How I Became an Interim Leader
It was 1992; after more than a decade of operational duties, I had left my life as a Senior Royal Marine Commando 2 years prior and was working as an internal leadership coach for a large motor dealer group in the UK. I had plenty of front-line operational leadership experience working in volatile “competitive” environments but little business experience. That was all about to change.
My leadership and team coaching had a direct positive effect on people’s morale and the business’s performance, so much so that my boss after several very experienced senior people had failed, decided I was to take direct responsibility for the turnaround of a multi £m division of the business. Time to step up, stop talking, and start doing.
I was taught in a past life that without understanding where you are going, any direction would do. Those operational duties also taught me a more complex environment demands more Leadership, not less. If a void in Leadership exists, morale can quickly deteriorate, and a team can become distracted by Leadership that is not necessarily the type of Leadership you require.
Favouring a Coaching style and Motivating my team, my approach succeeded where others had failed. And that was when my business career all started.
Over the coming years, I was to lead businesses across several industries and sectors and personally grow a business through acquisition from £15m to £150m; I led the purchase of 10 companies across 20 locations and the divestment of several companies.
Fast forward to 2014, positioned as one of Yorkshire Business Insider’s Power 100 and a Fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry. I received a call from a friend who was the CEO of a private equity firm. “We have invested in several businesses we are trying to take to the next level, and you’ve been there and done that. Will you provide operational support and top cover for some of our investments as an Interim Leader?” I took my friend up on his offer.
In that time, as an Interim Leader, I led several businesses’ operational restructuring. I improved their performance in various consumer-facing sectors, including leisure, lifestyle, hospitality, automotive, insurance, and specialist online retail. Read more about what I do.
As an Interim Leader, I have helped stakeholders reduce their financial exposure and stabilise distressed companies. I raised some £35m of investment on the public markets and £20m from private investors.
I am a member of the Institute of Interim Management – My Institute of Interim Management Portfolio.