A while ago, I received a call from an old staff member, he was a Junior Warehouse Operations Leader that I had inherited when taking over a large logistical site in New Zealand in 2008.
He started the call by saying “remember me” which I did, he was the most disruptive, annoying, and troubled employee imaginable. I had mentored him for a short time before he moved on to new challenges. At this stage, I was wondering why he was contacting me all these years later? He said, “remember that time you pulled me aside and let me have it”.
Having a quick flashback, I remember being brutally honest with him at the time about his attitude and behaviour. My own management style was not completely rounded at that stage. I remembered at the time that I pulled myself back rather than losing my temper, I simply took a deep breath and said, “You are obviously intelligent, but something is going wrong and if you don’t address this now you won’t learn, and you will keep making the same mistakes”.
Mentoring him was hard work, he was young prone to fits of anger. I had no training or education in this field, however, I could see that he had some potential, so I gave it my all to make him understand the meaning of integrity, responses, actions, and behaviour. I was never quite sure if my actions had helped, but I felt that I had tried to make a difference.
His call that day was to tell me that he had just been promoted to a General Manager’s role in a big logistics company. He simply said, “thank you”, although it had not been a smooth ride, he said my comments and strategies for changing his attitude had made a huge difference in his life.
The best part for me was he has started paying it forward by mentoring several of his own staff.
The lesson I learnt was the right approach and the right strategies can change the most stubborn behaviour, and that we all have the potential to change someone’s life by giving a little time and caring.
What is even more powerful is I’m no one special, however, no one specials can make a difference if they give and share experiences.
I am very proud and very humbled today, the funny thing is no matter how high I climb in my career and what else I achieve, this will remain one of my greatest achievements.
Moving to SCS and having the word Integrity at the centre of the company’s culture means that I am in the right place, working with like-minded people. Business isn’t just about profits, it’s about doing the right things, caring about people and helping those who want to learn to achieve all that they can.