Dear Team Chalhoub and the World At Large,

JW – looking pensive on train to Manchester

This is my open letter, declaring online that I’m ready, able and hungry to join your exciting team that is built for purpose, SHIFT. Built to drive change. Yes, this is part of my job application, and I’d like to share it with you and get your feedback.

I’ve had three face-to-face interviews now, where we have talked tech, experience and measured appropriateness for the Digital Business Manager role in the SHIFT Chalhoub team in Dubai. Then came the email from Alex, in Group HR, asking for me to audition to be part of this Chalhoub business transformation. The email read:

We would like you to send us a Digital Audition through any digital medium of your choice. We would like this to be as flexible and convenient for you to complete as possible and some of the key things we are looking for from you are:

– An introduction to yourself
– What are you passionate about?
– How do you think you can impact our culture?
– What keeps you up at night
– What does transformation mean to you? How do you envisage it?

So, I made a film of me looking pensively at the world whizzing by on the train from London to Manchester (see image above). It was me as cameraman and editor, holding the iPhone, edited in iMovie.

I showed it to my friend and he said, politely, “Nice. But why don’t we do it properly.” So we did.

I wrote the script, a short paragraph or two for each question. We filmed. We had some fun putting this together. That’s the way it should be, right? Then he edited it while I was away in Singapore for meetings. And so this is my Digital Audition for Team Chalhoub in Dubai:

Let’s continue the conversation! Let’s WhatsApp via this link. I can repost the video there, if easier. Or we can just chat about digital success in general. Up to you!

All the best,

James /

PS if you don’t have three and a half minutes to spare – or if you don’t have headphones! – here’s the original (not final) script.

Super:  Script:
An introduction to James Welch Life whizzes past, doesn’t it. Or to be precise, it feels like its whizzing past but is it? No it’s us, we’re whizzing past life and we need to stop sometimes to take stock.

Who am I?

I’ve been learning the tricks of the digital trade for a while. Ever since Al Reis wrote his book on the 11 immutable laws of internet branding. I got that when I was a brand consultant in Hong Kong helping Cathay Pacific build its brand. We were talking about customer experience to them before CX was a thing. At the time CX just meant the airplane code, like EK for Emirates. Now CX is key to digital, to transformation, and we have to do it together, as a team.

What am I passionate about? I’m passionate about the world around us. How the digital and physical have merged. Phygital, that’s the buzz word. It’s the flip side to OmniChannel. But we don’t need more buzz words, we need more simplicity.

I’m passionate about the way more and more of us are understanding what retail & digital performance is all about these days. 

I’m passionate about getting ripped off less.

I kickstarted the Interactive advertising bureau (IAB) in the GCC. Not on my own of course.

I kickstarted the marketing society in the middle east. Not on my own of course.

I’ve created some great content. Not on my own of course.

That’s who I am. I love being part of the team. And when the time is right, leading the team to build new roads. Roads to success.

How do you think you can impact our culture? Every team needs to evolve. I can help that evolution.

Standing still is going backwards as the rest of life whizzes past.

And I love bringing the team along for the ride, explaining where we are going and how we’ll get there.

Visualisation of data is everything. If you can’t see the sales data in relation to the audience data, how can you see what’s working. Data should not be for the few, it should be democratised. Democratisation of data gives everyone a view of the digital success stories.

This can impact the culture of a business as everyone stops to look up and see the bigger picture. The digital shift. digital transformation, as a team.

What keeps you up at night? What keeps me up?

International phone calls!

And the fact that too much is happening digitally that isn’t adding real value. That harps back to the way I’m keen to drive change. That’s the elephant in the room.

And the best way to eat an elephant, as they say in Australia, is one bite at a time. Let’s eat that elephant … Oh, does that sound a bit weird? What I mean is, let’s collaborate to reach the north star!

What does transformation mean to you? How do you envisage it? Transformation is a change management story. First we have to workout what we’re changing into. Then, who needs to change. And we map the journey and communicate to all parties what’s going on. It’s a journey. It’s something we need to do together. And if we don’t do it together, we’re going to miss the boat. 

Let’s keep moving forward, as one team.