Claire Kinloch, Managing Director and Owner of Genoa Black, reflects on her experience of developing people in business, and how this inspired Genoa Black’s most recent team away day.
“With already four years under our belt this August (how did that happen?!) as well as the anniversary of our Shipmates Graduate Programme, Genoa Black celebrates a real rollercoaster of a ride in growth, development, client project success and talent. Looking back on what we have achieved is incredible, but comes with a realisation that our talent must always come first.
Not of course without its challenges, the past four years has been both a combination of pleasure and pain, watching the business but most importantly its people grow. From newly made graduates to experts from out-with the marketing sector, we have pushed our people right out of their comfort zone, opened minds and enabled them to reach bigger, better personal, and professional potential.
But of course, the people bit is without doubt the hardest. Because it is about people. And everyone is different, and yet you are trying to bring everyone together. Which of course is practically impossible… because everyone is different.
My recent personal experience with Genoa Black, on the eye-opening Santander Gap Programme at Blue Sky Experiences, was the realisation that investing in people and embracing diverse perspectives, personalities and differences, and somehow herding them in some sort of common direction is key. So true was this realisation that we returned to the highly insightful Blue Sky Experiences with our whole team to celebrate our annual team away day (and added in some extra curricula team yoga to ensure everything was stretched!).
We have consciously recruited new blood and diverse expertise over the past 12 months, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to then be sitting in a room full of unlike-minded people who didn’t necessarily always agree with me or my “red”…! But having started to invest this year in a talent infrastructure, people strategy, internal brand and values positioning, more formal training and development programmes and dedicated HR resource and support, I can see that having a strong cultural framework to hold and support all of our amazing and distinctive people is essential to building our business. This has and continues to take a huge amount of time and resource however my realisation is that for Genoa Black, this has to be the number one priority.
Having previously likened our talent to the “beans in the tin”, never a truer word was said. Our talent is responsible for creating a lasting impression on our clients, improving our products and services and helping us grow the business. The only way therefore to grow is to invest in them in order that both Genoa Black and our clients see the return we, and they deserve. But it is going to take more time, more effort, more resources – strong cultures do not come quickly or easily and with every new change and new team member comes new opportunities to build on that culture and strengthen it through the sum of each individual and part. We don’t know everything, but we’ve been on and continue to ride an amazing talent journey with learnings and revelations that continue to surprise me every day. Note to self: keep eyes, ears and mind continuously open…”