What was your first job, and how was it?
My very first job was serving in a bar under the watchful eye of my father when I was 12. I served Guinness and it cost 47p. It was our family business. It was a learning on life, and developed my people skills at a very young age. I later developed and changed the business over the years to bring more footfall and ensure we filled all the seats. Running that small business gave me perspective that helps me understand our customers today and the challenges they have, in their own right, and with their suppliers.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Never assume that the person you are talking to or meeting with knows more than you”. A simple statement that really made me think and change my view and approach to many things, especially in negotiation or engagement scenarios.
What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?
I love to win, but I shy away from collecting the medals. Any professional achievements I have had over the years have been from great teamwork, and personal endeavours resulted from some training, preparation and determination. I love a challenge, but I would say my greatest achievement is to be living healthily. Physically well, mentally positive, ready to help coach and participate. I love to see people that I may have coached, mentored or helped in some small way, win. Then I feel achievement myself.
If you could step into the shoes of one businessperson for the day, who would it be and why?
Richard Branson. Honestly, it’s not just an attempt to get on Necker Island for a night! I admire his people philosophy and his determination. Not many people would persevere and experiment to the length and depth that he has gone to and he is not afraid to try something new and fail. He continues to refine his business to make them better and sees it as continuous. Moreover, he does this mainly through his people. He has the vision, but recognises that it’s his team who deliver and does his best to make them feel appreciated.
In three words or less, how do you define success?
“Make your Bed”.
How do you motivate yourself and your staff?
People motivate me. Everyone, not just my team. My recipe is simple: find good people to work with, make them friends and remind them how good they are. Once everyone understands the journey we are on and direction of travel, then I try to make sure we have fun and ensure everyone is aboard and understands their part. Expectations of high standards and goals are important to keep focus and awareness of who it’s all for, and builds for success.
How do you relax?
Keeping fit(ish) is important to me as It makes me feel better. I don’t need to be always ready to compete in the Olympics, but I like to know I am putting an effort in to it. I cycle, do some walking, I play golf regularly and like to travel and explore. It would not be unusual to see my legs sticking out of a hedge as I like the garden too and can lose myself for hours there. What some people deem chaotic, I relish. I regularly travel and visit new cities without making any arrangements or accommodation bookings, and enjoy the adventure. My lovely wife, however, likes a bit more structure so we tend to now start with one booking.
What are your aspirations for the future of Elavon?
While we have been very successful in the early part of development, we now need to scale. We will gain scale and grow more, with solid partnerships, and we will ratify our distribution strategy significantly with the right partners and partnerships. Our investments in these areas are critical but well thought out. We are becoming a more technology-orientated organisation with a digital strategy at our core. Our marketplace is changing fast and we have a number of new competitors with exciting ideas and disruptions being announced. We see consolidation and market entries with similar frequency. Our services will become much more connected and integrated, our team will be more tech savvy, and professionally educated and knowledgeable on technology and digital delivery. Data will be a core part of our value proposition, and artificial Intelligence will be used to service deliver and solve daily routine requests. Our experience and our team will play a huge part in getting this right. There is a gold rush underway in our industry, but we already have our own mine. We will be Digital, Connected, Leading.
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