Why I believe leadership and great logistics need to sit hand in hand
09 December 2019
In this blog, Emma Djemil, People Manager at Carousel, reflects on Carousel's first leadership conference.
When I was applying to work at Carousel Logistics I did some background research, as you do, and looked at the website to get a bit more information about the Company. From the very outset, I got the distinct impression that ‘People’ were at the forefront of the business’ proposition. And, as you’d expect for someone in my profession, it was really encouraging to see.
Fast forward 18 months and imagine my excitement at being part of Carousel’s inaugural leadership conference for senior colleagues across the group. At the event, the opening message from our CEO Graham Martin was “People have always been at the heart of what we do” – really underlining that my first instinct about Carousel was right. He went on to add that, in fact, the Carousel People have always been a key differentiator over our competitors. It’s something the business has always prioritised – we were the first logistics organisation to ever win an Investors in People Gold standard – and as we move into 2020 the emphasis again needs to be on realising the full potential of each member of Team Carousel; because with great talent we can continue to give a great service to our clients.
Fast-growth is exciting, and it makes leadership all the more important
The leadership event was largely prompted by our rapid growth over the last three years and our desire to keep People and Service at the heart of what we do.
Carousel continues to go through a significant period of growth and as any business that’s scaling will tell you, though tremendously exciting, we do need to be wary of the impact it can have on other areas, like client delivery. For instance, one of the things that make a small business culture so enticing and effective can become more difficult as the businesses get bigger. Sure, we’ve got a lot of people who have stayed at Carousel because they liked the way it used to be, but how do we keep what they like about Carousel while also creating an environment that new people want to join too? It’s a fine balance between keeping it the way it has always been and striving for what it could be. The question to ask is: What are the non-negotiables when it comes to our culture? It’s a challenge that hasn’t bypassed us, but that’s why it was so great to get this group of people, with very different backgrounds and experiences, in a room to talk, connect and dream.
It’s our responsibility to create a vision and environment that Team Carousel can buy-in to and want to be part of in 2020 and beyond. [...] As we move into 2020 the emphasis will be on realising the full potential of each member of Team Carousel.
Diversity needn’t be disorganisation
For a group of people that come from different countries, businesses and backgrounds, what struck me the most at our leadership event was the commonality between us all. Our vision for the kind of experience we wanted our People to have, when they come to work for us, was encouragingly similar. Plus, the willingness with which individuals acknowledged that things could be done differently was humbling, and the energy that was demonstrated to make a difference gave me goose bumps. What we ended up with was a central vision for the kind of employer we want to be, and a clear understanding of what, as leaders, we need to do to bring that to life. We have so many talented people in the business who genuinely do get a buzz out of what they do, so it’s our responsibility to create a vision and environment that they can buy-in to and want to be part of in 2020 and beyond.
So, what makes great leadership?
One of the big messages of the event was that leadership doesn’t have to be a big grand gesture or take-up lots of time. It’s the “lollipop moments” that can really make a difference (check out Drew Dudley's "Leading with Lollipops" video on YouTube for more on this). It’s one of the founding members of Carousel making you a cup of tea on your first morning when you arrive; or it’s the CEO being adamant that people are introduced on our internal social platform from day one, so that when he comes to the office, he knows their name and can say hello. It’s these little decisions, made daily, that define the Carousel culture. Our culture is what attracts the fantastic people we have working here, and it’s what keeps them here and keeps them making a difference to our clients. We’re not perfect, but we’re working on making our culture more and more exceptional every day.
Carousel in 2020 and beyond
Our business has changed so much even in the short time that I’ve been here and there’s no doubt that will continue. I can’t help feeling excited about what’s ahead of us in 2020 as we continue to build our connections across the group. It is those connections – human to human – that will really make the difference and help maintain the DNA that’s got us to where we are now and will help us surpass our expectations in the future. I’m excited to #Jointhejourney, if you want to find out more or join us, then head over to our careers page now.
Emma Djemil is People Manager at Carousel Logistics. She's all about creating the very best environment for people to thrive. Believing that businesses really are just a group of humans trying to do their best, she’s leading the charge on supporting our great talent, so we can continue delivering a great service to our clients.