Flashcards in Top 20 SOARs Deck (10)
Building credibility, analysing data
S: I convinced a senior specialist at Christie's not to do something that wasn't profitable against his objections, resulting in exceeding the books private sale target by over 2% (50K). The head of sale for the books department was known to be a tricky character. He was often skeptical about information given to him from finance. I'd discovered that certain types of valuation work he was involved in were not really profitable given the amount of time he would spend. He would spend weeks valuing the items for an estate sale for a small percentage commission, which might earn £100K. If he instead devoted time to 3 private sales which were on average £70K each of commission income, it would be more profitable for the company. I was nervous about presenting what I'd discovered to him. I made sure I knew my facts very well and calmly presented what I'd found to him. I resolved his objections by responding to all of them confidently and comprehensively. (Right a lot). At the end of the conversation we agreed. He took my recommendation on board. Earn Trust. Have backbone.
CONFLICT: I built a strong positive working relationship with a colleague who was handing over her role to me and was very stressed and initially hated me, allowing me to meet the strategic plan submission deadline. (avoided waiting 3 weeks until she was back from her wedding and honeymoon). I was taking over a role from someone at Selfridge's who was about to go away to get married. She got terribly upset because she felt under pressure and I was asking her for help and advice. I did a combination of things - I built rapport with her, I prioritised what I really needed before she went away and left some things, I spoke with my manager privately and asked for advice about the situation, and I got her sponsorship for the key things. I explained to Monica that it was in both of our best interest to get it right. She saw my point of view and went from obstructing to helping me as much as she could and we got along well by the end of my time in her role. Earn Trust, Customer Obsession, Ownership
S: I developed and implemented a cost tracking process for the £185M program investment at Selfridge's which gave fantastic visibility to project costs. £185M investment at Selfridge's to overhaul customer experience, upgrade systems etc. Program with over 30 project managers & 6 large work streams. No consistent way to track & report costs, forecast, highlight risks & opps. Invent & simplify.
O: Had to quickly roll out excel cost tracking and reporting tool to people used to using their own purpose built spreadsheets. (bias for action).
A: Spoke to a lot of people across different functions, looked at existing trackers, built tool, proactively invited myself to informal project manager meetings and also held formal meetings with all stakeholders (PMs, project management office), designed a process and rolled out the product.
R: Tool (called PFTs) became embedded in business and monthly reviews could be held with finance and work stream sponsors (e.g. head of program delivery). I called them 'PFTs' and everyone in business referred to them. Recently met with someone at Selfridge's, and they're still using the PFTs for their 50 live projects.
S: Through my partnering with the Director of Operations and his team at Virgin Media, I identified an opportunity to save £1.5M by consolidating customer service sites. I partnered the Director of operations at Virgin Media who was accountable for the smooth running of the TV, mobile, and broadband network and cyber security. He was tasked with reducing the yearly operations spend by £7.0M. At a team meeting, one of his direct reports (Head of Business Operations) spoke about the fact that a couple of business customer support sites were doing the same thing although they had low call volume. I volunteered to investigate what savings consolidating the sites might generate. We worked together to create an Excel model showing the FTE and site savings. I led a presentation about the opportunity to the Director of Operations with the Head of Business Ops there supporting. We were pleased that the project was approved and it generated significant savings (£1.5M). This strengthened my partnering relationships with the Director of Ops and his team. Learn & Be Curious. Right A Lot. Think Big. Bias for Action.
S: I partnered with the marketing senior brand director of Aquafresh toothpaste at GSK to obtain sign-off of a new product launch, generating £1.5M of incremental sales and resulting in Aquafresh exceeding their budget target (£90M turnover portfolio, Aquafresh big part). We met as a cross-functional team (marketing, sales, and finance) and I suggested that we gather information from business intelligence, the demand planning team, and asked the sales & marketing guys for their assumptions on uplift. I built a P&L around those assumptions and we refined it together. I presented the P&L to the finance director and GM of consumer health products while the brand director fielded questions, and the new product launch was approved. It slightly exceeded the projection by £300 K and generated £1.5M of incremental sales. The good result solidified my relationship with the marketing brand director. Bias for Action, Earn Trust, Deliver Results
impacting bottom line
S: I found important insights that led to a 10% increase in auction revenue. Partnered with GM and senior specialists of World Art for Christie's. March 2016 Southeast Asian Art auction performed very badly. No FBP had done this previously and I was under time pressure, but I took the initiative to put the pieces into categories and compare to the competition. I drew out the strategic recommendation quickly. I highlighted the fact that Himalayan paintings were selling well among collectors and institutions. They took my recommendation and during the next auction season, there was an improvement of 10% (from 3.6-nearly 4M). Right a lot - some resistance as they were used to a management accountant but I knew I would get to the heart of the matter and would be able to provide good advice.
streamlining, reporting efficiency
S: I rolled out a streamlined forecasting process to my art group managers (dotted line reporting to me) to cover forecasting for 30-40 auctions across 7 departments, freeing up 3 days for me to spend more time reviewing and refining. The existing process involved the FBP entering the data for all of those auctions happening constantly after speaking with the 3 business managers based in Paris, New York, and London leaving little time to review and challenge the numbers. I had to implement something new and add a little bit to the business managers workload. We talked about the best way to handle the process and methodology (I would build and maintain a template, they would enter the numbers after speaking with specialists, we would then discuss at scheduled meetings). I rolled out the forecasting tool prior to the next auction which had to be done quickly (bias for action), which the three regional managers were able to use without my help. I then could challenge their assumptions based on interest in the lots/past performance, etc. and the forecast accuracy improved and time was saved. Invent & simplify, Insist on the Highest Standards
S: I coached an analyst reporting to me on setting the right tone in her interactions with senior people, resulting in an improved perception of her credibility and professionalism. An analyst reporting to me at Christie's was very competent but a bit gossipy and at times she could come across as overconfident. This may have been because she was starting out in her career and was less polished. I encouraged her to be more formal and less self-depracating in order to build credibility with our stakeholders. I really noticed an improvement in how people regarded her. Hire and Develop the Best.
I partnered GM of world art, books & science and direct reports. Internal customers - art specialists. I was attending post sale debriefs (after auctions) during which results were discussed and felt that people were switching off during my presentations. I really wanted my 'customers' to feel that it was valuable. I met with the head of sale for books and manuscripts to find out how it could be improved. He explained that it just felt like I was reading numbers from a page. He asked me to make it more insightful. I wanted to make the information come alive and also be more insightful so I thought about what might be interesting. Instead of just numbers I used graphs & charts to display certain information. For example, I showed how the lots had performed as an aggregate. vs. the low estimate. This was an interesting way to see how the auction performed against the specialists' valuations of the items and would help show what interest level was like - if there was a lot of bidding. We could also easily compare to previous auctions with these metrics. Other interesting charts showed hammer and contribution by collection. So for instance, majority of sales were generated by medieval manuscripts and printed books. Can see at a glance what performed well in the sale, use info for future sales. Head of Sale was very happy with results, made sure I was always invited to all post-sale debriefs. Insight helped drive sale strategy, overall department met target in a difficult period.