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Sales Growth That Surprises Cynics Like Me by Alun Hughes

Written by a.m.burnett@swansea.ac.uk / Tuesday 23rd January 2018

Alun Hughes

Alun Hughes

Director at 20 Degrees Consulting Ltd


I recently took a group of visiting technologists from South Africa to Swansea University. They were introduced to a range of the university’s projects and capabilities, including the ION Leadership programme. Rather than an outline of the programme, the team at Swansea decided to give the visitors a taster session.

My first response was to feel sorry for the person leading the session as she had been given the slot directly after lunch – never the best time to get people excited about leadership development! However, I shouldn’t have worried. The session got everyone energised and animated, believe it or not, using a jigsaw puzzle. None of the visitors wanted to leave at the end of the session – they couldn’t get enough of it! Noticeably, the emphasis was on learning by doing, not theory. This is the approach for the whole programme, based on years of research into what works in practice, rather than what works in theory.

After more than two decades of involvement in people development, I can be somewhat cynical about management or leadership training programmes claiming to transform businesses. Many programmes achieve some incremental improvements for the business. Yet, few manage to sustain positive changes beyond the short term. By contrast, I’ve watched the progress of the ION Leadership programme over the last seven or eight years and have to admit to being impressed.

The facts speak for themselves:

·        Over 1,000 leaders have undertaken the programme and their companies experienced an average growth of 26% in revenues following attendance

·        Companies led by leaders of the ION programme have consistently been part of the Wales Fast Growth 50, the annually compiled list of the fastest growing businesses in Wales

·        88% of attendees say they are better leaders as a result of attending the programme

·        Networks developed by attendees of the programme sustain naturally over periods of years, providing on-going peer support.

One of the great parts about this programme is that it allows us all to get a little energy boost from their programme of free events open to aspiring and new leaders, thanks to support from the European Social Fund. ‘The Leadership Conversation’ looks at business growth from the perspective of business leaders rather than those that study business. The next session is on 18th January and asks ‘What does successful growth look like?’ For me, 26% sales growth or more, with accompanying profitability growth, would be a good start!

If you are interested in going along to the next Leadership Conversation, you can find the details at https://ionleadership.co.uk/events. The speakers make an impressive group. Alex-Michelle Parr is the Managing Director of Wolfestone Translation Ltd, a company that has been on the Fast Growth 50 list for three successive years. Stuart Morgan is the Head of Talent for Admiral and is responsible for ensuring the Admiral Group of companies have environments where talent can be nurtured and thrive. Anthony Thomas is the Managing Director of ASW Property Services, another member of the Fast Growth 50 list. They look like a group of people that know a thing or two about business growth and, of course, all of them have been on the ION Leadership programme.

Hope you have a great New Year.

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