Gallagher Security's EVP for APAC & IMEA shares how setting ambitious goals and empowering employees can make big moves drives success.
When Craig Schutte saw the bright blue ‘Do Epic’ neon sign in a shop earlier this year, he bought it immediately, knowing that he’d found his team’s annual catchphrase. Now the sign hangs brilliantly on his office wall, a bold reminder of the charter that he and his team have agreed upon for 2023.
As Gallagher Security’s Executive Vice President for APAC and IMEA, Craig and his team choose a catchphrase each year; last year’s was “adapt and conquer”. But what does "doing epic" actually mean in practical terms? For Craig, it's about setting ambitious goals and taking daring action to achieve them.
With over 31 years in the security industry (24 of those at Gallagher), surprisingly it’s not the technology that ultimately inspires Craig; Gallagher Security is a global manufacturer of integrated security solutions that are in use around the world to protect, secure and manage people and assets.
Craig explains that he’s personally more motivated by the people that work for Gallagher, their customers, and what makes them tick.
"My leadership style revolves around the team. It's not just about the product, but rather about mindset, ambition, and culture. I believe in building teams and structures that allow room for individuality, where everyone can contribute their strengths in the best possible way."
Leaders who create leaders
This has helped shape Craig’s belief that developing an authentic workplace culture is paramount to creating the type of environment where employees feel safe and empowered to make big moves. "When your team feels trusted, it fosters creativity and out-of-the-box thinking," Craig says. “This ultimately creates a culture where you’ve got leaders creating leaders."
And while Craig's leadership philosophy centers a lot on self-belief, he also believes in enjoying your time at work. "It's about being part of something meaningful and also having fun," he says. "We laugh a lot, and we don't sweat the small stuff."
In the process of recruiting new team members, while metrics and qualifications hold significant weight, Craig places a higher priority on team dynamics when making final hiring decisions. "I’m always looking to see if someone is a good cultural fit for us first and foremost, and I prioritize that over experience or whatever qualifications they've got," he explains.
Having the right team structure and people in place is essential to achieving what Craig calls ‘success by design’ – a strategy that ensures you’ve got the fundamental business structure in place to pretty much guarantee success.
He believes that this has been the key to his team's ability in driving a massive 400% growth in revenue in just five years, making Australia Gallagher Security's best-performing global market.
High security solutions
Gallagher’s growth in Australia has been thanks in part to its successful positioning as one of only two Government-approved providers of High-Security solutions and having the lion’s share of the market. Delivering a system that is fully endorsed to protect premises from Zone 1 to Zone 5, Gallagher’s team in Australia has been able to promote the company’s technology as having some of the most rigorous physical and cyber security government standards in the world.
“Gallagher is widely acknowledged as one of the most reliable providers of high-security solutions. We’ve introduced innovative perimeter, access control, and intruder alarm solutions, which are utilized to safeguard some of the world's most crucial assets and locations,” says Craig. “Again, the accomplishment in this area is thanks to an amazing product, an enthusiastic, well-structured team, and this in turn has allowed us to foster outstanding partnerships with our Channel Partners.”
Creativity is key
Craig is particularly proud of the fact that the team that was there from day one of his leadership is the same team that has managed to achieve this epic feat.
“You know, 400% revenue growth in five years, essentially with the same team is pretty incredible,” reflects Craig. “We often consider what has inspired that growth, and what it all boils down to is leadership and strengthening the mindset of the individuals in the team. So, once we created the right structure and the proper leadership team, the transformation was quite amazing.”
Craig has noticed that the structure of some other large companies is more regimented. “In those sorts of organizational setups, you find that people lose their sense of creativity because it’s too structured. And when that happens, people become unhappy in their job,” comments Craig.
“The cost of high staff turnover and the lack of employee longevity is often underestimated by companies. We make sure that we prioritize our team and ensure that they feel valued and taken care of. I strongly believe that taking care of our people is not only essential for our success but also for the success of our partners and customers – it's all success by design.”
Expanding the remit
With this “success by design” bearing fruit in Australia, Craig and his team are now set to rinse and repeat this winning strategy across the Gallagher Security business in the Asia, Pacific, (APAC) India, Middle East, and African (IMEA) regions. A number of internal promotions, where integral members of Craig’s team have expanded their roles from an Australian focus to an APAC/IMEA remit, are supporting this rollout.
Craig and his team are gearing up to implement a series of key initiatives designed to support their continued growth plans. Among these plans are several training initiatives which have been proven to be effective in their Australian operations and which will now be deployed across the APAC and IMEA regions.
"We’re also focused on scaling the team and leadership structures across the entire APAC and IMEA regions to optimize our resources and drive operational efficiencies,” mentions Craig. “A huge driver for the recent internal promotions in the Australian team is to help with collaboration with our in-market teams in APAC and IMEA, to share best practices and leverage synergies and strengths within the expanded team.”
Increasing brand and marketing awareness to build trust and establish a strong presence across the regions is also a core focus over the coming months. This will involve product evolution to cater to the unique needs of the APAC and IMEA regional markets.
With their sights set on replicating their success in these new regions, Craig and his team are poised to take the Gallagher Security business to new heights.
“The trick for us was creating the right team template, which we’ve done. Now we just need to emulate that same structure throughout our regions and then we can really start adding value for our Channel Partners and end-users. Our goal in the APAC and IMEA regions is to be the solution of choice in all our key vertical markets,” comments Craig. “We’ve got customer and partner relationships that stem back 30-40 years. It’s the strength of these relationships and the strength of our teams that will keep driving our growth, and we’re looking forward to being able to add even more value now that we’ve got the internal structure set up just right.”