Liquor Marketing Group (LMG) CEO Gavin Saunders recently stepped into the Take Five hot seat to share the value of multiple perspectives and the inspiration he takes from LMG’s members.

What’s your history with LMG?

I’ve had nearly 12 years of service after joining as a fresh faced 34-year-old Finance Director, to a now much greyer 46-year-old, thanks in part to eight years in the CEO role.

What’s a valuable lesson you’ve learned along the way?

The value of perspective versus perception. Learning to make decisions by stepping away from your own perception of the circumstances and applying the perspective of others – team members, customers, supplier partners or competitors – allows for greater consideration and decisions. Business is a process of problem solving and being able to apply this discipline allows for better decisions and win/win outcomes more often.

What are you most looking forward to?

The LMG team have developed incredible platforms, which have delivered us great performance over an extended period. The upcoming implementation of retail loyalty will strengthen these current platforms and give us new connections and insights into our customers, driving even greater results. The development of the technical solution, connectivity and analytics has been a challenge for all the team, and we are truly excited about the launch and the sales growth it will deliver.

How do you handle challenges in your role?

Most challenges originate from a combination of smaller issues. The real challenge is being able to break down the problem to assess what factors have impacted performance and resulted in the challenge. I’m fortunate to have a background in finance, which is great training to assess any result and determine what factors have contributed to the outcome. I also have a very experienced management team and we deal with most challenges together.

What’s the best advice you’d give someone starting out?

My favourite saying is ‘you’ll never find a statue of a committee’, meaning that to make a difference, you need to develop the ability to assess options, risks, risk mitigation and most importantly, make a decision and lead an outcome. There are a lot of smart people in most businesses, but those that develop the skillset to analyse a problem and make good decisions at whatever level of the organisation they operate in, are the ones who will deliver the greatest results.

What keeps you inspired?

Getting out in trade with our members and seeing the businesses we support growing. It’s a privilege to be trusted by our members to support them and when they take the time to share their insights and successes, that is the greatest inspiration the LMG team or I could ask for.
What does your ideal Friday night look like?

Drive home via my local Bottlemart drive-through to pick up some craft beer and a bottle of rosé for my wife. Dinner, usually take out on a Friday night, with my two kids and my wife followed by watching the mighty Panthers continue their incredible winning streak.

This Q&A was conducted by Liquor Marketing Group and has been republished by National Liquor News with permission.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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