I joined Powwow 4 day’s after Stephen Gruenewald of Global Asset Finance Limited commenced consultancy with the company.
The atmosphere within the department was shocking – mountains of paperwork, unanswered queries, demoralised and demotavated staff and irate customers. I, personally, was given little direction regarding my role.
Stephen then took the time to explain, as much as he was able to, his position and vision for the department, and what he expected from me and other team members. He came across as a person who was open and honest, but who would not tolerate staff who did not work hard and as part of the team.
Stephen took over the overall running of the department – here and Chesham. Carole Baldock, Morag Peers and I reported directly to him.
We had the most horrendous task of achieving our targets, whilst sorting out the past mistakes. He personally uncovered a myriad of unanswered post, uncashed cheques, personnel documents – the list seemed endless.
We gave each team member their own ledger and Stephen openly encouraged the team to discuss ideas and how they felt we could improve. Staff morale fluctuated but was a huge improvement on how it had been when we joined the company.
My role was significantly different from that which I was employed to do. He supported me, but left me under no illusion that I must prove myself before financial recognition was made. To this end I have worked hard for the company and under his guidance believe that I have grown professionally. It has not been easy – he is tough – expecting a lot of commitment, but at the same time compassionate.
His mantra’s are that we must all pull together, working as a team and that managers must lead from the front. He puts in an incredible amount of hours and does not shy away from throwing the rubbish out, opening the post or posting cheques onto the system – if that’s what it takes to ensure the team runs smoothly.
On top of the obvious problems within the department, he also has the added pressures of the Chesham team, which although smaller, had similar problems regarding morale and so on. Distance management is always difficult, but he has always maintained telephone and direct contact.
He has also taken on the company’s risk & compliance and insurance problems. Before he joined, the company did not trade legally. Rather than support his efforts, other senior managers and directors have seen him as a threat!
The department has come an incredibly long way since the dark days of November. We have all worked together, but Stephen has been the driving force pushing us ahead. There has been no resting on laurels, we achieve one goal – we move on, we don’t achieve it – we find another way. It has been relentless and exhausting, but we have always worked together and the only time I have ever felt exposed was when Stephen was on leave.
I have not always agreed with decisions that Stephen has made, but any problems we have are resolved in an open and honest way. We regularly talk and have built an exceptionally good working relationship.
Stephen has shown no favouritism within the department except where hard work is concerned. You work hard – you get rewarded. For my part, it is a pleasure to work with someone who shows no interest in the sex, race or age of a person. Most people hold some form of bias, Stephen does not.
We now find ourselves in a stronger position as a department. Carole Baldock and I report directly to Stephen, and Morag Peers and Stephen Edwards report to me. There are more controllers, most of whom are motivated. Although problems continue to be experienced with Oracle, none of us feel that we are just told to get on with it. The support is there – the team know that Stephen will ensure that problems are resolved to our advantage.
If the company had not employed Stephen Gruenewald and Global Asset Finance Limited. The Customer Finance Department would have lost most of the staff, lacked direction and the company would have continued to trade illegally.
Assistant Credit Manager
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