Sarah O’Connell, general manager of Gallagher Basset-owned company TriEx, is a member of the Canterbury Safety Charter and the Health and Wellbeing Leader’s Forum. Her previous experience primarily lay within tourism and hospitality, though since stepping into the role of a general manager, O’Connell says one factor has truly stood out in her success – the strength of her team.
“One of the most outstanding days I’ve ever had was when I’d been in the organization for about a year and a half, and we had a strategy day,” O’Connell told Insurance Business. “We usually close the business for a day once a year, and we work on a new strategy for the coming year.”
“After about 18 months of owning TriEx, we would sit down at the end of the day and everyone just gave voice to what they thought about the session,” she explained. “And I remember thinking ‘So much investment has gone into these employees, we’re always meeting with them and interacting with them,’ and I thought for the first time in my working career that this won’t fail because these people won’t let it fail, and I won’t let them fail. I felt completely supported in this dynamic and that was really, really a rich moment.”
“When you’re in a work place and you feel like ‘this can’t go wrong because we all got each other’s backs’- that’s really beautiful,” she stated. “And it’s not the achievement-based things that arise during the course of these sessions that make me really proud, it’s been the times when our teams are together.”
O’Connell says that technology has undoubtedly been a great enabler when it comes to maintaining that contact, and geographical barriers are often meaningless if a team knows how to communicate effectively.
“I think technology has really enabled better communication,” she said.
“Technology enables everyone to be readily available, and email, phones and social media really drive that. So I think that although technology can separate people, it also really opens up opportunities in communication. As one example, we’ve got one of our team in Australia who deals with quality and productivity, and he’s only a phone call or an email away. Twenty years ago, it would be hardly possible to work from outside your office in a way that is easy and productive, so I think technology has really helped us achieve that.”