This article first appeared in the QuoLux Leading magazine – Issue 1, April 2017
By George Herbert, Sales Director, Hobbs House Bakery
I am in rather a fortunate position. Next year I will take over the role of MD (from my father) for our fifth-generation, family run, bakery business. And rather than feel the weight of this impending new principal role, or the restrictions of family legacy, instead I feel confident, supported and very excited at the prospect.
I have been sales director at Hobbs House Bakery for the last six years, although I have been involved with the business since I was a teenager and even grew up above the bakery in Chipping Sodbury. After a gap for university and a spot of travelling, a long spell as a Project Manager at Orange gave me the grounding I needed to help run a business.
But it is thanks to LEAD that this foundation has now been built on further. And that the belief in both myself as a leader and in the future of the company has been realised to me.
Up until recently, we, the directors of Hobbs House Bakery, were busy managing, not directing. We appreciated that we needed to become more professional, to direct more, but did not want to lose our core values. Therefore, the opportunity to enrol on the LEAD programme came about at the perfect time. I signed up, joined my fellow cohort members and ‘trusted the process’.
During what is a particularly transitional time - as not only am I taking over the reins as MD from my father, but also in guiding my brother Henry into the role of Sales Director – LEAD has given me new insight, supported my knowledge, confirmed some of my reservations but also provided essential reassurance. I feel like it has given me those stepping stones to see us, Hobbs House Bakery, on our journey.
As part of our focus as a board to get less embroiled in the ‘task’, we’ve really worked hard to hone our vision and values so that they are clear - so that everyone within the business knows what we are trying to deliver and achieve. Understanding and appreciating the importance of clarity and communication, particularly in regards to employee engagement, was something I have particularly taken on board and this remains a focus for improvement. The other area of resonance involves me exploring my own leadership style and realising how I need to develop to get the best out of people. This will be vital as I move into my new role.
The last few months have also seen us help equip our management team so that they are more able to run the business, with clear responsibilities and targets, giving us (the directors) the vital opportunity to work towards success and growth. Over the last three years the company has achieved double digit growth each year and we want to maintain this going forward. And thanks to LEAD, the support of my Board and the opportunities that now lie ahead, I am assured that we can do just that.