In the Spotlight…with Carlos Howard
In this series called ‘In the Spotlight’ we’ll be talking to our employees and asking them questions about everything from their current role to their most unusual job and what they’d take on a desert island. Today we spoke to Carlos Howard, our Operations Manager.
1. Before working at ISO Spaces, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
Well, I spent most of my early life living on a farm and consequently started my young working life doing anything from lambing sheep to clearing up manure. Seeing my dad work from 5am – 7pm most days, gave me a real insight into what ‘hard’ work was really like. It was enough to make me want to follow a different path.
2. How do you balance your career at ISO Spaces with your home life?
Having been raised in a farming family, where it was impossible to disconnect work from home life, I’ve always valued having a good balance during my adult years. ISO Spaces is very forward thinking. Especially when it comes to how my personal/family needs (and those of other employees) are satisfied, I can honestly say that ISO Spaces is the best company I’ve ever worked for in that respect. I know that as long as all my working goals and client needs are met, ISO Spaces will give me the freedom to enjoy life away from the laptop.
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
As I’m responsible for all people and processes, no two days are the same. Consequently, I get to enjoy a varied and fulfilling working week. With involvement in everything from leading sales in the pursuit of new business, adapting technical and design processes, right through to finance and administrative support. With most of my day spent speaking with individuals and groups from each department, I get a great feel for which areas of the business is thriving, versus those that require great development.
4. How has ISO Spaces helped you in your career development?
Having previously worked for a large global corporation at General Electric, ISO Spaces instantly gave me the chance to execute rapid change and implement new ideas. It probably took me six months to realise that things could be done with greater agility that what I had previously become accustomed to at GE. Consequently, I have become more decisive as a leader, without losing the rational thinking techniques GE thought me.
5. What advice do you have for prospective ISO Spaces candidates?
As I lead all ISO Spaces recruitment, it’s difficult not to be biased when answering this. I can however answer this confidently and simply. Every new hire is encouraged to make a difference, and contribute. We’re still a relatively new business and we know we can improve. We want new ideas coming through our door with every new employee and we want them to have a voice. It can take years to build your personal brand when joining a corporation, but at a rapid growth business like ISO Spaces, you can do this in a matter of months.
6. What are 3 words to describe ISO Spaces?
Creative, energetic and experts.
7. How has ISO Spaces changed since you started working for them?
It’s a completely different business. I was fortunate enough to be invited aboard five years ago, at a time when I was tasked with creating new processes, attaining accreditations and building a team to do it. So, whilst it’s been my responsibility to make that happen successfully, it’s been a core ISO Spaces originals and a flux like-minded new people that have shaped the way the business stands today. Together we’ve built processes and won award accreditations but without ever losing the entrepreneurial spirit fostered by the Co-Founding Directors.
8. What has been your favourite project at ISO Spaces?
I think my favourite project would be any of our housing solutions that provide families in need with safe, suitable and affordable emergency accommodation. I can’t imagine what it must be like as a family to be homeless and then thrust into temporary bed and breakfast accommodation miles from your work, school or friends.
9. What have you gained from working at ISO Spaces?
Aside from great relationships, working for a rapid growth business has made me more resilient and open-minded as a person. I’ve never been one to give up or ignore a good idea, but ISO Spaces has taught me to believe in the impossible and that the most unlikely solution might just be the most obvious.
10. What are three lessons you’ve learned across your entire career?
1. That not everyone is motivated by the same drivers as me and to take the time to learn what is important to your peers.
2. Always be available to people but know when to switch off, log off and take time out. Proper time out! You need to keep yourself fresh or standards drop.
3. Share success. It’s far more satisfying when things are achieved together than alone. Though that doesn’t mean to say you can’t recognise the contribution of an individual at the same time.
11. If you could do any other job for the one day, what would it be?
If it were an ISO Spaces role, it would be the Managing Director’s role. Probably on one of the Friday’s when he decides to finish early and treat himself or others to lunch. He eats well, very well.
12. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
My superpower would definitely be some kind of time travel. I wouldn’t be able to resist going back in time and replaying my mistakes in hope of erasing them from my present. Just the ones I look back on and cringe about.
13. What was the name of the last book you read?
The Teenager in the Greenhouse. I’m just reading it in a desperate attempt to learn how to better communicate with my soon to be 13 year old daughter. We don’t have a problem as such, but I sense change is on the horizon and I don’t want to be any more shocked than I have to be. Sadly my kids found it at the weekend and now even my 8 year old is saying, “I bet that came from your book dad!”, in response to anything I say. Though it doesn’t involve letting them do whatever they want!
14. If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring with you?
A sun lounger, a portable BBQ and The Teenager in the Greenhouse. I really need to get that finished…
15. Do you have a motto or personal mantra?
I often ask myself what am I prepared to sacrifice to achieve a goal? It could be anything from learning something new for a career or saving up for something in life. If I’m not prepared to make the required time or financial sacrifices, I probably don’t want it bad enough. Not yet anyway.