Making it real

Apr 08 | 2024

Steve Jordan interviews Jane Riley from Grace in Australia about what makes her tick and how she manages others.

Jane RileyAt Grace, they call her ‘Cyclone’.  It’s easy to see why.  She’s wired into the mains.  As you talk to her you find yourself speaking a little more quickly as her enthusiasm infects.  When you stop, your head buzzes, then the withdrawal symptoms set in.  You crave another dose of the elixir of life that is Jane Riley.

Jane is the director of corporate services for the GCW Group, which includes Grace. She is responsible for looking after corporate customers and the Group’s corporate portfolio across relocations, HHG, mobility, removals procurement and property.  But that’s not what this story is about.  It’s about something far more important and fundamental to any company’s success.  This story only touches on what Grace does and how it does it.  It’s more about why it’s in business at all and how it gets its people to understand what is important.

This is not part of Jane’s job.  Not really.  Then again, it should be part of everyone’s job. Making business both profitable and fun is something Jane takes very seriously. Let’s go back a little.

Jane has been in the moving industry for well over 30 years.  For many of them she worked with Wridgways.  “My favourite job ever was being a rep on the road,” she said.  “Getting paid for looking through other people’s cupboards. I used to guess what they did for work by looking at the books on the shelves.  I also would remember their car registration numbers in the drive and enjoyed watching their faces when I could recall them for the quote.”  As with all reps, determined to keep the job fresh, Jane played her games.

When Jane saw the writing on the wall at Santa Fe Wridgways, she left to start her own change management and executive coaching business called Set for Life.  “I loved idea of working autonomously, but I really missed the tribe – the water-cooler conversations.”

Much of her work was helping companies develop their strategies and helping staff understand them and make the plans and company values an intrinsic part of the business. “So many companies have so-called sales and marketing strategies, but they were just words,” she explained. “Few companies stick to them.”

Jane soon realised that it was the foundation of the business that really mattered, not a glib mission statement invented up by some flashy marketing agency.   “It’s about why you are in business, what the business stands for,” she said.

And, if you think about it, that’s obvious.  Ask some people why they go to work and they will say it’s to make money.  But the money itself has no value, it’s what you can do with it that is interesting.  In the same way, a company makes money as a means to an end.  The end being its purpose.  What is it here for?  What is it that its owners, managers and staff work their tails off every day to do? ...

Photo: Jane Riley.

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