the idea of speaking and being on stage – there's just something about having an audience. So I realised I needed to be doing that more.  


I love doing things in a better way...  

This is something that I've realised through greater understanding of who I am tooMycare provides domiciliary care in the home, and at the time I moved into this space I was running acute hospital wards. I didn't know the sector well, but I thought, I can do this, I love people, I can build a team. I was probably quite naive and didn’t realise what I was entering into. In the beginning, I took care of payroll, cash flow analysis, checking spreadsheets – and I remember around 2013 thinking, ‘What am I doing?’ There was paperwork everywhereI had just replicated my job in the Trust, I thought to myself, but now I had all the responsibility. 


I discovered that I loved leading, not managing 

I was spending most of my time managing paperwork and staff and I wasn't doing the things or developing the ideas that I'd come up with in my business. I thought ‘Okay, I can't sell it, I can't hand my notice in’. So, I decided to focus on leading and inspiring. Sarah, my business partner, was my first ever careworker, and I saw something in her. I ended up delegating to her and standing back and because of that I was able to do the things I love, which ended up being the creation of the pilot for this new care product and working with the franchisor on thatwhich was brilliant. 


If you can't lead yourself, you can't lead others... 

I have always said that I wanted to do something for women and particularly women who are growing older. I had journals full of notes, but I never actually did anything, until recently. The statement ‘A council of wise women’ kept going round in my mind and I realised that what I wanted to do was create a community of wise women – women doing great things, women to aspire to – because we need more wise women in the world right now.  


Know yourself, lead yourself, impact your world 

I knew that my way of helping and my contribution to community would be around this idea. More and more women are saying to me now that they want to do something meaningful and purposeful with their lives. They might have got to a point in their lives where they feel – if not unhappy – then not ecstatically happy. They might be disillusioned, maybe a bit bored, and they know they want to do something more. I don't like to put an age on it, but they are usually a bit older. In setting up Zenith Women I wanted to create a community to encourage women to share their wisdom, story or expertise. The word Zenith, after all, means at its highest point or at its most influential. 


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