Getting To Know You: James Wilkins, Joint Managing Director, Logistik Group

Wilkins previously worked at Venture Capital and Marks & Spencer where he played an integral part in improving the brands’ perception, as well as working on their strategic alliances and joint ventures. Wilkins works across Logistik’s FTSE 100 and major clients such as Lloyds Banking Group, M&S, Microsoft, Bupa, Royal Mail, and BT, advising and developing communications strategies and executions across multiple channels which help achieve their commercial aims.

What do you currently do?
I’m the joint owner and Managing Director of Logistik Group, a top 10 communications agency. We work across the FTSE100 for household names including Marks & Spencer, BT, Lloyds, and Asda. We help them with their communication strategies, including executing multi-channel engagement plans incorporating events, film, digital, and experiential elements. Our work means we get to know the leaders of businesses and their strategy. We work hard to help them close the gap between what they are saying and what their people are doing. This also involves mind-set work, storytelling and coaching.

What is your inspiration in business?
One of the most business motivators for me is the idea of playing to win, rather than not to lose. Many people play not to lose. The motivators of today will be the hygiene factors of tomorrow – keeping this front of mind is my inspiration.

Who do you admire?
There are various people throughout my career that have had an impact on my career and outlook on what it takes to be successful in business. I have never latched on to one person but have seen skills in different people at different times that I learn from.

I admire Michael Mahony, who runs Berkeley Partnership, for his collaborative win-win approach to building a business, and Steve Rowe at M&S for his ability to stick to a plan and the confidence it drives. I also admire Amery Capital’s Maurice Helfgott for his drive, constant desire to learn and ability to see beyond the obvious and Martin George, a Director of various Household brands, for his sheer appetite and energy to be brave in a smart way, and the time he makes available for you.

Lastly I admire Graham Lindsay at Lloyds who values relationships, and proves there is still a place for old school business values and championing the little guy. Graham recognises the opportunity his role gives him in the community at large.

Looking back would you have done things differently?
There are two main things I would have done differently: The first is to better understand the gap between ‘knowing and doing’. Many people know what to do but doing it is much harder, including being aware of hidden commitments people have in business which hinders growth. The second would be to manage and plan for our growth better. I didn’t realise the impact that not planning for growth has and that ultimately recovering from that takes longer and is more painful.

What defines your way of doing business?
I would list four key hallmarks. 1. My personal level of pride. It is important for me to earn the respect of the people I value. 2. Helping people and companies make progress. I am fascinated by big business. As I always say to the team, what we do puts us in a real position of privilege; we help make progress happen and this is always my driver. 3. Relationships and the opportunity to learn. I genuinely learn something every day and I get to build some amazing relationships. 4. I believe quality relationships are key. With affinity, trust and confidence comes the opportunity to do big things together.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Three things: Build a network in your 20’s before it’s too late in your 40’s. Remember to enjoy the journey; it’s not all about the end goal. Lastly, all businesses start for a reason other than money. Never forget why you exist.

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