Can't keep a good person down
When it comes to managing people, the stakes don’t get any higher than overseeing logistics and supply for part of the British Army’s operations in a foreign conflict.
Yet this is among the many things that Greg Peck has taken in his stride, and he has a string of medals as testament to his success.
So, as you would imagine, he has a nugget or two of wisdom to share when it comes to managing people and things to achieve a successful outcome.
Since leaving the Forces in 2014, he has worked in HR and logistics roles for Siemens and, now, the Middlegate Europe transport company, based in Hull.
Not bad for a lad who left his home in east Hull with nothing but a few belongings in a bag and went off to join the junior infantry.
“I left three months later, full of disappointment that it hadn’t lived up to my expectations,” said Greg.
“I took a string of jobs back in Hull, making parts first for home boiler systems and then trawlers. Then three dangerous things happened to me in quick succession and made me reassess what I was doing and where the best opportunities for my future were.
“I decided to go back into the Army as a regular when I was 17 and rose up the ranks from there.”
And there was no doubt he’d made the right choice this time, as Greg went from one of the youngest sergeants to one of the youngest sergeant majors of his era and then regimental sergeant major, while at the same time furthering his education in maths, English and business & finance.
He then gained a Queen’s Commission and became a Captain and added professional qualifications in logistics, supply and transport to his list, as he supported the Army’s operations in Iraq.
“I took care of all aspects of logistics and supply for 1,000 serving personnel, over a four year period,” he said.
From there, he did a stint as a UK Military advisor in Afghanistan, before moving into HR as onboarding lead for first Siemens in Hull and then at Middlegate Europe, where he worked for over two years as HR Manager then General Manager responsible for all operational activity in Hull.
“Altogether, I completed 37 years of boy-to-man service in the Army,” said Greg.
And along the way, he served all over the world and in a range of historical conflicts, including Iraq, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and other locations such as Belize and the Arctic Circle.
What has all of this taught him?
“That when you’re in a position of influence, in work or in business, you don’t just look at the qualifications someone has, or their age or gender, you look at their whole character as a person and their potential fit within your business model, in order to decide what they have to offer,” he continued.
“As I have proved, people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and maybe haven’t had all the opportunities life can bring, can have a huge amount to offer if given the right break.”
And this is a philosophy Greg has instilled into his two children. So much so that his son, Paul, has a masters degree in Physics and works for IBM in London, while his daughter Amy, has completed her nursing degree and now works in New Zealand.
“I like to think their success is a product of my own determination and the values I’ve instilled in them,” said Greg.
And now, he is using his impressive people and project management skills in his latest role.
“My military experience exposed me to things most people don’t come across and has left me with a certain set of values and standards, as well as the ability to problem solve,” he added.
“These have taught me things like the importance of having the right structure and encouraging all of your people to work as hard as possible to achieve a team mission.
“Morale is also hugely important and to achieve good morale I believe it’s important to involve as many people as possible in your business decision-making process. Autocratic leadership is necessary in the military but in civilian life I find that it’s important to flit between that and a more inclusive style that makes people feel involved and so gets the best from them.”
And his first piece of advice for managers of companies and people?
“Stay grounded. I know every single driver in my company by their first name because, if there’s one thing my career in the Army has taught me, it’s the importance of having a 360-degree awareness of everything involved in a project. Once you have that, you can make the right decisions.”
“Never give up on yourself and always keep an open mind. There are always opportunities out there for the right people and standard qualifications alone don’t tell the whole story.”
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