Let diverse voices be heard so big ideas can grow
Mon, 29/10/2018  | 

Glenice Riley, FAB Group Global COO shares her thoughts on the 'engagement factor' and why it's so important. 

"You cannot run a business by committee.

Gone are the days of hierarchical business structures which saw the top rung make all the decisions while the bottom rung remained ‘seen and not heard’. Success depends on ensuring the many voices and opinions within an organisation are respected and considered.

FAB Group is made up of many parts, each playing a significant role in decision-making within the company.

These views come from our founders, the leadership team, over 300 employees, business partners and clinic leaders, and of course, our customers.

A surprising number of FAB Group employees are now based in the UK and while I’ve often talked about the complexity of communicating across oceans, this distance also comes with benefits. When we dip our toes in other locations, we’re often rewarded with the benefits of a broader perspective. In addition to our footprint in the UK, we’ve formed business contacts and networks all around the world, from equipment and product suppliers operating out of Asia and Europe, to business relationships in North America.

The ability to tap into international know-how has always been important to us and these differing perspectives contribute to an incredible collection of diverse thinking within our team.

Diversity of thought is often referenced in relation to culture, ethnicity, or gender, but we also need to appreciate the differences in how the mind works. Some people approach problems with an analytical brain, while others have a creative focus; some put an emphasis on the interpersonal, still others have strong roots in strategic or organisational thinking.

At its core, diversity of thought is about making sure you don’t surround yourself with ‘yes’ people. If you welcome diverse ways of thinking, you’ll come up with robust ideas formed by creative tension.

We have an incredible range of varied backgrounds and thinking within FAB Group. We have a Data Analyst who used to be a chef in a Greek resort, a Laser Engineer who has a background in diesel mechanics, and a Skincare Product Manager who worked as a brand manager for a beer company. As any good leader will tell you, the best ideas are the ones that come from a combination of many perspectives, not just one.

It’s not enough to just build a team of diverse thinkers, you also need to be able to unlock this thought and talent. Perspectives aren’t always given freely, so it’s important for employers and leaders to foster an environment that encourages this. This is the responsibility of every business, to invite people to contribute and then be open to the resulting perspectives and ideas that are shared.

Such action is important to FAB Group and we have a dedicated space to the creation of robust ideas. FAB Lab is a research and development team of three FAB Group employees who work together one day a week out of their everyday jobs to focus on R&D and experiment with new ideas and cutting-edge technologies. The team is made up of a clinical educator who offers medical knowledge, a technical service engineer who sources and implements new technology, and a product development specialist with an in-depth knowledge of all current Caci and Skinsmiths products. From this team, ideas have been developed from concept all the way to the final products used in clinics across the country. In a nutshell, FAB Lab allows voices from different areas of the business to come together and create.

Time and again, I have observed that when people feel that their voice is being heard and listened to, they become more invested in what a company is doing. This ‘engagement factor’ is important for customers, employees, business partners, and the leadership team alike.

With more engagement comes greater investment from those offering their perspectives, and from this, a business will succeed. Let diverse voices be heard so big ideas can grow."