Business Stories

Jeannie & Paul McGillivray – Pressing the Reset Button on Business and Life

“REBOOT!”

That’s probably the advice a service person has given you at one point in your life about your tech device.

Despite all the changes and advances in technology over the decades, REBOOT still remains as the one simple, universal solution to these problems that seems to work more often than not.

Restarting the machine is almost always the first step in solving some technical headache. It clears out the memory and gives the device a fresh start and a new lease on life.

So when Jeannie and Paul McGillivray, co-founders of Remote – a custom software development company, found themselves in a rut, they did that – they hit the reset button.

Working for a living

The McGillivrays founded the UK-based Remote in 1999 and together put in countless hours towards its success. They note that the 20-30 years of working over the average 80-year human life span makes work central to who we are and what we do as people. This makes being stuck in an unfulfilling career an unhappy, or even demeaning, experience.

When they found themselves in a situation where they felt they were only working to live – to pay the bills – without any deeper meaning, Jeannie and Paul realized it was making them profoundly unhappy. They wanted the 17 years they spent building their business together to be about more than just profit and bottom-line numbers.

“When we feel we are working towards something bigger than ourselves, something important, we feel engaged, part of something great,” they say.

So, they began shaking things up at Remote.

Harnessing your superpowers

Jeannie and Paul restructured their organisation to put less emphasis on top-down management, and more on harnessing and enhancing the talents of individual team members. These unique talents, or “superpowers” as Jeannie and Paul like to call them, are the keys to finding fulfillment in work… and beyond.

They pondered this simple yet profound question: “How can we use our superpowers to serve a common purpose, and how can we put that purpose to work for the good of the whole world?”

Focusing on identifying everyone’s talents, giving them room to learn and grow and then giving them an outlet to apply these talents in their work is an approach that allowed Jeannie and Paul to institute a business philosophy that creates happier workers (who are, by the way, more productive workers), and to get everyone firing on all cylinders towards a common purpose.

This began to give the McGillivrays the personal fulfillment they sought, but they believe this way of thinking has application beyond their own business. They’re spreading the word through educational retreats, podcasts, TEDx speeches, and books.

They hope the idea spreads even further.

Legacy: Fulfillment in a connected world

Jeannie and Paul support UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #8: Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth.

Like the McGillivrays, SDG 8 looks to create employment that is both productive and fulfilling for everyone. Achieving this, Jeannie and Paul say, requires a combination of the strategic use of technology (where people are helped, not replaced, by machines and algorithms) and a new business philosophy that focuses on everyone supporting each other and growing together.

“Our vision is for a world of business and economics where working towards a higher purpose drives sustainable transformation,” they say.

Jeannie and Paul know this will not be easy. They know it requires a change in mindset across the globe. The resources and technology are there, but the willingness to use them for the greater good is lagging behind. The McGillivrays hope others will follow in creating a legacy of adding dignity and fulfillment to peoples’ lives through sustainable work.

What do you think: could our world use a reboot of its own?


Remote is B1G1 Legacy Maker for the week of 26 August 2019. By sponsoring the B1G1 giving space for a week, Remote has enabled thousands of giving impacts to be created around the world.

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About R. Vincent

R. Vincent enjoys reading about the dedicated people and innovative businesses of B1G1 as much as he enjoys writing about their inspiring work. As a freelance writer and online educator, he is happy to use his talents to bring attention to the wonderful work done by organisations and businesses around the world.

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