Adam Lauffer (Class of 1999) Deputy CEO, Doddle

Adam is Deputy CEO at Doddle, the company creating delivery and returns experiences for e-commerce.

How did CLS get you ready for the world of work?

Interacting with a diverse group of friends every day had the biggest impact on preparing me for life after school. When I began my career, I quickly realised how important it is to be sensitive to other people’s styles and preferences in order to build solid relationships, whether with colleagues, customers or suppliers. I never realised it at the time, but my experiences at school have enabled me to build effective relationships with people. These skills are even more relevant now given the increasing focus on diversity in business and elsewhere.

What was your first job?

After university, I joined Deloitte as a graduate trainee in the Audit department in Manchester. After qualifying as a chartered accountant three years later, I transferred to the Corporate Finance department in London where I worked for a further four years.

Your biggest professional achievement?

We are currently six-and-a-half years into our journey with Doddle, a business focused on e-commerce deliveries and returns that I co-founded. Half way along the journey, we pivoted from being an operating business in the UK to a software business with global aspirations (similar to the way Ocado has but on a smaller scale!). Although we knew the transition was the right decision, we had to validate it by signing software licence deals. Fortunately, the plan has started to come together and we have signed deals in Australia, Japan, USA, UK and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For me personally, as well as being delighted that we are on a promising path, I am proud to have negotiated landmark deals in our sector with blue-chip corporates across the world on behalf of the business I helped launch.   

Your most challenging professional moment?

As part of our transition, we had to unwind a lot of the hard work that had gone into the first couple of years of Doddle. We were immensely proud of what we had achieved up until that point and the amazing team of people we had brought into the business, all of whom had left other jobs to join us. Nonetheless, the transition was the right decision for the future of the business and our investors so we embarked on a process to close all of our stores, streamline our operations and let a lot of great people go. We have built the business on the values of transparency and honesty, so I embarked on a trip around the UK to discuss the changes with as many of our colleagues face-to-face as possible. Making people redundant is the worst part of the job but going about it in the right way helps people respect the decision and definitely makes it a little easier.

What inspires and motivates you at work?

The primary source of my inspiration at work is seeing my colleagues’ personal development. When we bring someone new into the team, I feel personally responsible for ensuring they grow as much as possible for the period of time that they are with us. We have been lucky that the changing shape of the business and the growth we are experiencing allow us to stretch our people and provide opportunities to experience exciting projects. In terms of my motivation, I am absolutely determined to make Doddle successful – as a rewarding place to work, as a valued partner to our customers and as a financial success for our investors.

One piece of advice for pupils and other Old Citizens about getting into your profession

If you are looking to join a start-up business, you should make sure you do your due diligence before joining. Most companies have a great pitch and charismatic people who can sell you the dream but you should look beyond that and enquire about the company’s funding situation, its traction with customers and revenue growth. While you will never be able to accurately forecast a young company’s prospects, you should give yourself the best chance to do so. You only have one career and you should make sure that each step takes you forwards, towards your ultimate goal.