I started my working career in 1992 and in the 23 years that have followed I’ve seen a huge amount of change. None has been more profound or significant than the emergence of the internet and subsequent digital capabilities in how we work.
I’m enormously proud of what we’ve achieved in the Co-op over the last 18 months. We’ve taken a business from near collapse to one that with hard work and a focus on doing the right things will become once again one of the UK’s most treasured things. I can’t wait.
To make this dream a reality we’ve recognised the need to embrace the “digital revolution” not just in terms of the services and products we offer our customers, but in changing our ways of working. Excitingly we’ve managed to recruit some of the very best people in the world to lead our thinking in this area and help us not just catch up, but get miles ahead of the competition. From “Slack” to “Bimodal Agile”, our lexicon has changed.
Whilst very exciting, I’ve got to be honest and say it’s also filled me with fear. At 45 years of age was I about to become one of those outdated Execs who lived in a past world that I’d seen and observed in my earlier career? Good for a few words of advice here and there but basically living in an outdated world. For the first time ever I started to feel old.
Six months on and I feel young again…….
Throughout my career I’ve always believed that if you do the right thing for the customer and make the business vision/ strategy/ objectives simple for colleagues to understand then you’ll not go far wrong. I’ve also always said that a great business “creates value for the customers that they’re able to share in”. I’ve realised that the “digital revolution” simply makes this easier to do and puts the customer at the heart of the business even more than before. In that context it makes customer centricity even more important and people who think that way even more valuable.
So yes, the lexicon has changed (a sprint has nothing to do with Linford Christie but is a quick piece of work with an outcome, a “slacker” isn’t someone who is lazy but someone who communicates via a more effective tool – the list could go on) but what matters has become even more important and makes it more difficult to succeed if you don’t get it right.
So as we leave 2015 and look forward to the new year, I’m excited. Not just by the new digital team, but by the realisation that I’m not old and out of date just yet and my views, principles and ways of working are more important than they’ve ever been.
Enjoy Christmas with your wearable technology. I’ll be catching up with re-runs of Tomorrow’s World!
Rod Bulmer, CEO of Consumer Services.