Purposeful management, coherent teamwork
"I’ve worked in the automotive space for nearly 20 years, but joining MotoNovo Finance (MNF) in 2005 was a real turning point. Back then the company only had around 100 employees, was a loss-making business in a very tough market and was in the process of being sold. But a friend had joined the company two years earlier, and when we met up he shared MNF’s vision to become the leading independent motor finance provider in the UK - defined as best people, products, services and results.
That completely did it for me. I joined MNF to be involved in something exciting and highly ambitious and it didn’t disappoint. 13 years on, we employ over 700 great people and deliver c.£50m PBT back to shareholders.
In July 2017 I was promoted to Head of Business (UK - South). And, like many others in senior roles, I suddenly realised I’d overlooked my own personal development in taking care of everyone else’s career. Standing at the forefront of the company’s exciting new growth strategy, London Business School offered me the perfect opportunity to begin a new learning journey.
I researched LBS’ Executive Education suite of programmes for two years before deciding that the Essentials of Leadership (EOL) course was a natural fit for my expanding responsibilities and personal development. When I arrived I found the environment was almost spiritual; there was an overwhelming sense that those attending were all of the highest professional calibre, lots of fun and had a real desire to become the best versions of themselves.
Faculty on the EOL course were excellent. In addition to exploring interesting case studies involving Royal Mail and a national dairy firm, Professors Herminia Ibarra and Dan Cable challenged my thinking and introduced several new leadership models. Implementing these methodologies at MNF has helped me become a more balanced and effective leader, so much so that I honestly now enjoy my role much more.
What else did I learn on the programme? A whole host of things. Self-affirmation is the main driver and outcome of the EOL course - there’s a strong focus on ‘The 5 Pillars of Leadership’ and the concept of winning through your team. We looked at more formal ideas involving ‘Freedom in the Frame’ and explored different change management models and steps to success. Most importantly, I learnt to be myself and to believe in what I think is right.
Taking all these things on board has enabled me to create a sense of purpose in my work in line with the company’s goals, vision and values. Introducing new frameworks has also enabled my team to work more coherently towards being the best versions of themselves - through 1-2-1 coaching, team meetings and successful stakeholder management.
I didn’t just take away ideas to implement in the office, though - this programme has also had a fundamental impact on me at a personal level. We live in an ever-changing world driven by multiple different external factors. Within that environment it’s crucial to keep things simple - to do what great leaders do and focus on being the best you can be. I want to ‘make the impossible possible’. I’ve also started to assess the importance of people more, giving time to my relationships at work and at home. I’m much more focused on getting the balance right.
Above all, I’ve realised how important it is to keep learning. When your employer asks you what you’re doing to develop yourself, what they actually mean is you’re not doing enough - and they want to invest in you, so take the challenge and do something about it. Be more playful with yourself and make time to sharpen the saw!"