“The importance of agreeing and publishing Core Values in a Turnaround’

Patrick Jordan, Atlantic Aviation Group.

“4 years ago I was not a believer and thought all this stuff about core values was text book stuff but that has changed now” was a refreshing opening by Patrick Jordan and his journey to seeing the importance of Core Value to an organisation.

Patrick guided the audience through his broad backgrounds and business ventured but interestingly highlighted a psychology of success course in 2002 as one of the anchors for his future mental approaches to life and business covering

  • Feel terrific – regardless of circumstances
  • I like myself –
  • I think of the worst possible outcome
  • I am responsible

After existing some business and investing in start-ups Patrick entered the world of aviation.

Despite the opportunity there was risk with a potential €250,000 a week loss if hangars were empty, highly unionised, large reliance on key customers and his own lack of understanding about aviation.  However as Patrick points out “You get to the point when you have to make a decision.  Rather than focus on the reasons not to invest I focused on the reasons why which were significant including worldwide demand, payment security and pipeline.”

The offer stage was complicated with changes to work practice, redundancies and removal of historic days off.  After a few months the deal was approved and the problems moved from the examiner to Patrick.

“Sometimes you just need a new team and people were tired and needed to see new people” said Patrick as he discussed the building of the new team from a new CEO followed by a COO, marketing and finally HR & training manager who became the central team to turn around the company.  None had aviation experience.

Speaking on his experience of turning around successful companies “If you have a problem you have it in one of three departments sales, operations or finance.”

He also outlined the different challenges of growing a business where you recruit people organically to taking over a business where people are suspicious.

With the team in place Patrick narrated the Turn Around Journey which started with the creation of a new identity.  Patrick confessed to be sceptical about the process of forming the values behind the new identity.  During the sessions the values evolved were:

  • Trust
  • Ambitition
  • Committed to Excellence
  • Agile
  • Fun
  • Customer Focused
  • People Focused

In order to make them real they published the core values on the canteen wall and discussed with employees.  This was followed up with work on visualisation which was captured in “Where do you want to be in 10 years time and what will you do in the next 20 days to get there.”

Using the agreed core values key business pillars were built that help to govern the business

  • Focus on people and culture
  • Deliver a superior customer experience
  • Create excellence at all levels
  • Drive growth and profitablity
  • Be market and customer aware

In order in implement the change the management team also focus on creating a great place to work.  This ranges from office environment to created a right first impression with significant investment in painting the shop floor to collateral.

Continuing the change management process HR’s function became Employee Engagement.

In wrapping up Patrick shared what he has learnt from the journey

  • Constantly improving
  • Talks to the right people
  • Build forums
  • Work on visualisation
  • Living the core values
  • Constantly on your toes
  • Don’t be afraid to change business
  • Identify and publish values