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It is not often that I get to listen to a big business guy talk about his trials and tribulations inside a global business. I know that I often felt frustrated when I worked in big business – I just didn’t think I could make a difference. I found it refreshing to listen to Bill Pulver (now CEO of Appen Butler Hill) but long term career guy with ACNeilsen / Netratings.

I wondered what I would do with a business that turned over $20mil a year but had lost $70mil in the past three. Would I be able to get it to profitable in just two years. I was pretty keen to hear how… and the first thing he said was “The most fun you have in business is growing a great team of people.”

Here are Bill’s four essential elements to a successful turn around:

  1. You can’t manage what you can’t measure – find away to know the right numbers to measure
  2. Good leaders communication relentlessly
  3. Know your ‘Service Profit Chain’; that is Employee satisfaction creates customer satisfaction, which in turn creates shareholder satisfaction
  4. It is very important to push yourself outside your comfort zone and ask a lot of questions from a lot of people, ie constantly reinvent yourself to survive and grow – keep learning

He left the group with some other gems:

  • Great leadership skills are transferable between industries.
  • Focus on building a great team rather than the exit – the outcome will take care of itself if you have the right people in place.
  • Always treat those around you in the way you want to be treated – respect is paramount.
  • Fun is more important than money – enjoy every step of the journey with great people around you.
  • You can motivate people enormously simply by telling the truth and showing them the numbers. Being truly transparent as a leader inspires people.

Thanks Bill for sharing your experiences – appreciated. And thanks too to Entrepreneurs Organization for putting on the event – great to be back and see so many familiar faces.

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