Darren Childs, CEO UKTV

Darren Childs became CEO of UKTV, a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, in 2010. The award winning media company reaches 42 million viewers per month. Under Darren’s leadership UKTV enjoyed its most successful year in 2009-10 with record sales and profit. It also won a Best Companies award in 2013 in recognition of its high staff engagement and positive working culture. The company
employs 220 staff.

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Darren’s top engagement tips

  • Engaged staff help you achieve: ‘The benefit to having an engaged team Is that everyone is helping you achieve your objectives’
  • Create the right environment: ‘I’m not an actor in the play but I’m basically building the stage. I’m creating the environment for everyone here to do their best work ever.’
  • Build your vision together: ‘We allowed the entire company to build its own vision of the future. So everyone bought into it from day one.’
  • Trust your team to have an opinion: ‘We trust our staff to have an opinion about what success looks like for their department and the organisation. It’s been a really powerful thing for us and it’s producing phenomenal results.’
  • Expect high standards of your managers: ‘I expect the highest standards of management in terms of how they nurture and develop their staff, love the values and drive the purpose of the organisation…. Now everyone is working towards those common goals.’
  • Give permission for staff to question: ‘If you create an engaged workforce and give them permission to question, better ways of doing things will come forward.’
  • Create space for people to talk: ‘We built our office with a large communal area in the middle to get the whole company congregating, talking and communicating together. The real breakthrough ideas come from two people sparking off each other.”
  • Know your team: ‘Simple things like knowing everyone’s name is really important, being able to address and talk to people in the lifts on the way up. Leadership is a big responsibility because everyone’s watching your every move.’
  • Adapt your style: ‘One of the things I learnt in this job was the need to adjust communication styles for different people, because different people process information in different ways.’
  • Create a place where people want to come and work: ‘For any organisation to success, you have to create an environment where people want to come and work ….otherwise the smartest, most capable people are going to go and work for somebody else.’
  • Open your door to good ideas: ‘You know you’ve done a good job when someone walks into your office with an idea that’s better than anything you could think of and you send them on their way to execute it. The whole organisation gets the benefit of that’
  • Make big promises and big demands: ‘It’s totally ok to make big promises to people but also make big demands as well… Inspire your team by demanding huge things of them and you’ll be surprised, because most of the time they will rise to the challenge.’