when it's more than just a job - March 2011

Mark Spring March 14, 2011 : 0

I recently spoke to the New Zealand Herald about an article on ‘vocational’ leaders. The core premise of the reporter was that tenure was an important factor in CEO success. I had to disagree with them, arguing that the depth and quality of ‘immersion’ was a far more important success factor. The interview and resultant coverage got me thinking about how anyone can be a business leader and not be passionate enough to consider their job more than just work.

Being a shareholder as well as the Managing Director certainly means that my commitment to dtr is heightened; however, I’ve been always been someone who is about more than just the 9-5. I know it’s unrealistic to expect quite the same level of interest from staff as there is from the leadership team and shareholders, but you can certainly do a lot to ensure your colleagues have the opportunity to be as engaged as possible. For me, this boils down to creating a legacy of absolute brutal honesty. If you leave everything on the table, then at least nobody can complain that they were left in the dark about business decisions that affect them, and nor will you miss out on valuable input from the wider team which might otherwise not have emerged.

Whilst we’re pleased about how much the dtr brand and overall business has improved both financially and culturally in recent years, we’re still passionate about continuing to improve. There are always ways in which a company can strive to be better, and there are always ways to better yourself personally. In both cases this requires high-levels of self-awareness to honestly identify those areas of our business and ourselves requiring attention.

This openness sets the platform for the culture of the wider company. Culture is a pretty intangible thing and it’s not something that can always be written down. That said part of our mantra is ‘everyone deserves a fair go’ and ‘we’ll be fair and always try our best’. This may sound a little simplistic, but it sums up what we want to achieve, internally and externally. In fact we work hard to ensure that there is no difference between our internal value-set and that with which we face the market. In this way, our staff and culture become a tangible representation of our brand and visa versa.

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