Sometimes things take an unexpected turn and go in a direction that really does surprise you. Our latest podcast guest did just that and the result was a really enlightening, honest and frank conversation about what it’s really like to be a business leader in a growing SME.
CEO of Digital Rail Systems provider, Denise Lawrenson is a seriously smart and straight talking person. A Software Engineer by qualification and business leader and CEO of a growing tech business through hard work, commitment, resilience and I suspect good old fashioned bloody-mindedness at times, Denise told quite a story.
It’s not really news that the pandemic has tested everyone and business leaders have had to face into an almost unique set of circumstances – big calls needing to be made with no real time to think, plan, explore or really discuss. So not a surprise maybe that Denise and the KeTech board were no different. As a PE backed business, in some ways that challenge might have felt greater with lots of different voices contributing opinion and not all working in the business on a daily basis. Her insights into that time will resonate with many leaders and business owners.
The unexpected turn came when she revealed the journey that KeTech had been on since facing issues in its past which in many ways were much more serious than the pandemic (no spoilers here). Denise talked from the heart and with honesty and real candour about what it was like to live and lead through those times. The difficult conversations underpinned by the responsibility of wanting to get those big calls right. She talked with clear passion about how the company went from near disaster to transform into the healthy, financially robust, growing innovator that it is today.
Her reflections about what it is like to progress through the leadership ranks of an organisation, stepping up from being colleagues to being the boss. As we reflect on things like the Great Resignation, growing your own talent pipeline is really important and can be incredibly impactful and beneficial when done right. But it is hard to do right so hearing what she had to say about this was really insightful.
The takeaway was how core leadership qualities such as being tenacious, resilient, being willing to roll up your sleeves, keeping a cool head and above all trusting your instincts, judgement and being brave really do matter.
At Curium we know the important ingredients of successful business transformation and how leadership sets the right tone from the start. Working with organisations that are committed to their core purpose and helping them empower their teams to deliver is our just cause. Listening to Denise it’s clear that they are a likeminded business, if you are then we would love to talk to you too.