Putting Sustainability at the Heart of Your Business
Posted on 10th February 2023 at 16:30
Hosts Leon, Paul and Dean are joined by Harry Rix, the CEO & Founder of tech company Accountabl
Putting Sustainability at the Heart of Your Business with Harry Rix
Meet Harry Rix, the CEO & Founder of tech company Accountabl based in Hull and the sixth-generation CIO of well-known family business J.R.Rix & Sons Ltd, which has been around the city for 150 years.
In this podcast, we discover how to put a sustainability strategy at the heart of your business and develop healthy habits for success. With an impressive background in technology and traditional family businesses, Harry offers invaluable insight into how to stay ahead of the competition and provides valuable insight into what it takes to run a successful business, especially one passed down through multiple generations.
Green to Gold
Rix Petroleum is the most prominent member of the J R Rix & Son group of companies and is a significant distributor of hydrocarbon products. Selling domestic and commercial heating fuel and doing loads of other things like manufacturing. Harry explains how they are now in the renewables game. One of the most important influencing books he has read is called Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage. It looks at how you can put a sustainability strategy at the heart of your business to try and give you a competitive advantage to better position yourself in the market to ensure your business can succeed for the next 150 years.
Harry advises how large and small businesses can save costs and create sustainability by investing in solar or buying a renewable energy tariff. He explains the importance of reducing your carbon footprint and how doing so can help you save money. Harry is passionate about sustainable business for future generations and has developed a culture in his organisation that encourages staff to take responsibility for their actions.
Healthy Habits for Success
Apart from absolutely loving bucketloads of Tesco’s Jalapeno Humous and eating it daily, Harry firmly believes that what you put in your body makes you feel good or bad. If it's healthy and tasty, you're on to a winner!
He explains that he is addicted to exercising regularly and believes it is essential for success. He also makes sure to take regular breaks from work and find ways to relax and socialise with a pint or two with his friends, so he doesn’t burn out. Harry emphasises the importance of taking care of yourself physically and mentally to stay productive and motivated.
A lesson Harry has learned from a failure of his is related to one of the books he has chosen, Who: The A Method for Hiring by Jeff Smart, about the process of hiring and providing a simple, practical, and effective solution to what The Economist calls "the single biggest problem in business today" unsuccessful hiring.
The A Method for Hiring takes a unique approach by focusing on who should be employed rather than simply looking at skills and experience. It helps organisations create teams well-suited to their business needs and culture and avoid costly recruitment mistakes. The book also offers valuable advice on creating an effective interview process, the most important questions to ask potential candidates, and how to evaluate their answers. Harry knows the importance of finding the right people for your team, and his lesson is ‘find the right people in the first place’. And if it's not working, move on and find someone new!
Be Authentic and Never Stop Learning
If Harry could share a favourite quote or say with everyone, he would just tell everybody to be authentic and be themselves. Don't be somebody that you're not. It can be tough to be accurate, especially when you're a leader, because you've got so many preconceptions about what you should or shouldn't be doing. But just trying to be yourself will let people be most at ease with you, and they will understand how best to work with you, and you will get the best out of them.
But that goes well beyond leadership. In life, mental health and the things Andys Man Club does, if people pretend to be someone they're not, they will end up in a lonely place because they're not true to themselves.
The advice Harry would give to himself at 18 is that you're never going to stop learning. Keep absorbing as much information and knowledge as possible from any opportunity. If you're going to a new country, try and learn the language. If you are going to do a job, try and do it as best you possibly can to understand exactly what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. Harry believes that learning is a lifelong process; we should never stop seeking new knowledge and experiences, as there's always something new to discover!
Tips for Running an Effective Family Business
Leon stands by the notion of high-performing teams. Disagreement is necessary and healthy to avoid a dictatorship - it leads to higher quality outcomes when there are different points of view for the same goal. Harry agrees that healthy conflict can be critical to a successful business. Harry is passionate about developing leadership skills within the team and ensuring that everyone has a voice, resulting in motivated individuals taking ownership of their roles. He believes it's essential to have clear goals and vision and understand each other’s strengths so that teams can work together more effectively. “Change is difficult. Change takes conflict. Change takes a lot of hard work.”
Harry is passionate about Hull and would love to interview the first generation of the Rix business, Robert Rix, who started building ships in Hull in the 1800s. Harry believes staying true to your values, particularly when running a family business, is vital to staying close to the past and adapting and innovating for the future.
He would tell Robert what the family business does today- that they build software which manages business expenses and next zero. Harry also explained how passionate about Hull the family is—going on to describe his father's ambition and vision for the Lagoon Hull - a once-in-a-lifetime project that is big and bold enough to change Hull's future. Creating a magnetic city where people want to live, visit, work, play, study and invest.
It’s a project that will create jobs in an area and provide new opportunities for entrepreneurs like himself who are more passionate about their hometowns’ success than ever before.
Anyone listening to the podcast should look at the project and support it to help Hull become an excellent destination City!
Harry Rix is driven by passion and purpose – striving for excellence personally and professionally to do great things for his hometown and innovating sustainability solutions for businesses worldwide! His unique blend of experience from traditional family businesses and cutting-edge technology companies makes him an invaluable asset when developing strategies to help any organisation succeed no matter what sector they operate in!
Tune into this podcast episode with Harry Rix for inspiring advice on running a successful family business and Putting Sustainability at the Heart of it!
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