Leadership development in small and medium sized enterprises

Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
11th January 2018

At the start of a New Year, just how many small and medium sized companies (SMEs) will have taken a fresh look at their strategy and business plan for 2018?

I would hazard a guess that quite a few of our companies here in Gloucestershire have done neither.

And what about developing leadership within their company?

I don’t think it is uncharitable to suggest that the whole question of company leadership has not really been given careful consideration by too many firms.

Talk to Stewart Barnes, managing director of leadership development company, QuoLux, based in Cheltenham, and he will very quickly convince you of the importance of leadership and planning.

If you doubt me or are keen to know more, please accept our invitation to listen to a bite-sized piece of Stewart’s wise business philosophy on leadership and planning at Business West’s next networking breakfast at the Bowden Hall Hotel in Upton St Leonards on Wednesday 24 January.

“I come to business from a strategy first point of view”, says Stewart, who is a former joint-CEO and board director of the Hansen Group, ran businesses right across Europe and was a strategic development consultant with Business West.

“Agree what the business is about and work towards the agreed vision. Create a business plan and execute it well. 

“A lot of SMEs we work with do not see themselves as leaders. They don’t think they need any leadership development - they are simply not looking for it as they just see themselves as doers.

“Lots of people are naturally doers and the day almost overtakes them. The culture is not one of planning and development - they just get on and do everything.”

An increasing number of businesses in Gloucestershire are using the QuoLux LEAD programme to develop a culture of leadership in their companies and share experiences from it openly with other firms.

Typical of those is Creed Foodservice at Staverton - one of the UK’s leading independent family-owned foodservice wholesalers.

Creed chief executive, Chris Creed has put a dozen of the company’s key people through the QuoLux leadership development programme, LEAD, and says:

“LEAD was life changing for me.

“Our business wouldn’t be anything like it is now without it. LEAD is a very practical programme. The great thing is that you can start to affect your end results right from the beginning-because of the changes we have made, we’ve seen our business increase by 30%.”

Without doubt, one of the key marketing tools in the QuoLux armoury is a twice a year magazine, which in my view is one of the best I have seen from a small company in the area of leadership which has always posed difficulties in creative communication.

Leading, of which there have been three issues so far, is brilliantly designed but the key is the content - full of no-nonsense experience in the words of those people who have gone through the company’s programmes.

So, make a note of signing up to hear Stewart Barnes speak at our Business West breakfast on Wednesday 24 January at The Bowden Hall Hotel.

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