Howard Hall

Founder and managing director, DTP Group

Doug Woodburn
clock • 3 min read
Howard Hall

What has been your business highlight of 2022?

For me it is a couple of things: the progress the sector is making on D&I, although we still have a long way to go; and also the energy and positivity that young (and older) new starters within the sector are generating, whether that's within my own teams, or on the sales floor over at HPE Manchester, or through talking to recent tech career starters coming out of the academies of dev businesses local to me in Leeds such as Infinity Works.

If you were ruler of your own country, what law would you introduce first?

That any prime ministers who believe they are capable to do the job (and their chancellor), but turn out to be totally inept, are deported to Rwanda, as apparently we as a nation have invested in a lot of property there. But seriously I would re-introduce national service, not military national service, but one where everyone has to give a few days a year each to community, charity, environmental or other CSR related projects.

Which channel or tech leader (outside of your own company) has impressed you most in 2022?

I work with a number of tech leaders who inspire and impress me on a regular basis, but this year it has to be HPE's new UK&I managing director, Matt Harris, who to me epitomises the modern tech leader: very people and outcome focused, not scared to get on the shop floor working with his team, end users and partners, and who can also multi-task, which I was reminded of on a recent Teams call when his wife was suffering with Covid. Matt had to contend with a sword-wielding, pirate-outfitted four-year-old son, while delivering a storytelling session around challenger selling to my team.

If you had a warning label, what would it say?

"Be patient: at least one in four of his ideas are OK."

What was your first job?

A mechanical engineering apprentice, at the age of 16 (and a month as an August baby) learning how to make parts for packaging machinery, just in case anyone ever wondered how Hovis get bread loaves into bags, or Mars bars into wrappers. I hated it, but it did introduce me to IT in the early days of CAD as I progressed from the shop floor to the design office.

What was the last book you read, and was it any good?

Sadly unless I am on holiday I don't tend to read novels and get stuck into business-related books, with the two most recent being Upscale - a series of conversations around scaling a start up by James Silver, and The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamso, which although a bit of an oldie focuses on challenger selling, which I believe is really relevant in today's market. Both are decent reads.

What's the most important lesson you've learned from another business leader or mentor?

I won't say who, but it is constantly asking the question of yourself "am I listening to respond, or am I listening to understand?" as I think in today's always-on, constantly changing world, we maybe don't do enough listening to understand.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?

If the question was which movie you would like your life to be I might be thinking Benjamin Button, but as that concept sadly would be total fantasy I will revert to an actor who can deliver the comedic one liners, that I like to think I do, even if I am usually the only one laughing at them, and go for Paul Rudd

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