Be visible. Treat people fairly and be clear and communicative about that. If people are doing a good job, tell them they are doing a good job. If people need support, give them support. It’s about clarity.
People come to work to be challenged but also to have fun. I believe our staff is looking for interesting wor that challenges them, to be paid fairly and to work in an environment, which encourages them.
We pay attention to our people. How are they doing? What are we doing for them? How are we moving them forward?
A large part of a manager’s role is the encouragement, motivation and challenge of the people. Be clear and have clarity in the purpose in where you’re going and how effective you are.
It’s really clear how we made money, it’s really clear what our proposition is, and it’s really clear how we deal with each other. If you have got clarity in that regard, you’re a long way toward success.
Be engaging. I’d rather not just send e-mails. Management by walking around is not just walking around but stopping and talking to people and working with people to be supportive. That means being visible and engaging people.
It always impresses me when someone recognizes my name. I had a situation where I hosted a dinner, but I was more of a surrogate host. It included somebody who was extremely high-powered. That was on a Friday.
This person went and then had a huge number of social engagements over that weekend. I was walking through a huge event with thousands of people on the Monday after, and I walked past this person and I recognized him. He just grabbed me by the arm and said, ‘Simon, I’d like to thank you for dinner.’ It was the first time he had ever met me on that Friday, but he knew my name, and that made me feel really good.
How would you feel if this happened to you? Why wouldn’t you do it to engage with someone else?
Plan ahead. Recognize the balance between internal leadership and external leadership.
We know who our customers are. Spend as much time and as much energy with your customers as you do with your employees.
When I’m talking about customers, am I talking about spending time with them? Yes. Actually, it’s also about planning those conversations. Plan engagements that the company has with customers.
We’ll analyze, discuss and conclude, and be very clear what we are going to leave in the conversation. What do we want to learn from the conversation? What do we understand our customer’s issues are? What do we understand of opportunities from that? What can we do to support the customer? What do we want from the customer?
It’s those types of assessments that we undertake prior to any meeting.
Support ambition. Culture has become more important in a company. People have changed, and the demands of an employee have changed. If we’re dealing with younger employees now, for them, they are geared to what is the company going to do for me? Development is very important to them.
Being paid right and fairly is important. But development is very important to them to see where they could go and how they can get there.
I have some ambitious people who work with me. I think that’s good. Do I feel threatened? No. Do I feel comfortable? Yes. Part of the challenge with real ambitious people is to keep their ambition and drive going. In general, I’d like to have a team that has a good element of ambition in it, both for themselves and in the company. It comes back to being clear.
Individuals within the company, be they management or employees, want to succeed, and they want to support others to succeed. We’ve got some excellent (managers) that earnestly believe that a key part of their role is to develop individuals, and I think that swells through the organization.
Find the glint. We look for someone who has some background and had success in the past. Did they have both the academic and the business record?
The other key to me is the will to succeed and the glint in the eye, as people would say. If you have got someone who maybe has less experience, but they have a real will to be successful, and they have a drive in that regard and a real open manner, I think they will be successful.
Look for the opportunity in risk. We do risk assessments both for the company but also for our customer. The opposite of risk is opportunity. When people talk about risk, they always see threat. Our process does encourage the use and view of opportunity as the opposite of threat.
It’s an inherently difficult process because, in general, when you deal with these things, you don’t have all the information. You are dealing with the cards you’re dealt. You might not have the whole pack. In any risk assessment process, that’s a threat in itself to try to understand that.
We have a very thorough and robust risk assessment process within the business. Should we be pursuing this prospect? What are the risks and opportunities associated with pursuing and securing this prospect?
We’re in a competitive environment. We make offers to customers to do work for them. Sometimes they choose us, sometimes they’ll choose a competitor. I think it’s a case of learning from it and moving on and not dwelling on it.
HOW TO REACH: AMEC Paragon Inc., (713) 570-1000 or www.amecparagon.com