For the past 3 years I have had the pleasure of working with Andy Leask as his Leadership Coach. Andy is the Chairman of Rodgers Leask Engineering and has led the business for over 3 years, after the death of his business partner John Rodgers in 2011.
Andy won the IOD Director of the year Award for the East Midlands region for 2015 recently and it was interesting to reflect on the journey he has been on since starting the company in 1984 and leading this on his own for the past 3 years. This 2nd blog in the “inspiring leaders” series provides an insight into the Rodgers Leask culture and how Andy strives to lead the company.
The driving Purpose for Rodgers Leask and Andy is to deliver engineering services which add value and improve the built environment and the lives of people. This is not just about construction!
As well as being Chairman, Andy leads business development, develops niche markets and promotes engineering excellence through the training and mentoring of their staff.
In terms of the business culture, Andy has built the company on what he calls the “3 Rs” – Relationships, Recommendations and Reputation.
To provide some further insight, here are Andy’s responses to a set of questions I asked him about how he leads the business:
What are your driving values as a leader?
Facilitating and encouraging the development of all our staff. Recognising individual talents and allowing the people to grow into roles where those talents can be developed and nurtured, through training and mentoring.
How do you think your style differs from other leaders you observe?
My style is collaborative, with staff, customers and our supply chain. All are equally valued and respected for what they contribute to the success of our business. Reputation is everything to our business and I ensure that we maintain and grow our reputation in all our interfaces with other organisations. I spend a significant part of my time seeking out new interesting projects and niche markets to help fire the interest and enthusiasm of our staff.
Who is a leader who has proven inspirational to you?
Steve Jobs for what he achieved with Apple. The philosophy of simplicity, which still underpins the design of the Apple product range and marketing of the products is inspirational.
Define your company culture and what is important in this for you?
Our culture revolves around working together, resolving conflicts quickly and effectively and providing an excellent service to our customers.
What are your ambitions for the future?
To grow and continuously improve the business, to build on our reputation, creating a world class business, providing excellent service to all our customers.
What advice would you give to aspiring business leaders?
Make decisions based on the best information you have available at the time, you will rarely have all the picture. Have the confidence to accept that some of your decisions will prove not to be the best option and you will need to recognise that to move on. Always look for new products, services, ideas -businesses that stand still generally lose their best people and ultimately wither.
Andy has worked hard to develop a positive culture both internally and in how Rodgers Leask is seen externally and I respect Andy hugely as he is the least likely person to shout about his achievements.
Next month the inspiring leader interview will focus on Thorn Baker and the two heads of the company – Paul Jackman and John Robinson. I have worked with Thorn Baker for over 4 years it was brilliant to see them enter the top 100 companies to work for recently.