Lessons from…Local Radio?

Sometimes you learn from those you lead. Sometimes you learn from those leading you. And sometimes – just sometimes – you learn from somewhere completely different…

Last week I talked about becoming a more agile company. I leant on the (re)building blocks of Lego’s CEO and asked: If it’s not good for the customer journey, why are we doing it?

Driving home that evening, I got a fresh take on the answer – straight from a local radio advert.

Spencer Green GDS local radio blog image

I’m not the only one taking inspiration from local radio. Oh.

Far from being original (I’ve seen it on countless removal vans), the company in question signed off by claiming they were “big enough to cope; small enough to care”.

Did I think they were? Probably. Should they replace the word ‘cope’? Absolutely.

But what really struck me was the direct correlation between the size of the company and their perceived ability to deliver an exceptional service for their customers.

Unlike the ‘no job too big or small’ mantra (the king of vague promises) that focuses solely on getting the job done – what they were saying was simple in its message, but infinite in its power: We’re not here for everyone. We’re here for you.

While it may sound like I’ve just stolen a quote from a Hallmark card, my underlying points remains: Aligning to the customer journey has to be priority number one.

And for that, size does matter.

GDS has changed dramatically over the past few weeks: a smaller portfolio, a reduced workforce and new internal dynamics. And it’s all positive. Why? Because in becoming a more concentrated unit, we can offer even more focus to that small business mentality that shamelessly strives to plant itself at the core of every one of our customer’s journeys.

Sure, we have a global footprint as a company. Yes, we work across a variety of industrial verticals. But we’ll never dilute ourselves. Our future doesn’t belong to being big enough to cope – it belongs to being big enough to care.


About Spencer Green

Spencer Green founded GDS Publishing Ltd in October 1993 to specialise in industrial, government-led publications for the burgeoning Chinese market. The company launched over forty business-to-business titles, was name-checked alongside Tony Blair on China’s national news as ‘best for Chinese business’, and – following a move into India – deemed to be ‘of national importance’ by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. In 1998, GDS Publishing became GDS International and launched its first conference, Enterprise China. The hugely successful Enterprise series of conferences was rolled out across China and Latin America in the next two years. In 2000, GDS International launched its first Senior Executive Summit under the ‘Next Generation’ banner. This became the catalyst for nine years of 25% year-on-year growth... and 40% growth in 2010. In 2011, GDS held over 70 Summits for C-level Executives from a wide range of industries and across the globe, and eight digital marketing conferences. Today, GDS International is determined to become the world’s no. 1 business-to-business media and services company. It’s going to be an exciting journey! Spencer is married to Emily. They have two children, Finlay and Maya, and live in Bristol, UK.
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