The Inside Scoop...
Whether you’re a manager, team leader or CEO, you will all have your tales of who inspired you to achieve, the learning's from all of your experiences and roles and how the environment and context you operate in have shaped your skills and business.
So here at Haig&Co, we’d like to take some time out and talk to some of our key customers and poke and prod them to ask them a little about themselves and their route to success. Over the coming months, we’ll be posting blog articles on a few of these key figures and revealing their inner workings (those that will let us that is!).
One such person of note is David Williams, currently the CEO of Accura, based in Wolverhampton. David has an extensive track record in rapid growth, challenging sectors, most notably in British manufacturing and engineering and is a proud supporter of British made products and services. For more about Accura and David, see his LInkedIn profile here.
David was kind enough to answer a few questions that give a snapshot into the life and likes of a CEO in a PE backed British manufacturing business.
- Elevator Pitch; its you and the Dragons from the Den. What would be your 30 second pitch to describe you as a business concept to invest in?
I’m a technologist, a strategist, a tactician and a leader. I add value to manufacturing businesses facing market or internal challenges by being able to cut through complexity, identify what matters, define specific improvement action plans and then lead teams to deliver.
- What would you say had the most impact on your career as a leader and businessman so far?
This is a really difficult question to answer as there have been so many! My first real manager was a 63-year manager at GKN who had risen from the shop floor. Broad, tattooed and lacking any academic education he was formidable. He taught me that no matter what the problem or task, the way to succeed involved cross functional teams (use experts), clear communication, structure, agreed actions, owners and timings. He also taught me the importance of leadership, ownership and humour.
- We all try to keep up with the changing world, but what impact has social media had on you and your businesses?
Social media can be a blessing and a curse! I’m an avid user of LinkedIn and love the immediacy of data access that the web and social media offers – access to customers, suppliers, competitors, investors, employees and owners at the touch of a button. So often though, I feel that social media is reaching saturation point and wonder where to next, how can we differentiate? Ref the web, I often think how bizarre we would seem to someone looking at our use of the it for the first time – the greatest compendium of instantly available knowledge ever and yet we chose to use the web for selfies and cute kitten videos!
- Where did you feel that you learnt the most in your career?
Every one of my jobs has taught me new things. One never stops learning.
- Who did you vote for and why?
As a business leader and a tax payer, I want a government that works to achieve a socio-economic platform that delivers stability, competitiveness, prudence and fairness. The politics of boom and bust, spend and save benefit no one. Consequently, I voted……….. :)
- You are a staunch supporter of British manufacturing and export; how has the last 6 years of business recession changed UK Manufacturing ideals and methods?
Unquestionably, the last 6-years of recession has been a very difficult time for many sectors and not least those UK manufacturers that operate within the private equity world where growth is generally required to survive. From personal experience, the UK recession forced businesses to think differently and consider new alternatives. With a shrinking home market, export is an obvious route although for those who are uninitiated, this can seem like a terrifying prospect. The Chamber of Commerce and UKTI have both really helped more UK manufacturers to take their first fledgling steps overseas. At the same time, organisations like MAS have helped businesses drive improved internal efficiencies – absolutely vital to be competitive if you are playing on a world stage. At Taylor I learned the tremendous brand equity that can be gained by UK manufacturers; fly the flag and be proud to do so. British made still commands a premium around the world.
- And finally, your PA has to use one word to describe you; what would it be?!