Hello and welcome to our 7 @ Eleven - seven insights into our team that will hopefully make you laugh, gasp, and maybe even cry while you enjoy your mid-morning cuppa.
First in the series, we caught up with Operations Director, Daniel Latham, a key driving force behind the efficient and smooth operations of Pixel. Daniel oversees the day-to-day functioning of the support, build and installation parts of the business, ensuring that everything runs like clockwork. So, grab a seat, pour yourself a steamy cup of the good stuff, and let's get this show on the road!
It’s a lovely sunny May afternoon as we sit down to chat with Daniel, he’s recently been promoted to Operations Director, so there’s lots to talk about.
Daniel, welcome! Thanks for taking some time out to chat with us, especially after your recent promotion to Director, we can imagine you’re pretty busy so shall we dive straight in?
Glad to be here, yes absolutely, let’s dive in.
To get to know a bit about your professional background quickly, in less than 20 words, tell us how your career lead you to become Operations Director for Pixel.
11 years ago, I started in Tech Support and as Pixel grew, I took responsibility for various Operations and Teams.
What’s top of the agenda for you as Operations Director at Pixel?
To prepare the business for change. Pixel has grown quickly over the years and that’s set to continue, so we have to be able to adapt our processes at the same pace. Making sure we’re prepared and aren’t affected by the growing pains businesses often face is top priority for me. I remember in 2015 setting up the support desk system. It wasn’t long before most departments in the business were working in there, so we quickly adapted and developed it to work for everyone. Projects like this are what mean the business can keep moving at pace.
No career is without its obstacles, what are the main challenges you’ve faced in your success?
Having come from a technical-specific role originally, it was a challenge to learn the workings of the wider business in quite a short space of time. You have to be willing to listen to the experts in each area of the business and learn from them as you go.
I think the biggest day to day challenge in an Operations role is getting staff to buy-in to a new system or process. It can be difficult trying to convince people that changes are needed if they're used to working in a particular way. But by actively listening and providing education through one-to-ones and presentations, they gradually grasp the advantages and positive outcomes that these changes will bring to both themselves and the business. They then begin to embrace the new direction and become supportive.
Effectively managing people can be an intricate task. but understanding that everyone has different drivers and aspirations has helped me to grow and develop strong teams, and Pixels ethos of bringing people 'in and up' has seen many staff flourish.
Thinking about the future, where do you see your role in 5 years time?
Pushing the Operations to new heights for Pixel, nurturing new managers and leaders, and doing my best for the business. I was employee number 9 when the business first began and there were (counts on fingers) yep, just 9 of us! I’m looking forward to seeing people reinvest in the business to enable our further growth. With the right people, the sky really is the limit for Pixel.
Now for the fun stuff...
The subject we all love...food. If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? And don’t try and be all healthy on us, we want the guilty pleasures!
Penne Carbonara - pure carbs and guilty pleasure food! But it has to be the real one made with eggs and not cream. I love Italian food, both eating and cooking. I’m a bit of a regular at my local Italian restaurant, and if I’m not there, I’ll be at home whipping up my own carbonara while snacking on some Perello olives.
(It’s worth mentioning here, Daniel shared some useful tips about cooking a carbonara which we can’t wait to try out!)
If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose and why? And if they wear a costume, would you dig it?
Olden day Sherlock Holmes. I think solving crimes would be exciting and Matt Griffiths (Head of Support) would have to be Watson! Cape, trench coat and magnifying glass? I’m in.
What’s your favourite thing to do on a lazy Sunday?
Lazy Sunday, what’s that?! Sundays are usually a long walk and a coffee with my girlfriend and sometimes a borrowed dog if we can get our hands on one. Last year I did a 16-mile canal walk from Sandbach to Northwich which was great. After a lot of time spent in London on and off the tube with a backpack in the early years at Pixel, I have a true appreciation for my rural countryside doorstep!
Daniel, thank you for your time catching up with us today, we really enjoyed getting to know about your career, future plans and a bit about you on a personal level too. We’ll definitely be testing that carbonara recipe tonight, and thanks to our readers too.
Join us again for our next 7 @ Eleven soon.