Tuesday 20 March 2018

'You've got to go where the real action is - the front line'

What I Wish I’d Known Before I Started

Trust: That's the essential ingredient of success, says Eoin Dunne
Trust: That's the essential ingredient of success, says Eoin Dunne

Eoin Dunne

PhoneWatch is Ireland's biggest alarm company, with over 100,000 customers. Formerly a subsidiary of Eircom, the company was taken over by Norway's Sector Alarm in 2013.

Last year, it announced it was going to expand its Irish workforce to almost 400.

"No matter how long you are in a company, or in a particular role, it is always really instructive to go to where the real action is - the front line. Whether it is listening to customer service calls, out in a van doing service visits, or going through the customer feedback forms, staying close to the customer's view of your organisation has huge benefits.

"Strategy is great, but a well-understood strategy that people know about, understand and follow is even greater. Conversely, a strategy that no-one outside of the boardroom really knows about or understands has little or no value to the company.

"So yes, knowledge, intellect and experience is required to figure out where the organisation is going and how it's going to get there, but real leadership is about mobilising the entire company to deliver on the strategy - to produce the results and to walk the talk. When I say the entire company, I mean the entire company - whether that is someone working in the warehouse or out on the road visiting clients.

"The best and most successful companies are those where the mission and values are understood and lived by everyone in it.

"For this to happen, everyone should understand their role in delivering results. Fundamentally, it is about communication - everyone knowing not only the 'what' and the 'when' and the 'how', but also understanding the 'why'.

"Surround yourself with good people, and listen to them.

"Nobody, however much they wish it to be true, is an island. Achievement and success is delivered by people - plural - and while teamwork is the most overused word in the business jargon, the reality is that having a team of people around you that you know and trust is the essential ingredient of success. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses - we all have them - of your team will enable you to get the best out of the resources available, and achieve a total that is greater than the sum of the parts.

"Delegation is another word for trust, and trust is the most fundamental component of successful teamwork. If everyone understands the role they have, and the role of others in the team, then trust builds. If you don't trust your guys to do what they need to, one of you is in the wrong job."

Eoin Dunne is managing director of PhoneWatch

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