‘Understand what you want from life'
Entrepreneur: Andrew Henderson
Credentials: MD of Lanway 2013-2016 (acquired by Chess for an undisclosed sum in 2016)
Quirks: Setting a long-term personal goal and communicating your vision to staff
"When I took over as MD, the business was failing. We went from £15m to £14m to £13m, and when I became MD I managed to take it to £12m and it was barely profitable.
"That first year was hell. It was the worst year of my business life. I tell a story on-stage [today Henderson is a business coach]: It's 7 January 2013 and I'm sitting in the office with my head in hands. I have three options. One: get fired; two: leave a 16-year career; or three: check into hospital. I had burned out.
"But that was the very day we understood what the problem was and what the answers were. I had a vision for transforming the business, but one of the key things was I hadn't communicated the vision. No-one knew. I'd had 500 conversations with everyone in my head, but I'd not had any actual conversations with anyone. So the first one is to communicate the vision.
"The second thing was what we didn't have, which was a long-term goal or set of goals in the future. What I've learned from that period, and what I teach now, is about understanding what you want your life to be like in the future in three, five or 10 years, and how the business needs to perform to give you that work-life balance you want. Setting a goal or a couple of goals is really important. It's almost like starting at the end and working backwards: where do I want to be and where am I now? And when you understand those two things, the path to getting there seems a lot more straightforward.
"We transformed the atmosphere at work and started to create an aspirational business. Within that year we created a place where people wanted to work with us.
"I think business leaders suffer from a focus purely on growth. They set their goals for just 20 per cent growth, 25 per cent growth. They're on the hamster wheel. And because growth is perpetual it never stops, so it leads to staff, leaders and managers burning out because they never get to feel that sense of progress, achievement, or of moving to where they want to be."
Click onto the next page for New Siganture's Dan Scarfe's quirks...
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