When you revisit companies and listen to their experiences you appreciate the giant strides local business leaders and their teams are making. 

Much has happened in the last four years at Gloucester based SK Refrigeration Heating & Cooling, nothing less than a transformation in the business. 

This has been led by founder and Managing Director Simon Kershaw, who has overseen a tripling of sales, record profits and the development of his leadership teams at all levels.

Changes have started at the very top with Simon himself who has completed the LEAD™ and GOLD™ programmes, with their focus on leadership and strategy implementation, which has enabled Simon to understand where his firm makes money and then reposition his company to sell more to their most attractive markets. 

“LEAD™ and GOLD™ have been the best investments I have made,” chimed a relaxed Simon. “I have changed my business model, restructured the organisation and won the largest order in our history. I have also built enduring personal and business relationships with many local business leaders. 

“If you want to develop yourself and share experiences with other people in similar positions to your own then why wouldn't you come on LEAD™? That is a question I pose to other business people now who are wrestling with issues of growth.

“My personal leadership style has changed because I was very controlling. Now my management team run the business. After all, you pay your managers to run their departments so on reflection it seems crazy to be overly controlling which prevents your managers to manage.

“I have invested in my managers too as they have all been on LEAD™ and my team leaders and supervisors have been on LEADlight. This is important as I wanted them to benefit in a similar way to me. I also wanted us to have a common language. The managers and their teams have now created their own plans to double the size of their divisions again. It is their plans and they believe they can do it. The plans have amazing buy-in.

“That was a game changer for me – letting go.

“Not only that, by letting go it has freed my time up to become more strategic and to focus on the things that as MD I should be looking at. We have identified two market segments that are poorly serviced by others and we are making immediate gains.”

Simon is not resting on his laurels and has enrolled on the QuoLux™ GAIN™ programme exploring innovation, continuous improvement and how they can be further embeeded in his firm. This is the focus of his MBA (Leading Business).

No-one knows what the future holds but having a segmented business plan stands you in good stead compared to the 68% of companies out there that have no plan and are led by people who largely do not find the time to meet and engage staff. I am convinced that the approach Simon, his managers and their teams have taken will give them sustainable competitive advantage. 

This article first appeared in the Gloucestreshire Echo and Gloucestre Citizen on Thursday 26th September.

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