Why did you decide to join the IoD?
I originally joined the IoD when I was a director of Applegreen, when the board was upskilling its procedures and focus on governance, but I stayed for the networking opportunities and wide range of areas covered.
Where are the biggest changes you’ve seen in business over your career?
The rise of compliance - tax, health and safety, employees rights, straight bananas, GDPR etc, much of which is good, albeit expensive.
What is the most important business lesson that you have learned in your career to date?
Whether you are small or large, success rarely happens by accident; it is normally based on a decent idea and hard graft. But implicitly it requires that the reward is sufficient for the risks taken. When you can’t or don’t measure the risks, they are probably too high.
Is there someone who has had a major impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life?
Two young entrepreneurs I worked with recently. They thrive via their passion for technology and innovation, but succeed by recruiting a team of professionals where they are unskilled. It gave me a greater sense of the excitement of startups.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Leaders lead people, so the ability to select and get the best out of a team is paramount.
How do you think business leaders can best prepare for the future?
Most leaders have gaps and weaknesses and investing time in improving a weak skill is generally more productive than focusing on existing strengths.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring directors in Ireland?
If you have not trained as an accountant or lawyer, make sure you understand your responsibilities as a director as a priority. If you are a lawyer or accountant, loosen your tie and use the network to broaden your horizons.
What do you particularly value from your IoD membership?
The morning, lunch and evening presentations – getting a bite size update on a topic or person of interest and a general opportunity to network with peers without committing a half or full day.