Glen, you have recently joined Port Macquarie X-Ray as Chief Executive Officer. Firstly, can you tell us a bit about Port Macquarie X-Ray?
Port Macquarie X-Ray is a locally owned business offering boutique radiological procedures across MRI, CT Scans, Ultrasounds and X-Rays. The company was started almost four years ago to break the monopoly that was held by the only other X-Ray business in town. It started with just eight employees and has now grown to more than 21 and has a new purpose built facility on Lord Street.
As a locally owned private radiological practice, Port X-Ray offers patients and doctors a specialised, premium service, focused on the specific needs of the Port Macquarie medical sector.
Can you tell us a little about your background; in particular, the career trajectory that has led you to this position?
I joined the Army through RMC Duntroon and concluded my military career 15 years later as the unit commander of a surveillance organisation, whom I sent to Iraq.
I was headhunted from the military to an IT company in order to win and implement a Federal Government maritime surveillance programme. I then entered the services industry, running two Australian divisions of ISS Facility Services, including Flick Pest Control. I then headed to Saudi Arabia as the CEO of a water treatment company. I later moved to Phoenix, Arizona, as the North American CEO of a waste water treatment company servicing the oil and gas industry. The severe drop in the oil price foreshadowed the demise of the waste water market in the USA, and I returned home to Port Macquarie.
Last September I accepted the role of CEO Port Macquarie X-Ray.
You’ve worked in major cities within Australia and in the US. What are some of the global issues that you have identified that can affect organisations, regardless of their geographical locations?
Strong leadership. We look to government to provide stability and consistency so that as business leaders we can develop strategic plans to minimise the impact or leverage the opportunities of the changing economic landscape. Without good leadership, we are left with indecisiveness and disorder.
In your role as CEO, you are responsible for steering the organisation and to implement short and long term plans. How do you engender a culture of strong leadership to ensure your staff work with you to help you execute these plans?
Open communications and creating the right company culture. At Port X-Ray the staff are included in the monthly review of the company Profit and Loss sheet – line by line. By opening the books of our accounts, staff can see how money is flowing into and out of the business. This makes decisions affecting the business easier for everyone to comprehend.
I presented the staff a draft business strategy to transition the company from being just another radiology practice to a business that offers something special and unique in the market place. I sought their ideas, comments and concerns. Over the next few weeks, I had many staff telling me that they awoke at 2am with new innovations and ideas they would like to try. Emails came flooding in. Change was beginning and was being fuelled from the grassroots. The culture was transforming…
Critical to our current success is that the staff know the strategic plan and understand the reasons behind the changes as they occur. They live the strategic plan each day in every interaction they have with patients, suppliers and doctors.
What do you think is the single most important factor in running a successful, regionally based business?
For us at Port Macquarie X-Ray it is all about meeting the needs of our patients and the referring GPs and Specialists. They are our customers. Without satisfied customers – we do not have a viable business.
What is the most rewarding part about your role with Port Macquarie X-Ray?
It is extremely rewarding working with consummate professionals. This is the first organisation I have been involved with since the Military where everyone loves what they do. The staff know that patients have a choice where to take their business, and it is very rewarding knowing the staff are striving to offer the best service possible to their patients.
What are some of the common challenges that you face in your role at Port Macquarie X-Ray?
Effective targeted marketing to patients and doctors keeps me awake at night. My biggest challenge is attempting to change the habits of patients and doctors. As an example, we have purchased the very best MRI in the world and it is bulkbilled; however, patients continue to go to the Base Hospital for medical procedures out of habit.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have personally faced throughout your career?
I have continually been perplexed by the lack of trust and authority leaders place in their subordinates, thus creating red tape. This is the greatest challenge to new ideas coming to fruition. In my experience, middle managers will not commit to try something new for fear of retribution should it fail. A company that allows its managers to take risks and to make mistakes will be more successful, because it can move quickly and decisively to meet changing market needs.
And finally, if you could invite any three business people to lunch, who would they be and why would you invite them?
Jack Welch – 20 year CEO of General Electric. He allowed his managers to make mistakes and try new ideas growing the company exponentially. His leadership, vision and ability to engender an innovative culture is inspirational.
Donald Trump – what a character! That would be a good lunch. He has made more mistakes than most business leaders, and I believe in learning from others’ mistakes.
Elle Macpherson – two reasons: she is an exceptional business woman, and who wouldn’t want to have lunch with Elle!
Thanks for your time, Glen.