Meee founder, Sid Madge, explains
Side Madge is the Founder of the Meee Programmes (My Education Employment Enterprise), which encourages people to ask what makes me, me.
Doing so enables people to change their thinking., which in turn changes their abilities to perform. They come to understand that change is possible and achievable.
Sid told me that he wished he had something like the Meee Programme when he was around six years old. He now works to ensure that as many people as possible understand that we can “think ourselves into good and bad.” The outcomes are enormous. As people change the way they feel about themselves, they contribute a little to changing the world for the better.
Sid had a successful career as a brand strategist working with many of Europe’s most renowned and respected creative agencies. He worked for huge brands such as Heinz, IBM, Jaguar, and VISA, but Sid believes that communications are much the same for SME’s as global brands. The real buzz comes from finding a common truth and building value into their relationships with their customers.
In 2009, he decided it was time to set up his own agency, Mad Hen. To do so, he moved to North Wales, where he knew no-one. He set about doing what he describes as humanizing brands and businesses. This stems from the principle that people become involved with other people and that is what brings ideas to life in our imaginations.
A true lightbulb moment
In 2015 Sid was giving a talk on entrepreneurship to 15-year-olds in Wrexham in North Wales. He asked them what word they would use to describe themselves. It was an idea he had used as a brand consultant for over 20 years.
The first young lad who answered replied with the word “weirdo.” Sid’s initial reaction was that this was a rather wonderful word. But he discovered that for the boy, it was a terrible concept. He was being bullied and wasn’t liked by the others. He didn’t know why he was at school, and he didn’t fit in.
Sid found that 15% of the class used similar words, freak, abnormal, misfit, and anxious. He divided them into two, telling them one half would be from Wales and one from England. They then discussed all the positives and negatives about each side before swopping over. By the time they had swopped a third time, the whole class was coming to understand that everyone there was different, but they were simply playing out perceptions of preconceived values and beliefs they had been given.
He then asked them what being entrepreneurial meant, and they all agreed it was about thinking of different ways of doing things. They talked of what could be done with a wheel, and by the end of the session, they were recognizing their powers of invention and thinking they could be entrepreneurs.
Sid went away and worked on a series of tools to help people understand who they are and what they are capable of, the answer to the “what makes me, me” question. He worked with children of various ages and then an education establishment where he did a two-day certificate course. He gave the children proper certificates at the end of the second day, and they were blown away by the idea that they could be given something for any achievement. It changed their values and their world.
These tools’ success became the basis for the Meee programme, which launched in 2015, and their superb results have caused it to blossom and grow.
The Meee Programme
Meee draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education, and sociology to help people achieve extraordinary lives by removing mental boundaries, holding them back.
In 2016, the Job Centre asked them to pilot the Meee programme in North Wales, and they worked with the unemployed with equally colossal success. The first workshop Sid did was in the upstairs of a church. They had four people, one of whom had Asperger’s, and he had been warned would not engage with anyone.
On the fourth day, they were asked to work on a trial approach to a retail outlet for work. A young man asked if he could say something. To everyone’s amazement, he stood up and introduced himself, said he had Asperger’s, and really struggled. Sid is still in touch with him. He went on to college after the programme and had learned to drive!
The Unemployment programme spread out across Wales, and then Sid was asked to run the programme within prisons.
Meee for Teams, CEO’s and Entrepreneurs
They are currently running a programme for a huge retailer to work with the staff to “be better human beings and make their world a better place.”
With COVID, the Meee programme has gone online but is proving very effective. They ask each person to put in their personal values and then add the company’s values to see where they match. This approach is diametrically opposed to the usual whereby people are expected to align with company values. They then look at how that person’s first value can help them both do their job and self-develop. Only six months in, the results are astounding.
Sid wants to make the Meee programme go global so that everyone can understand who they are and what makes each of us unique. They can get funding for the unemployment work but not for everything they want to do. Working with companies can help that. The plan is to involve people from those companies and go into schools and prisons and talk about the changes they have made and the effect it can have.
To date, Meee has transformed over 20,000 people’s lives, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed, and prison inmates. They hold workshops, think tanks, and career clinics and speak to more than 1000 businesses every year.
I wanted to ask Sid more about his work with entrepreneurs, and he explained that he had been on the Henley Coaching course. They work with people at the C Suite and downwards. Sid says that it is fascinating to find that everyone, whatever the level, has the same issues underneath, be it imposter syndrome of some, insecurity in others, some people just manage these problems more on the surface.
Among many others challenging and explorational questions they ask CEO’s the classic Michael Singer question, “Do you want to be happy?” By exploring this and what is stopping them, brings people to their biggest problem. The answers are hugely varied. They might struggle to lead people, which means issues around emotional intelligence. All the great leaders have substantial emotional intelligence, while others have to work at it. Meee has diagnostic tools and resources to help change in a positive way and in a short space of time so the impact can be tremendous.
I asked him if anyone was defensive. He quotes Nancy Kline’s work defining a listening environment and her book “Time to Think.” This setting of the right environment, Sid says, is essential. People may be hesitant at first, but there are never any judgments, and participants soon understand the purpose of all of Sid’s work with the Meee Programme is to help.
Sid has also become a successful author writing four books in the series of Meee In A Minute: 60 Ways to Improve Your Life In 60 Seconds, series be it home, work, or family life. Not surprisingly, he has little time for his branding business though he does still enjoy giving talks to colleges, universities and businesses as it helps with insight into the world of change. Most of his life is devoted to Meee.
What Next for Meee?
Sid is currently in talks with various people/organisations about taking his programme into the consumer market. When you look at the suicide figures, especially of millennials and generation Z, they are horrendous. The rise can be traced directly back to the early 2000’s and the start of Facebook and social media.
Sid wants to roll out a programme to reverse the effects and the damage done directly. It would enable positive changes to reach even more people and change more lives.
Sid explained to me that he has never been driven by money. He has a concept that what we do can earn us Goodness Tokens (Sid doesn’t like to think it’s money but Goodness Tokens), and when we earn them, we have more to share. It is a concept that absolutely sums up what Sid is all about.
If you are interested in confidence and struggles around it, you might also enjoy this story and advice from Australian podcaster and coach James Schramko.