After spending the best part of 17 years working in Chicago as an engineering director, stepping back into a UK business was a real eye-opener and I still find the odd wrench in the works, so to speak. One of the main problems I’m currently experiencing is my innate drive to quote prices in dollars I really MUST stop this!
I have been working as global sales and marketing director at Fairbanks since the beginning of the year, having held several managerial positions overseas.
Apart from the Americanisms that I am trying hard to shun, such as making sure I replace ’z’ with ’s’ and adding that elusive ’u’ in my written English (and I wasn’t fully prepared for the lashing I would receive from the Brits regarding the football/soccer issue either), joining Fairbanks was, for the most part, a smooth transition. It was fantastic to see that they held the prestigious gold standard award from Investors in People. It was clear to me when I took on the role, and even more crystal now, that Fairbanks values its staff incredibly highly. While I felt comfortable with my team from day one, it did take a little while to get used to working in a service industry having worked for so long in a manufacturing environment.
It was great not to have to worry about supply chains, parts shortages or shipping, but I now have to measure my success in terms of recurring monthly growth. It’s all about the value propositions and unique selling points of the Fairbanks product offering.
My average week begins with coffee (or should I be drinking tea now?), followed by a detailed interaction with my sales team we usually manage to get the details of their weekend activities out of the way in the first few minutes. We summarise the successes of the previous week and plan new targets for the week ahead.
I then usually move on to meet with my pilot team, who are busy with larger pipeline prospects. They are tasked with ensuring that Fairbanks can deliver the service level agreements that we offered during the initial sales process and are particularly skilled in their roles, working hard to ensure standards are consistently met. It helps, of course, that as a company we are realistic yet forward-thinking regarding our ability to achieve these targets.
My final operational stop of the morning is with the roll-out implementation team, who are responsible for entering and configuring all of the newly contracted sites into our ’wizard’ database system, ready to go live with our operations team. We are a close-knit bunch and all of our teams work hand-in-hand to keep the company running optimally.
The rest of the week is filled with strategy planning sessions and with travel both domestic and international. Physically, it’s difficult to describe where my ’typical’ week will take me in this sense.
The development of the Fairbanks brand and corresponding marketing messages are carried out in-house, saving me on any extra travel time. This team is responsible for maintaining the voice of Fairbanks, managing the brand and website, organising trade shows and managing any associated campaigns. I’m a firm believer in encouraging staff to fail early and often, though occasionally I do have to stop myself being too quick to throw garbage ideas into the trash can! Maintaining a mantra of steady improvement and fostering an atmosphere of continuous innovation is a fantastic way to uncover the few precious nuggets that really make a difference to your customer and ultimately, to your business success.
Even in my short time at Fairbanks, I have placed high importance on cultivating and maintaining a close relationship with my colleagues to create a productive environment.
Fairbanks is dedicated to providing its customers with service 24/7 and, as a result, it is sometimes hard to get away from work at a set time each evening. I enjoy spending any time off with my family or going cycling, both on- and off-road (mostly intentionally).