My exclusive interview with Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan (a.k.a. The Design Duo).


Here’s a sneak peek at a section from my upcoming book, Lead with AND.


As interior designers, best-selling authors, and celebrity lifestyle gurus, Colin and Justin love to share good things with good people. The Scottish stars are hosts of many recognizable television shows, including HGTV’s Colin & Justin’s Home Heist and BBC’s The Million Pound Property Experiment, and their programs are syndicated in countless countries worldwide.

From sofas, chairs, and tables to artwork, lamps, storage, and bedding, their Colin & Justin Home product line is sold internationally in stores such as Winners, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx. They regularly appear as red-carpet hosts, interviewing A-list celebrities such as Madonna, George Clooney, and Bradley Cooper. They have three bestselling books to their credit and are columnists for a long list of publications including The Toronto Sun, The Huffington Post, and Postmedia properties across Canada.

With so many balls in the air at one time, you might wonder how they keep their eye on the bottom line while, at the same time, ensuring everything they do is aligned with their vision. Interestingly enough, they do both of these things better than anyone I know!



What are things that you do to gain the positive results of profit focused?

Make sure plates are spinning other plates. If you look at our business model, we have a lot of spinning plates: products, publishing, TV, real estate, and more. However, we only choose plates that we know will help spin the other plates. As you grow and innovate, you need metrics that prove how each new thing is helping to increase the success of the existing products and services as opposed to stealing time and money away from your core. If the new thing doesn’t increase the success of the other things, stop doing it!

What are things that you do to gain the positive results of purpose driven?

Know what “your sentence” is. You need to bring communication clarity to the passion that drives your business. It needs to be one simple sentence or phrase. For us, that phrase is “sharing good things with good people.” Based on this, we only say yes to things that align accordingly. These things can be as diverse as selling lamps or hosting a TV show, but they have to fit.



What is an early warning sign that you’re over-focusing on profit to the neglect of purpose?

A Scent of Stagnation – Every day, we have the rare privilege to do what we love and what we’re good at. A huge red flag to us is anytime we notice that a project is feeling a bit boring or lacks the fun and energy we’re accustomed to. We immediately give time and attention to those feelings and try to understand where they’re coming from. Is it time for a change? Have we been too comfortable? Are there people we need to be working with more or people we need to be working with less? Is there something we can do to reinvigorate the passion and purpose?

What is an early warning sign that you’re over-focusing on purpose to the neglect of profit?

Fooled by Fantasy – As designers, authors, and artists, our work allows us to live in the world of fun and fantasy. However, a cup of fantasy always needs a spoonful of reality. When we recognize that we’re overly excited about a new product or service—something that has become a bit of a passion project—we put extra structures and measures in place that will let us know if it’s actually delivering and improving our bottom line or not. Just because something is fun and exciting doesn’t mean we should be doing it, so we need data that will push us to make hard decisions when necessary.

Stay tuned to read the rest of this insightful interview in my upcoming book, Lead with AND which will be released February, 15th, 2022 – mark your calendar!


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Tim Arnold

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