In the latest episode of the Evolve to Succeed podcast, Lloyd Banks—owner and MD of Rubicon Recruitment Group—reflects on his interesting and incident-filled life – from his time in the Metropolitan Police and working security for VIPs, to his stint in the Royal Engineers and the accident, and subsequent back injury, that changed the way he viewed himself and the role in his company.
Here are some highlights from the podcast.
You worked for a while in witness protection. What’s one of the more memorable stories from that time?
I looked after a particular guy, a high net worth individual, South African, He had witnessed a double murder and he was threatened constantly. I looked after him for about three months and we got on really well. The trial ended and the guys were convicted and I drove him to Heathrow in his car, which was a Ferrari, and as he left he gave me the car! He said, “If you ever want a job, come out to South Africa.” I went back to the police, did the right thing and reported that I’d been given this car and of course they kicked up a fuss and said there’s no way you can have it so I thought, “Stuff this!” and I resigned but I couldn’t keep the Ferrari…
One of the things I think you are strong at, and you see it in Rubicon, is that ability to communicate a vision to a team. How do you do that?
It isn’t easy. I have several mantras and one is, “Sweat the small stuff,” because I think people who don’t are in danger of never really building solid foundations. So, be really nit-picky about the things that are important and pay attention to the details. And I’m talking culturally here as well so everything in terms of dress code to making sure things are clean and tidy … you then lead by example, have a very, very clear vision and goal for what is expected, make sure you have achievable plans and communicate those plans effectively … I’m a consummate planner so I plan every day for at least 15 minutes for the following day so every week I’ll plan for at least two hours for the following week; every month I’ll take at least half a day of planning and every quarter I will take up to a week of planning. The only time I deviate from that plan is when there’s a major event, Like the Covid lockdown. So it’s bite-size chunks, which means the business only really needs to focus on achieving its clear objectives next quarter and we report against that every single week.
You’ve had a great relationship with your business partner for a long time now—what do you think has really made that relationship work and stand the test of time?
The easy answer is that we’re complete polar opposites. I don’t know who said it but ot goes that if there are two people who agree all the time, that’s one person too many, particularly in a business relationship. We don’t always agree but we know each other so well and complement each other … I know my weaknesses and my advice to any budding entrepreneurs out there is understand your weaknesses and either improve them or avoid them [by making up for them with a business partner who has those strengths].