One of the key steps in building a great company is ensuring that everyone involved understands the journey being undertaken. David Pugh, our Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer, explains what a great company means to us and how our vision is helping guide our plans for the future.
My six-year-old daughter often asks “Why, daddy?”. “Why is the sky blue?”. “Why do ducks quack?”. “Why are oranges orange?”. These are not easy questions to answer.
In my business life, I suppose the equivalent is “Why are we obsessed with the idea of building a great company?”. Truth be told, I haven’t really got an answer. I do believe in the argument that in the long run great companies, where great people are supported to do great work, tend to deliver better financial results than not-so-great companies. But that’s by no means always true. And anyway, it isn’t really what gets me, or my teammates, up in the morning. We’re obsessed with building a great company because … well, because we’re obsessed with building a great company. And that means simultaneously doing a great many things very well.
Some of those things have effects that are tangible and measurable. We need to invest in the best technology to give our team the tools they need to perform at their very best, and also our clients the quality of service they rightly expect from us. We need to constantly improve and evolve our training, coaching and mentoring programmes. We must continue to develop innovative solutions to meet the changing needs of our clients. We need to make sure that our remuneration and employee benefits packages are more than competitive, so we can recruit and retain the very best people.
A lot of the things we are working on are less tangible: they’re to do with building a strong, positive organisational culture which brings out the best in our people. Such as making sure everyone enjoys a healthy work/home balance. Involving all those who want to be involved in our corporate social responsibility initiatives. Becoming a more caring and compassionate employer. Making sure that everyone in the team, who wants to be, is a part-owner of the business. And perhaps most importantly, reaching our targets for diversity at all levels.
Beyond these aspects of what I might call “corporate wellbeing,” there is another dimension. We have to make sure we’ve developed and communicated strong, clear, simple messages about the direction of our business, that everyone – our team, our clients and all our other stakeholders – can understand, appreciate and feel part of. That’s the thinking behind the work we have recently carried out to define our purpose (“helping people achieve financial freedom”) and our four core values (One Team, Passion, Delighting Clients and Excellence) that I’ve written about in the last few months.
We’ve brought all of this together in a document which we’ve recently produced, titled “Sharing Our Vision”. In 20 pages, the document itemises in detail the actions that I’ve summarised above, together with a whole lot more, to create a roadmap which shares the kind of outstanding business we want The Fry Group to be.
“Sharing our Vision” is designed for internal consumption, but we’re more than happy to share it with any client or external stakeholder who’s interested; please just talk to your usual contact at The Fry Group if you’d like to read a copy.
If you do have a look at it, you’ll find that we have set ourselves a “hard” business target – a financial goal which we intend this vision to enable us to achieve. It has a nice snappy sound to it, “24 by 24” – £24 million annual income from the assets we look after for our clients by the year 2024. It’s a stretch, but we’re confident it’s do-able. It will signify exceptional growth, and just as importantly, allow us to invest internally to become the business we want to be.
And why are we driven by this challenge? For the same reason the sky is blue. And ducks quack.