What I've Learnt: Venson's Simon Staton
The right values
The most important lesson I have learnt in my working career is that you can’t know everything and you can’t control everything. What works is having a team of like-minded people, with a range of expertise and knowledge and who all share the same values in life. And for me it’s the traditional values that matter most. In my top four would be flexibility. The ability to adapt to changing priorities is a must, particularly when you’re working in a customer-facing role. Next would be accountability. Always striving to do the right thing by other people and fulfilling promises that you make. This is closely followed by integrity. Being open and honest and true to yourself, as well as always striving to treat people in the way in which you would like to be treated. And then there’s humour. Even in the most challenging times, when the pressure is on, sometimes you just need to be able to see the lighter side. It often helps to ease the load for the people around you.
Having a strong team ethos is also very important, and is paramount when you’re delivering front-line services. Having people working with you who are enthusiastic, committed and demonstrate a can-do attitude helps to build lasting customer partnerships.
The ability to innovate is also key. It’s great to find winning formulas in business, but they don’t often come easy. Adapting to changing market conditions and continually exceeding customer expectations requires fresh thinking, unbalancing the status quo and being prepared to take calculated risks. Innovating can be challenging, frustrating and not always deliver what you anticipated. But as Steve Jobs said: ‘Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.’
Create a flexible and rewarding workplace
Businesses need to value experience and loyalty in their people and where appropriate maintain a flexible attitude to employees who have childcare commitments I’m a great believer in making every effort to develop home-grown talent. Nurturing and promoting existing staff that have the ability and aptitude to succeed is both rewarding and helps to maintain a high staff retention rate. This in turn leads to greater business stability and higher levels of customer satisfaction.
However, to do this well flexibility is often the key and business sometimes has to adapt its approach to utilising staff. Job-sharing and accommodating reduced hours for parents forms an integral part of this, but it’s also important to think outside the box. Can an employee move to a different part of the business where their knowledge can still be useful, but the work is more suited to their change in circumstances?
At Venson, job share and part-time work for non-customer facing roles is very much part of our employment terms.
Dealing with issues
I’m fortunate that I have always been able to get to sleep – it’s the being woken up by two young children that has accelerated the ageing process in recent years!
However, even when I have challenges to face, having a plan of action and being able to make decisions promptly helps with this. Nothing gets in the way of clear thinking like a dozen decisions hanging around you, waiting for action.
I also find making time for exercise, my family and friends definitely helps. It’s about getting a balance in life. No matter where you sit in an organisation having a sensible, practical approach to achieving a work life balance is important, if not challenging in itself on occasion. Even small adjustments to your working day can deliver tangible results. Taking 10 or 15 minutes out of a hectic day to do something that will help recharge your batteries, and get you out from behind a computer screen can help. It could be as simple as walking to talk to a colleague rather than emailing or getting out in the fresh air.