Friday, 2 October 2015

We May Miss Jan Cochrane-Harry More Than We Realise

Jan Cochrane- Harry's decision to step down as QVM CEO will leave an unsettling gap in our market's progress. Jan's inclusiveness has been a hallmark of her tenure and a key ingredient in mending the wounds of a stormy trader/management relationship over the last 15 or so years.

Many traders would have had Jan's phone number in their contact list and her availability has been quite unique in today's business world. Previous CEO's were criticised for not walking the sheds. Jan has "walked the sheds" literally and figuratively. She has taken a personal interest in a whole range of issues affecting traders and been prepared to make tough decisions. That doesn't mean that every trader's wish has been granted but as one of our traders said - "Sometimes a well-considered ""No"" is just as good as a ""Yes"". All we are asking for is genuine consideration".

But if inclusiveness has been an important factor in Jan's leadership, there is another "i" word that is even more relevant and that is "integrity". Integrity means taking ownership of decisions and being prepared to recognise when corrective action is necessary. It means inviting questioning and criticism because it is the issues that are important, not the egos. It means taking the plaudits when things succeed but also accepting the blame when things go wrong. Jan's recent "letter of apology" (my words) to E shed traders over the Food Court debacle is just one example of that integrity.

It is said that no one person is bigger than the organisation. That is true, but filling Jan Cochrane-Harry's shoes is not going to be easy particularly when it comes to inclusiveness and integrity. And in a market of 600 independent small businesses it would be wrong to underestimate the importance of those qualities.

Greg Smith - QVMAC Trader Representative.

02/10/2015 17:22:24 re. our CEO "I for one would be very sorry to see Jan go.. Best CEO we ever had, and I've seen 5 in my time at the market."
03/10/2015 16:27:12 Our Jan . "Very well said Greg,most accurate ...We will certainly miss her." Andy 

04/10/2015 07:07:51 To Jan: """A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd."" Dear Jan, For some people, what you did is still invisible, but definitely will have impact on the future of QVM. Please forgive us our scepticism, this is what we learn from your predecessor. Me personally, felt more Human under your management. We will miss your walk and talk at 6 AM between sheds and chat about next steps. This is something what we did not expect from CEO. We will miss your rush between two meetings to solve some ""minor"" issues between egocentric stallholders. Normally, Sunday is day off for everyone from the office, but not for you: you are relax, walking between sheds with your little shopping and notice unnoticeable. Jan, you where a Good Conductor. " Mino, member of JLP Melbourne Team  

08/10/2015 14:45:28 Oh no, don't go "Jan, your willingness to learn about and understand all the wildly disparate needs of the market was unprecedented. Your desire to understand the problems and then forge the relationships necessary to work towards a market that will stand the test of time was just starting to bear fruit - traders were gaining enough of a sense of trust in management to engage in the renewal process and start to think about solutions instead of blaming management for problems. This is an ill considered decision. "