At AXSMarine we value and care for our customers. Our CCO Stephen Fletcher plays a crucial role in driving the company’s commercial strategy and overseeing its sales and business development activities.
What skills do you believe are essential for success in your role at AXSMarine?
Shipping is very much a people’s business where individuals connect to make business happen. One of the most important skill-sets is to thoroughly enjoy working hard to build and maintain strong relationships with people. That skill requires you to be humble, interested in people, spending time with them, have the patience to listen to them and hear what they have to say. If you listen, you learn something new about them every day. I encourage my team and colleagues to go out of their way and always spend the effort to find, build and maintain strong relationships. It’s a skill which needs to be kept sharp through regular practice.
How have AXSMarine's values impacted your personal and professional development?
AXSMarine has always cared about its people, without whom we couldn’t have grown in the way we have. When we're young and starting out, I believe there’s a tendency to be somewhat self-centered - focusing on one’s individual growth and success first and foremost. After joining AXSMarine, my experience has strongly supported that caring for the business first and foremost ahead of your own personal gains brings broader and deeper rewards to everyone and the company.
Which is the easiest way to deal with challenges?
We all gain experience over time and the more projects and challenges we face head on and openly, the faster we'll gain the necessary experience to deal with failure and success. These're two sides of the same coin. In a commercial sales role, I'd say that there’s always opportunity in everything and just because a sales pitch didn’t bring a deal that doesn’t mean no; it means come back later, find a better angle or pain point to solve. Communicate openly about why it didn’t work out and you'll find that you're not alone, and others will have experienced similar situations over and over.
I think the same approach has to be taken for successes. Once you’ve gained experience and accumulated an array of formulas, success will come more easily simply because you’ve a lot more tools in the box. You may be a master of a hammer, but the hammer won’t help you safely wire a plug.
In short, educate yourself in the products, people, and pain points before engaging and then if you fail you’ll know why, and that lesson is added to your toolbox.
What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to a leadership role in the maritime industry?
There’re many leadership roles in the maritime industry and the skills required will continue to change over time. Fundamentally, you need to educate yourself and gain practical experience in an array of topics which you can re-apply in the leadership role.
The best way to gain experience is to always volunteer for every opportunity available. Seek out other people in the maritime community to interact with and listen to their experiences in order that you know the scope of opportunity in the community. When practical experience is not available, seek out how to educate yourself through courses, reading or listening to other people with experience.
If you could describe AXSMarine in one word, what would it be and why?
"All-in-one community”. Ok not one word but a short sentence which describes our close community. The company has sustainably grown from 10 people to over 200 people since I joined over 17 years ago. During this time, we've attracted people who incrementally add their own personal element to our community. Our company turnover rate is one of the lowest in our industry.