Meet our CEO - Damian McGloughlin
Q. Can you give us an overview of your role and responsibility within Homebase?
A. The best way to describe it is that I am responsible for nothing, and accountable for everything. I say responsible for nothing, because it’s the team doing the job, though ultimate accountability sits with me. I need to be able to get down into the detail, and then quickly back up again to a 10,000 feet view.
Q. What does a typical day look like?
A. There isn’t one - but there’s always three parts to the job. The structured meetings you need to plan and get ahead of yourself, tactical conversations with individuals throughout the day, and the bits you can’t predict which change from day to day - it really can vary. My best days are the days when I’m getting out with the teams, walking stores, and speaking to groups with no set agenda, so you can have the real conversations.
Q. Tell us something that might surprise us about your day job?
A. I am present in the business - there is no ivory tower. I’ve got to know everything that’s going on in the business, and for that, it’s important that I am accessible at every point, and that people see me as ‘normal’. I think that’s what makes a good leader. I enjoy the presence of people, and I get my energy from the team. I’m curious about what people are doing, and I actively listen. I want team members at every level within the business to feel like they can have a real conversation with me. I get most of my answers, and ideas, from the team.
Q. What message would you like to share with your team as we come to the end of 2020?
A. It’s a real heartfelt thank you for the relentless hard work and efforts that everyone has put in, at all levels. But most importantly, we’ve done it in the right way. I’m really excited to move into our next chapter of growth.
Q. What are your personal priorities for the business in 2021?
A. First and foremost, to deliver on the plan we have laid out. Delivery means reward and recognition, for the teams and for the business. It means continued growth and investment. As we did this year, when Covid hit, we will be ready to adapt and flex anywhere we need to, to respond in the moment and shape the plan to fit what’s right for the business, our teams and customers.
Q. What are you most excited about for Homebase for next year?
A. I’m really excited about a number of things. To name a few - the launch of our new digital platform, which will set us up to become a truly multichannel business. Also, new store openings, which are symbolic of our move into a growth phase. And finally but most importantly, the investment we’re continuing to make in getting our teams to be the best that they can to create the best customer experience.
Q. What one word would describe your leadership style?
Has there been a moment / book / person that has fundamentally changed how you approach business and leadership?
The Winning Edge by Richard Jackson did have a powerful impact because it’s about your mindset and beliefs. There’s not one leader that I would take as my role model right the way through my career. One of the things I have done, is try to take what I would define as the best of what others do and bring that in with my personality. At the opposite end, I’ve also observed people at their worst, and I’m very clear on what I don’t want to be.
Q. What’s the one biggest lasting impact you think the pandemic will have on how the retail industry operates next year and beyond?
A. It’s just completely changed people’s mindset and thinking around online shopping and the whole shopping experience. It’s so convenient - from research to transaction, then somebody just turns up at your door with a parcel. I think digital will continue to accelerate, but I don’t believe we’re looking at a digital only future. Online shopping is easy, but I think people will miss interaction with other people - and that they’re keen to get back out there and walk into a shop or a supermarket and have another play around - bring a bit of experience back. It’s one thing for a transactional online purchase (a tin of beans) - but for personal, home, garden and style choices, people want to browse, look, and speak to experts to help them gather ideas and inspiration. That’s where the customer experience kicks in, and the importance of creating something different, not just a transactional shop.
Q. Tell us about your latest home or garden project?
A. I’ve just moved house, so we’ve got quite a bit to do! But it will be a little bit of a garden courtyard, an enhanced kitchen and then some decorating.