Industry view: A time for reflection

Published: 23 Jan 2015

By Jonathan D’Arcy, managing director, Apollo

The New Year is always a time for taking stock – for embracing self-improvement and giving up bad habits. In business, it can also be a time for re-evaluating what we do and how we do it, for reflecting on what we are and who we are. It may result in formal changes to our systems or a new sense of purpose from the organisation’s leadership.

It’s five years now since we launched Apollo, a multi-disciplinary offshore engineering consultancy. Successfully reaching that milestone gives us additional pause for reflection – looking back at how far we have come and ahead to how much further we want to travel. As individuals our staff share a passion for engineering and the challenge now is for us to strive to keep that excitement in our bellies as we mature as an organisation. From the outset our core values have been key to all our activities, filtering through everything we do.

For some businesses, their values are another tick box exercise – a marketing strategy of weasel words designed to soften sharp edges. At Apollo, we want to ensure our core values run through everything we do, like the writing through a stick of seaside rock. Values are important to each of us whether as customers or voters. We appreciate integrity, we boycott those who deceive us, avoiding doing business with those who don’t do what they say they will do.

Jonathan D'Arcy

At Apollo our core business values are encapsulated in the acronym SAFE – which stands for safe, attitude, future and enjoyment. In practical terms, that means we prioritise doing things in a safe and appropriate manner, ahead of commercial gain.

To this end, our attitude is to embrace openness and honesty. Only with an absolute commitment to transparency and integrity can we deliver safe and appropriate engineering which meets our own highest standards safely. As far as the future is concerned, we build for the future by delivering our best work now in the present. Enjoyment is central to all the work we do – once we stop enjoying what we do – it’s time to move onto the next thing.

Being true to your stated corporate values helps businesses recruit and keep good people. Choosing to be open and up front about these values means staff and customers know what to expect.  Then if anyone falls short, people are right to be disappointed and to let you know.

So what of the next five years? We want to grow this business and expand our operations to new energy hubs overseas. We’ve made some difficult people decisions in order to keep on track with our targets. It hasn’t been easy.

But as we move forward, it is important for us to continue to offer a supportive environment to our staff, which is why mentoring is intrinsic to our operations. We provide our people with the opportunity to learn collaboratively whenever possible and place staff in-house with clients when this is mutually beneficial.

It’s my personal belief that values drive business success and that keeping people happy in their work and most importantly being true to these values also keeps clients happy.

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