Skander Malcolm credits teamwork for a big jump in participation on GE Capital Australia's team for the 11th J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney.
Team effort at GE Capital Australia
starts long before race day in Sydney
SYDNEY, October 7, 2011 — For Skander Malcolm, business is all about the team at GE Capital Australia.
"Working in a team is how we operate in GE every day," says the CEO of a diversified financial services company with more than $20 billion of assets and whose 4,600 employees are spread throughout Australia and New Zealand in diverse, specialized operations within the firm. "Being a strong team is one of the foundations of GE Capital’s success."
It is not surprising then, that GE Capital will join hundreds of Australia's leading companies on 9 November for the 11th running of Sydney's J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge at its traditional course in beautiful Centennial Park.
Registration continues for Sydney's annual celebration of corporate camaraderie and competition. Last year's race attracted 6,950 entrants from 290 companies, making it one of the largest and most unique corporate social events in New South Wales.
All participants, of course, must be members of a team to enter, but some companies, such as GE Capital, carry the team concept several steps further.
"Over 120 years, we have learned that the toughest problems are solved when we use diverse resources to figure it out, and collaborate effectively. We know the best ideas don't come from just one person — they come from a collaborative team effort," said Malcolm. "We also think carefully about how to put teams together, what role each team member plays, how to create effective collaboration, and how to improve things when the team is not operating as well as it could."
A case in point is GE Capital's efforts in building its team for this year's Corporate Challenge. Company captain Paul Keys, Director – Capital Markets at GE Capital, was part of a team-oriented approach to building a team.
"We wanted to improve our level of participation this year as part of our local commitment to GE's global employee health and well-being program — HealthAhead," said Malcolm.
"To organise our team this year, we created a Working Group in Sydney with representatives from the business and the HealthAhead committee," Malcolm explained. "They were responsible for developing a strategy around the event, process for registration and a communications plan."
It was all part of a coordinated approach to supporting employees at GE Capital taking part in team sports events such as the JPMorgan Challenge, with the company providing financial support by funding entry fees and uniforms.
And, Malcolm adds, "For the first time, we will also be setting up a marquee for our runners on the day of the challenge to help support the team environment."
The results speak for themselves.
"Encouragingly," said Malcolm, "we've increased our involvement of 35 participants in 2010 to 121 in 2011, which I believe is testament to the culture of health and well-being that we're creating at GE Capital."
The robust 340 percent increase in participation will include Malcolm, who, at 43, will again run in the event.
"I participated in last year's (Corporate) Challenge and it was a great opportunity to engage with my colleagues outside the office and champion the importance of a healthy lifestyle," Malcolm said. "Our employees love a challenge and this race gives them the perfect opportunity to come together and achieve a common goal, all the while getting fit!
"The employees in the Sydney office have a healthy attitude to life and many run to and from work, or during the lunch break, so to encourage such positive behaviour we have encouraged them to take part in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge," Malcolm added. "Participating in the Corporate Challenge is well aligned to all aspects of GE's leadership culture, including team building, the health of our employees, and our support for the communities where we live and work."
It is, in short, a great way to be part of the team.