I first attended an IoD course about 23 years ago and have been a member for around 10 years. After working for a business where I perceived there were governance issues (and not having enough knowledge or experience to tackle them), I thought the IoD would be a very good place to improve my skills and knowledge. A lot of people accept the role of ‘Director’ without any real understanding of the legal and governance duties and responsibilities associated with it. I was Chair of the Leicestershire Branch for 3 years from 2012 - 2015, and have since been an active member of my local branch and the East Midlands Regional committee.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your career to date?
I have spent over 35 years in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors and have held senior operational and executive board-level roles for a range of highly reputable UK & US businesses. These include Prudential, Egg, Experian and Totemic as well as leading the internationally renowned Curve Theatre’s operations in Leicester. Currently, I work in a consultancy partnership lecturing to PhD and MBA students on a variety of subjects. I also work with business leaders to help them understand the key competitive advantages that their businesses can gain by placing an employee-centric approach at the heart of business strategy, and the impact that individual leadership styles play in achieving great results.
Q: What do you hope to achieve as an IoD Ambassador?
I am struggling to think of a time when business leaders across the country needed to better engage with their people than right now. The impact of political and economic uncertainty is evident wherever you look, and particularly in the world of business. UK PLC’s productivity numbers are simply woeful (and getting worse), and whilst there are different factors affecting this, what should be very high on the to-do list of every business leader is to focus time and energy on ensuring they find, and, very importantly, keep the right people. An engaging company culture is absolutely key to this goal, but is so often neglected, overlooked or ignored. I would hope to be able to share some of my learning and experience in this fascinating area with as many business leaders, and aspiring business leaders, as possible.
Q: If you could give your 21 year old self some advice what would it be?
Listen twice as much as you speak. Be more interested than interesting. Ask forgiveness, not permission.
Q: What keeps you busy outside of work?
Being a dad to 3 millennials means that dull moments are few and far between. Add in an obsession with sport, and football in particular, a hyperactive border collie, a passion for cycling (especially in the Alps), and voluntary work for a local Cancer charity, and the concept of ‘spare time’ seems rather odd.
Q: Are there any business related or policy issues that keep you awake at night?
Brexit causes the odd recurring nightmare. The calibre and integrity of our politicians and the drift towards ‘populism' and extremism in all forms, is a worry.
Q: Why do you think business leaders should join the IoD?
To develop themselves as better leaders. Many believe that when they become a Director, the learning stops, when in truth, it is really only starting, even for the brightest of individuals. The IoD can provide a framework for leaders to develop, learn from each other and understand that values like honesty and integrity never go out of fashion.