Case Study: Adcroft Hilton
Rosalind Hilton, owner and director of Blackpool-based Adcroft Hilton, was about to face one of the biggest tests of her management capabilities.
With business prospects looking good and a client base spread across Lancashire and Cumbria, the business recovery and insolvency practitioner was opening a second office. That meant Rosalind would have to move back and forth regularly and needed to take on a more ‘strategic’, less ‘hands on’ role.But whilst her professional qualifications were impeccable, Rosalind, who has run the company single-handedly for the last 4 years, admits that her management skills were lacking:
“I had never had any management training at all and although I needed to move myself into the position where I was leading and not doing the day to day stuff, I was unsure about exactly how I was going to get there.”
On top of that, Adcroft Hilton’s manager was new to the role as well and had no management experience either so Rosalind was keen to help her develop too.
Then a Business Link adviser mentioned LEAD, a revolutionary new business development programme developed by Lancaster University. It’s a training package worth some £15,000 but is available free to owner/managers of North West businesses who meet the criteria. And Rosalind did.
The timing was perfect.
“If I had made a wish list at that point, LEAD would have been the answer to it – honestly!”
laughs Rosalind, who is now around two-thirds of the way through the course.
LEAD was an attractive proposition because it wasn’t just classroom-based study. Instead it uses a really varied range of techniques, from master classes to coaching, mentoring to action learning – and for Rosalind, that’s the real beauty of it.
“I think that LEAD’s strength is the diversity of its approach because everything meshes together so well and there’s a real mix of learning methods.
We’ve had master classes from celebrities, business people and academics, and we’ve taken something away from every one. Basically the master classes get you thinking, and the other sessions let you develop those ideas into practical plans for your own business."
It’s given Rosalind confidence in her own capabilities.
“I was amazed at how much I was already getting right intuitively; but it has made me more conscious of my management style so that I can analyse it and change to one that’s more effective, one that helps me to get the best out of others,” she says.
“I’m finding too that I can stand back and adopt a role which allows me to – in LEADspeak – ‘work on the business rather than in the business’. And it’s not just me who benefits either because I’m able to pass on what I learn to my manager and staff too.”
So has Rosalind a final word for anyone interested in joining LEAD? “Just do it!” she says. And you can’t be plainer than that.