Posted by Diane Bouzebiba (Managing Director, Amadeus UK and Ireland)
100 days isn’t long – unless you’re an adult dragonfly – to whom it is a lifetime. But 100 days is as good a marker as any to put a proverbial stake in the ground and to take stock. It provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on what has been achieved to date and what opportunities and challenges still lie ahead.
When someone embarks on taking a new direction in life, especially when that involves relocating from the sun, sea and mountains of the South of France to the green, leafy trees and fields of West Sussex (as in my case), along with the suitcases and furniture removal van, there are always mixed emotions.
New beginnings are exciting
New beginnings hold promise of meeting new people, seeing different ways of doing things and expanding one’s knowledge and understanding. I’ve been fortunate enough to start my life in the North West of England (Bolton) then live in France and Algeria, so I know there is much to learn from different cultures and from experiencing life from the perspective of locals. But having said that, there is also the inevitable bidding farewell to your comfort zone, with all its familiar surroundings, routines and friendly faces. What makes that kind of move easier is the welcome you receive in the new location. And I can honestly say that everyone I have met since arriving in January – customers, partners and of course the Amadeus UK & Ireland team – have made me feel very much at home, very quickly.
The 100 days microcosm against a background of change
So what have my first 100 days shown me? “The only constant is change” said Heraclitus of Ephesus, a Greek philosopher who lived rather a few years ago (c. 535 BC – 475 BC) and this statement continues to be true in the context of our business today. My first 100 days have really allowed me to feel a sense of excitement among our customers and partners at the opportunities being created in a changing market but also a sense of unease at the sheer amount of information to be digested and used to shape the successful business of the future.
I don’t think I’m giving away any trade secrets when I say my team have come to see that I am a woman of action… and I believe that joint actions against such a background of change makes everyone much stronger.
Customer feedback is crucial
What I have particularly enjoyed has been the opportunity to meet customers at trade events, seminars and industry forums. I really like it when customers ‘tell it like it is.’ Sometimes, those in a leadership position receive feedback that has been filtered as it works its way through the organisation. It is entirely understandable. People don’t want to hurt the boss’s feelings or they worry it may not show an individual in the best light. No company is perfect after all.
But if companies are willing to listen, customers are very good at outlining what works well and where things could be improved. That kind of information is like gold dust to me – it is invaluable business intelligence, but only if acted upon. And that’s what I believe is the greatest difference between a supplier and a business partner. Partners work together and to do that effectively, there has to be dialogue. So if you see me at an event, do come over and say hello…. You can’t miss me – I am 6’1” tall and ….‘I’m all ears!’