duff

10 things we learned from Peter Duffy

Peter Duffy is the sort of boss we’d all like to have. A smart and approachable Scouser, he puts people above all else. He spoke with vulnerability about past blunders and emphasised the importance of having a laugh.

It’s clear marketing is where his passion lies – and with achievements ranging from the launch of Barclays’ internet banking and easyJet’s digital reinvention under his belt, there’s plenty of proof that he knows his stuff. Currently Just Eat’s Interim CEO, he believes we’ll be seeing more marketers climbing up the ladder to the top job. 

So, here are ten things that will help you if you want to follow in Peter’s footsteps:

  1.  Preserving the reputation of your brand is the #1 thing you have to do. Peter explained that when Internet Banking failed at Barclays, they shut it down. Protecting your customer needs and brand reputation is vital.
  2.  Being CEO is the role of communicator. If a team member doesn’t understand what you’re saying, it’s not their fault, it’s yours. Adapt your language.
  3. Listen. Peter credited his biggest change in leadership style as a lesson from his former boss, Carolyn McCall. Don’t broadcast – draw people into the conversation and absorb what they say.
  4. Stay true to your customer. They should be at the heart of everything you do. As marketers, we understand what resonates with them. Bring all the data together so you can see the whole picture.
  5. Support the ‘culture carriers’. Recognise that the brilliant people in your teams are more than the job that they do. Sometimes, they define what you’re trying to achieve and push for what needs to be done – protect them.
  6. Get stuck in, get things done, get it over with. When things go wrong, use the bad moments to drive change through the organisation.
  7. Encourage people to talk. Inspire your team to ideate in collaboration, not isolation. There’s greater value in building relationships – nothing beats face to face. 
  8. Empower people at different levels. The people at the top shouldn’t be making all the decisions, but rather those closest to the issues. Galvanise them to just get on with it, regardless of seniority. 
  9. Be authentic. In Peter’s own words, he’s a ‘family bloke’ – something he eluded to as playing a vital part in his decision to turn down the CEO position full-time. He shares his personality via weekly three-minute videos including ‘dad jokes’ with his team and no longer emails out of hours. Understand your values and what matters to you.
  10. Be generous. It all boils down to how you handle things when they’re going wrong and stress is at a high. Aspire to be nice, be generous and be selfless.