“Every growing business faces its own leadership challenges, but for family firms these can feel particularly acute,” observes Jo Draper, Director of QuoLux, sponsor of the Family Business of the Year category in the BristolLive & Bristol Post Business Awards 2019.
“It’s often an entrepreneurial spark that ignites a young business, driven by its founders and the small team around them that create something exciting. As output increases or more investment is needed, the informality of the early days needs to move towards more formal management.
“That brings new challenges; more delegation is required with the top management needing to ‘let go’ and take on the role of leading. That can be a struggle for those used to being highly directive. Growth continues and that means more people, or more sites, and greater coordination is required. Systems are put in place. But too many controls and the ‘red tape’ becomes restrictive; all that innovative energy is being dampened. A shift in culture may be needed, moving towards collaboration. Now we’re in the era of professional good sense, effective information systems and, above all, strong leadership.”
Jo recalls the experience of George Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery. The fifth-generation business bakes handmade bread in its Chipping Sodbury bakery which is sold wholesale, as well as in its six shops across Bristol and Gloucestershire. “George took part in our LEAD programme while he was taking over the role of MD from his father. It was part of their focus as a board to get less embroiled in the ‘task’. They felt they had been busy managing, not directing, and wanted to professionalise the firm without losing their core values.
“Taking the insight he gained on LEAD, George and the board have worked hard to hone their vision and values, and concentrate on communication to drive employee engagement. Consistent years of growth are testament to their success.”
To discover whether LEAD might be your next strategic step for growth, visit www.quolux.co.uk
This article first appeared in the Bristol Post, June 2019