With 25 years experience as a Board member, Steve Harrop is in a great position to share his ideas and thoughts on engaging teams in the right way.
From involvement with real industry changing companies to saving the High Street, Steve has an enviable record of making a serious impact, wherever he is.
Graham kicks off today's show talking about leadership and the impact of leaders. He introduces today's guest, Steve Harrop, who has had a career in office products and business supplies and has been in the business for 39 years and is currently part of the UK’s Save the High Street project. Harrop talks about where he started his career, doing things like marketing and sales with small businesses. He also went to graduate training with a company called Spices, a start up company at the time in the UK dealing with office products in the market. In 1989, he was a part of a startup company in Sheffield, England that is still successful to this day. Today he works for an organization called Save the High Street, providing a platform to help small independent businesses to guide them and revive independent high street retailers of the UK. His role is being a commercial director to help these small independent businesses make money and to work with customers to help with good customer experience. Steve tries to use his knowledge and skills he gained while working for a company called Kingfield. Graham asks Harrop about what he liked about Kingfield that was different. Steve says that the business was like a family and one person in the business that helped drive the company to success was a man named Alan Hickman. He says that Alan gave everyone “the roots to grow and wings to fly”. By fly, he meant that Alan knew that everyone would drive the business to move forward.
Coming back from the break, Graham mentions a quote that Harrop mentions; “roots to grow, wings to fly”. Harrop speaks more on this. He mentions that the only way you’re going to learn is by making mistakes and if you don’t do something, it will never happen. He also emphasizes the goal of wanting to do good and do things the right way. Graham asks Harrop about culture change where it goes from a “family field” to just a big business. Harrop noticed this change when one of the companies that he worked for merged with another. Overall, there was a clash of ideas and a different corporate look, though a lot of what they were able to do was very diverse.
Harrop talks about the “why” when building things with other people. Steve says that assuming can lead to issues in business. He says that if someone is confident in what they're trying to get across, then he thinks that explaining the “why” and giving a sense of direction is more clear which also helps with working with your team. He also mentions the word “love” and how that isn’t really used in this industry. Steve says that he sees love as showing a sense of respect and appreciation for what others do. He also talks about employees having a passion and love of wanting to work hard and wanting to do good customer service while sometimes doing things without being told what to do. Switching topics, Graham asks Steve about people who question why an organization or company is too nice or the idea that something may be too good to be true. He says that the company Kingsfield would focus on trying to find employees who would be good at managing and working with people. Steve mentions that they would also ask customers about their thoughts on the staff. They would do a lot of interacting with customers in and out of their business.
Steve talks about a couple of things that did not go too well in his company that cost him a lot of money; about 2 million pounds. Graham asks Steve about what kinds of things made him and his work stand out in marketing. He then asks Steve about what he thinks is misunderstood about him. One thing that Steve mentions is that while many people who know him see him as overly passionate, he genuinely wants to make someone happy. He says that he doesn’t do it for his own advantage or personal gain. It’s more about the passion for what he does. Graham thanks Steve for coming on the show. Before ending the final segment, Steve briefly talks about Savethehighstreet.org which is a website Steve says that provides small businesses with support whether it’s start-up or financial knowledge and much more.
00:00:35.400 --> 00:00:48.180 Graham Dobbin: Good afternoon Good morning, good evening wherever you are I, this is the mind behind leadership live on talk radio dot nyc it's Monday in New York it's cheesy and Sydney and i'm not sure i'm against this, they will find out about it.
00:00:48.390 --> 00:00:56.100 Graham Dobbin: And when we talk about leadership every week leadership's one of those hot topics, everyone has an opinion about it good or bad.
00:00:56.520 --> 00:01:06.990 Graham Dobbin: And we've got binion's mainly due to the people we see around us, they might be role models are just people we've had the opportunity observer meets or deal with colleagues.
00:01:07.500 --> 00:01:12.960 Graham Dobbin: And, and as leaders we sometimes have an impact that we have no idea about and on this show.
00:01:13.470 --> 00:01:21.030 Graham Dobbin: i'm also sometimes lucky to grab someone who's made an impression on me and drag them onto the shore today's one of those days.
00:01:21.480 --> 00:01:30.810 Graham Dobbin: i'm today's guest is Steve had up there Steve has been described as an enthusiastic and positive energetic and open minded individual.
00:01:31.110 --> 00:01:40.230 Graham Dobbin: I work he's got Korea I the office products and business supplies industry that span 39 years so far and.
00:01:40.830 --> 00:01:45.780 Graham Dobbin: Steve I know for a fact that steve's help to drive growth through all the companies he's been involved with.
00:01:46.110 --> 00:01:52.680 Graham Dobbin: And this focused on making the customer journey and exciting and ultimately successful one is a liberty man.
00:01:52.890 --> 00:02:02.190 Graham Dobbin: and his industry Guild the worship food company of stationers yeah about right the worship for company of stationers and a freeman of the City of London.
00:02:02.460 --> 00:02:18.300 Graham Dobbin: As Steve is also a fellow of the chartered Institute of marketing in the UK he's seen the rise and fall of wholesalers major retailers and many individuals and it's currently engaged in the UK is save the high street.org project.
00:02:18.720 --> 00:02:37.350 Graham Dobbin: But that doesn't tell the whole story, until recently, Stephen I haven't actually spoken in about 25 years, and as soon as he popped up on my linkedin the first thought was good guy and thinking about that, and what he did was game changer so all positive, even after all this time Steve.
00:02:38.460 --> 00:02:39.690 Graham Dobbin: it's fantastic to see you.
00:02:41.190 --> 00:02:50.850 Steve Harrop: Thank you very much, and thanks for inviting me this is really exciting I can't believe that intro that you get me none of it's true costs.
00:02:51.090 --> 00:02:51.330 No.
00:02:55.290 --> 00:02:55.890 Graham Dobbin: fact checked.
00:02:58.410 --> 00:03:01.380 Steve Harrop: it's good you know and in the UK is actually listening to this then.
00:03:03.030 --> 00:03:03.690 Graham Dobbin: we're going to say.
00:03:04.530 --> 00:03:15.510 Graham Dobbin: So Steve i'm just give us a better background with us have begun to kind of really yet know how did you get started in business will get to leadership in a little while.
00:03:15.630 --> 00:03:28.110 Graham Dobbin: Because i'm really i'm really keen, because what are the things I know that this doesn't include doesn't talk about is kind of the teams are built up in the impact of having people around you just give us a bit about grown and just kind of where you started.
00:03:29.010 --> 00:03:35.520 Steve Harrop: Right start ooh left university started in around about 1982 with a company called read international.
00:03:36.240 --> 00:03:47.580 Steve Harrop: Huge conglomerates well from a British perspective, anyway, it was a lot very large business, which is subsequently been split up and has all different companies today publishing, printing all of that kind of thing pepper products.
00:03:48.060 --> 00:03:57.510 Steve Harrop: And they sent me as a graduate trainee to a company called spices spices were a starting business in the UK office products market in the in the 80s.
00:03:57.960 --> 00:04:11.430 Steve Harrop: became a real leader, I worked there for about eight years marketing sales and was this year three years running actually which, which was the most interesting time dealing with small businesses.
00:04:12.690 --> 00:04:20.910 Steve Harrop: 1989 was an opportunity to leave the business and go and join a very, very small business invest in Sheffield England, which is northern England.
00:04:21.660 --> 00:04:28.710 Steve Harrop: spice has been down in Cambridge which most people might have heard of so in Sheffield we we started this business at 1.2 million.
00:04:29.310 --> 00:04:45.750 Steve Harrop: And today that business, all of us bank on it is not a word about 60 nearly 7 million and own very proud to be the start of that and through that company i've been various various roles.
00:04:46.890 --> 00:04:55.080 Steve Harrop: Managing Director of one of their trading companies, the biggest one, in fact, and also the sales and marketing director a lot different title.
00:04:55.680 --> 00:05:05.970 Steve Harrop: And then there's what's called the dealer development director and that sent me around the world for for nearly a year just looking at all sorts of ideas and creative things to America.
00:05:06.300 --> 00:05:14.760 Steve Harrop: To the Far East and nearly every country in Europe, and then we created on the back of that an international marketing group of wholesalers and it was called interaction.
00:05:15.180 --> 00:05:21.300 Steve Harrop: But I had some great times in America was some fantastic film Nice and I got to see some amazing people at the start of their careers.
00:05:21.630 --> 00:05:31.470 Steve Harrop: And people who now run Amazon or built Amazon people who built the company called Viking, some of the largest wholesalers in America so so it was a great time great fun.
00:05:32.490 --> 00:05:40.770 Steve Harrop: To be first sales weren't difficult it was it was a good time to be involved in sales and marketing and in the office supplies industry.
00:05:41.400 --> 00:05:49.830 Steve Harrop: Today that's different but i've learned so much along the route and met so many amazing people so it's been it's been an incredible journey that's got me today.
00:05:50.340 --> 00:05:56.670 Steve Harrop: To working for an organization called serve the High Street, which is started campaigning business three or four years ago.
00:05:57.450 --> 00:06:04.950 Steve Harrop: But now is really trying to revive the independent, high street retailers in the UK and they calling it high street 3.0.
00:06:05.370 --> 00:06:21.510 Steve Harrop: So, providing a fantastic platform that's got a lot of information, a lot of advice and help and ways in which small independent businesses can actually improve their business and my role as commercial director so ideally to make some money for them, but also to.
00:06:22.590 --> 00:06:28.890 Steve Harrop: to work with the customers and build out real great customer experience and using the skills, I think that.
00:06:29.550 --> 00:06:40.140 Steve Harrop: I learned, when I was at a company called kingfield because that to me as the, as has been the pivotal moment in my life joining them so that's my background, hopefully, I didn't go on too long there but that's where you know.
00:06:40.650 --> 00:06:44.430 Graham Dobbin: For for all the years we've got Steve that was very short and very, very sharp.
00:06:45.750 --> 00:06:47.340 Graham Dobbin: voiceover King from those different.
00:06:48.840 --> 00:06:50.370 Steve Harrop: Oh wow it was.
00:06:52.050 --> 00:07:06.060 Steve Harrop: It was a business that was if that was a family that everybody was in it together and everybody shared and there was very little hostility or very little conflict inside the business, but the biggest thing.
00:07:07.590 --> 00:07:16.980 Steve Harrop: that drove that business was was particularly one guy who who who set it up and and developed it called Alan rickman and he just give us.
00:07:17.610 --> 00:07:26.190 Steve Harrop: there's an expression there's a guy called frank deke who I met in my time at kingfield, who was the UK coach for British athletics at one of the Olympics Scotsman like yourself.
00:07:27.090 --> 00:07:37.230 Steve Harrop: And he he did a series that will a two or three presentations for conferences and before the conference and meet the guest speakers or the keynote speaker.
00:07:37.800 --> 00:07:48.450 Steve Harrop: And he said to me wonder, this is like this one, he said to me, one day, would you would you like to meet to talk about the brief as it goes forward yeah where do you want to meet and knowing i'm a huge football or soccer soccer fan.
00:07:49.140 --> 00:07:53.760 Steve Harrop: He said to me, what will meet at Old Trafford we have lunch in the in the dining room.
00:07:54.510 --> 00:08:00.360 Steve Harrop: it's a recognized restaurant excellent so we met sort of a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon I can't remember which.
00:08:00.960 --> 00:08:13.890 Steve Harrop: He said i'm gonna bring somebody on to me Would you mind him coming, so no, no, I don't that's fine you know we'll talk about you might have some experience that he could pass on he says, I think he can so I sat down and in what frank with Sir Alex Ferguson.
00:08:15.930 --> 00:08:24.690 Steve Harrop: The the manager of Manchester United and now Sir Alex Ferguson, and we sat and had lunch together for a couple hours but, at the end of that frank came up with a great expression.
00:08:25.110 --> 00:08:36.900 Steve Harrop: He said what you're going to do with people in his opinion, is given the roots to grow and the wings to fly, and he talked about his daughter who's a spokeswoman in the Olympian and in.
00:08:37.530 --> 00:08:43.470 Steve Harrop: horse dressage or showjumping or something like that, and I would say that Alan rickman.
00:08:44.100 --> 00:08:50.340 Steve Harrop: Was that guy was the guy that actually embodied the fact that he gave us the routes to grow and the wings to fly.
00:08:50.640 --> 00:08:59.550 Steve Harrop: And by fly he knew that we weren't going to go anywhere, we were just going to absolutely drive that business forward we were so excited to be a part of it and.
00:09:00.060 --> 00:09:07.560 Steve Harrop: We were we we used to call ourselves in the industry in Europe, Australia, because you're in there, at the same time, but we called ourselves the raggedy ass Rovers.
00:09:08.040 --> 00:09:20.370 Steve Harrop: Of the industry, I mean basically we had the super companies who like doing 230 million company spices that had mentioned, we were 1.2 million to their spices don't exist sadly.
00:09:21.270 --> 00:09:25.050 Steve Harrop: But now, as they are all evils the now, which was the the.
00:09:25.680 --> 00:09:34.410 Steve Harrop: subsequent development of kingfield is 650 to 700 million and we built we built the roots for that business we built that that incredible foundation.
00:09:34.830 --> 00:09:43.440 Steve Harrop: But that was built on one guy whose whole vision was to get the best out of people by being let's face it, Nice.
00:09:43.920 --> 00:09:54.870 Steve Harrop: And and there's a little story in that too in that we created a logo for the company needs to be serving the stationary trend which was pretty dull when when probably your first newest.
00:09:55.410 --> 00:09:58.050 Steve Harrop: And, and I was made the marketing director and.
00:09:59.370 --> 00:10:08.430 Steve Harrop: One of the brief selling Gary was Steve freshen it up a little bit worried, so I went away for a few weeks I came back and i've got this great idea fantastic idea and i'm setting the boardroom.
00:10:08.880 --> 00:10:14.550 Steve Harrop: And they're all looking at me the other directors like once I get my little storyboards out plunkett on the on the wall.
00:10:16.620 --> 00:10:17.850 Steve Harrop: Nice to be with.
00:10:19.350 --> 00:10:25.800 Steve Harrop: And stunned silence and they're all looking around and said why will be used the word Nice.
00:10:27.180 --> 00:10:39.090 Steve Harrop: And I said, because we are because i've looked at what we are as a company we're really nice people and we've got the nicest leader in the world, and he gets on to help each other and customers like us.
00:10:40.320 --> 00:10:46.800 Steve Harrop: And again them another example, you know i'd worked for spices, the salesman's three years running and My biggest concern Sheffield was company called area robots.
00:10:47.100 --> 00:10:56.850 Steve Harrop: brilliant company old man Roberts fantastic man, suddenly, not with us either, but what a great guy and I used to call him, Mr Roberts and he called me, Mr Harris yeah I was always.
00:10:57.420 --> 00:11:01.890 Steve Harrop: Early 20s he was he was in his 60s and he was still saying, Mr or miss rose.
00:11:02.250 --> 00:11:12.270 Steve Harrop: I joined kingfield and I went in the first day I joined kingfield and I says Hello hello, Mr Thomas, he says, I don't mess with us that was spices he kingfield now just call me bill and i'll call you Steve.
00:11:12.960 --> 00:11:24.570 Steve Harrop: that's the difference we were, and I think you picked up some of that in the time that they think they will use this lovable but good and competitive but, really, really cared about the people that.
00:11:25.890 --> 00:11:33.030 Steve Harrop: They worked with and everybody was a stakeholder numbers it's not it wasn't there was nobody outside of it so yeah as a background of.
00:11:33.060 --> 00:11:40.950 Graham Dobbin: curious when you see that one man can drive that and can can drive the culture How does that happen, how did How did we give people permission.
00:11:41.520 --> 00:11:50.250 Graham Dobbin: To have those roots of those wings and kind of be themselves because that's ultimately what it is we need to bring out the the authentic listen people as well.
00:11:50.580 --> 00:11:55.380 Steve Harrop: yeah I think that that was the point you know that he was a genuinely honest.
00:11:56.430 --> 00:12:06.900 Steve Harrop: Guy with massive integrity, but also somebody who really cared about the people you know we're one point we must about three or 400 people in kingfield and he could still tell you the name of every now.
00:12:07.290 --> 00:12:19.290 Steve Harrop: In the business and the cleaners kids and grandkids and he'd walk into Bristol and he'd say hi pat hi June, how are you doing and i'd be stood next to him and he's talking about and and the day before he'd been up in Glasgow and.
00:12:19.770 --> 00:12:33.990 Steve Harrop: It meant Mayra and janice and hi Laura house house house Zoe and so on, so it would just be he knew every just had this sort of we're being genuinely Nice, where people and you're very clever with business.
00:12:35.040 --> 00:12:38.220 Steve Harrop: And clovers a good good words because I remember wants to.
00:12:39.630 --> 00:12:51.390 Steve Harrop: Be in there about 10 years 13 years to the 10th year and he got the serious little complex and ended up in hospital and are there was a guy called David Grossman who I know you know.
00:12:52.380 --> 00:13:01.440 Steve Harrop: who's who's a real character and David and I drove up from London to a place called works out, which is long way it's about 190 200 miles just to see him.
00:13:01.950 --> 00:13:07.170 Steve Harrop: Because we've really been taken and hospital, so we did we turned up and I went into the shop and bought little present for him.
00:13:07.830 --> 00:13:13.920 Steve Harrop: And I tied to balloon to the end of his bed, and I gave him the book that went with it, and it was.
00:13:14.610 --> 00:13:21.840 Steve Harrop: Mr glover Mr men books and and it's just like that's the kind and he just really, really smile, and when he smiled.
00:13:22.320 --> 00:13:32.970 Steve Harrop: I mean his his his way of telling you off if you did something wrong was to say well Steve I think you should think about that, and maybe not not do that one again but but that's for you to do so.
00:13:33.930 --> 00:13:42.930 Steve Harrop: And that was taking off, you know and you'd be gutted you absolutely be desperate that he said something like that so yeah that was Alan and Guy he led.
00:13:44.640 --> 00:13:45.270 Steve Harrop: by example.
00:13:47.100 --> 00:14:00.120 Graham Dobbin: And that's going to keep one of the things that that we speak about one here with almost every leader is about what's inspired them as somebody leading by example okay to just set in a way, not setting the rubes.
00:14:01.020 --> 00:14:03.090 Graham Dobbin: i'm just kind of showing.
00:14:04.170 --> 00:14:14.220 Graham Dobbin: getting an idea of kind of where they're coming from the approach and how the how the can kind of pass it on to others I look we're going to go to a break in a moment when we want.
00:14:14.280 --> 00:14:14.580 Graham Dobbin: To.
00:14:15.090 --> 00:14:24.450 Graham Dobbin: Come back, do you want to dig dig down a little bit deeper into the what's inspired you and Kelly your approach Steve and how you go.
00:14:24.450 --> 00:14:24.930 Steve Harrop: about it.
00:14:24.960 --> 00:14:29.460 Graham Dobbin: and probably the big one here is, I know for a fact that.
00:14:30.840 --> 00:14:42.600 Graham Dobbin: The law that you had in the business, you had was game changing and an industry we're talking about an industry that's worth billions so as much as we can see the office products but potentially boring industry it's not.
00:14:42.630 --> 00:14:43.380 Steve Harrop: Everybody touched.
00:14:43.740 --> 00:14:57.840 Graham Dobbin: touched everybody touched every single business, it was absolutely vital to every business, and still is, and you listen to my leadership we're speaking with Steve had up absolutely delighted to be doing that today and we'll be right back after these.
00:17:15.780 --> 00:17:30.840 Graham Dobbin: Welcome back you listen to the vine vine leadership of life here on talk radio dot nyc and we are with Steve had up we're talking about changing companies were talking about leadership and i'm going to keep probably going to refer to this a couple of times.
00:17:31.860 --> 00:17:34.890 Graham Dobbin: It Steve routes to grow wings to fly.
00:17:35.190 --> 00:17:46.770 Graham Dobbin: hmm know when we do that, it sounds like we're allowing people to make mistakes with alone, though we're kind of giving people permission to try things out and not fair.
00:17:47.100 --> 00:17:52.230 Steve Harrop: Oh definitely yeah I think empowerment was was something.
00:17:53.580 --> 00:18:00.210 Steve Harrop: That We grew that business and I mentioned kingfield on, as was allowing people to really learn.
00:18:01.350 --> 00:18:01.860 Steve Harrop: Along i'm.
00:18:03.450 --> 00:18:05.100 Steve Harrop: not afraid to try some.
00:18:06.330 --> 00:18:16.500 Steve Harrop: And there are a number of examples of things that we did didn't go quite right, but we got there in the end, and we can only improve that and do that if we.
00:18:17.730 --> 00:18:25.470 Steve Harrop: If we think so if we didn't do it, it wasn't going to happen there was a quite obviously well known guy Tom Peters who's the.
00:18:26.100 --> 00:18:33.270 Steve Harrop: The business coach you know and Alan came back from America warrior and he brought these cassettes, and I still got them, I mean there's like 15.
00:18:33.750 --> 00:18:45.930 Steve Harrop: old style cassettes in a case and, of course, camp over now but but we used to play them in the car we chop them we've we do it and sort of it we didn't agree with, but, but on the whole, it was the concept that the fact that.
00:18:46.770 --> 00:18:56.370 Steve Harrop: Let people do things like help people, I think that that that keyword in in in I don't know whether people would use this word in a business.
00:18:57.270 --> 00:19:13.080 Steve Harrop: But i'm going to use it, we had love, we had some love for our customers, we had some love for our staff, and we have some love for the way that we wanted to do things in the right way and, and it was that kind of feeling that you were doing the right thing.
00:19:14.370 --> 00:19:23.790 Steve Harrop: Certainly, letting sort of youngsters coming into the business as well and give them some guidance, but the only way that you're going to learn stuff is by making mistakes and boy.
00:19:25.440 --> 00:19:28.020 Steve Harrop: Some big ones, some of them financially.
00:19:30.090 --> 00:19:40.860 Steve Harrop: financially difficult but they still took the view Steve you've you've you've got lots in the Bank will look, you know you find you made a mistake, so what consulted and do it in a nice way.
00:19:42.570 --> 00:19:43.680 Graham Dobbin: what's in the bank.
00:19:45.600 --> 00:19:45.900 Steve Harrop: hmm.
00:19:45.990 --> 00:19:49.950 Graham Dobbin: Take it as a reference together the emotional bank account done more good than bad.
00:19:51.270 --> 00:19:58.800 Steve Harrop: yeah I think so yeah I know I think the fact is that you're building up assets in a business you but you build your asset story.
00:19:59.310 --> 00:20:09.570 Steve Harrop: And I think individuals can build assets to and, particularly, you know when when you, you can you can share those experienced and then they're going to do something else there's a lot of.
00:20:10.380 --> 00:20:17.190 Steve Harrop: there's a lot of people that that worked with us, and I would never accept somebody work for me, I always feel people work with me.
00:20:17.790 --> 00:20:24.450 Steve Harrop: or I work with them, so I might be a director, I might be the CEO whatever, but you know what it's just important.
00:20:24.990 --> 00:20:29.610 Steve Harrop: cog in the machine is the person who does the thought of copying and we.
00:20:30.120 --> 00:20:37.890 Steve Harrop: Something that Alan taught me in the very, very early days, you know if you've got a youngster who comes in the business and the doing certain apprenticeship or a training scheme or whatever.
00:20:38.430 --> 00:20:41.640 Steve Harrop: And you ask them to do menial tasks like coffee or.
00:20:42.330 --> 00:20:52.170 Steve Harrop: Do photocopying for us explain why so if I if, for example, coffees grit So if I got a customer and sitting in my office or you came into my office grim.
00:20:52.560 --> 00:20:54.750 Steve Harrop: And i'd say that somebody can emit as a couple of cups of coffee.
00:20:55.380 --> 00:21:04.620 Steve Harrop: i'd be saying why now because i'm agreeing with me, is one of our key suppliers, is a talk about business, we hope to generate extra revenue by selling more stuff.
00:21:04.980 --> 00:21:14.520 Steve Harrop: So that cup of coffee electric generators 10s of thousands of pounds and i'll explain that to Houston and and the thing or cranky this cup of coffee i'm making it actually means something.
00:21:15.510 --> 00:21:26.160 Steve Harrop: And I had to those who were kids at the time and then i'll go on got their own businesses to there is a half a dozen people that can kill did that and subsequently.
00:21:27.990 --> 00:21:33.870 Steve Harrop: I still have some conversations with them through things like social media and stuff like that, whenever anything goes on.
00:21:34.800 --> 00:21:47.910 Steve Harrop: And we will have it, we have a first Facebook group of those people in that company, and it is just such a such a great place to doing good and that's what we do it, you know, but things things come to an end on sometimes so you kingfield.
00:21:48.960 --> 00:21:58.110 Steve Harrop: We had the need to grow business, you know from the 1.2 to 50,000,250 million to two and and we did successfully, but we were stretched.
00:21:58.560 --> 00:22:02.370 Steve Harrop: And really stretched and stretched in the management and you have to bring lots of other people in.
00:22:02.880 --> 00:22:10.170 Steve Harrop: And the culture changes, you know, and all of a sudden from being somewhere centered in Sheffield you have a 250,000 square foot warehouse with.
00:22:10.620 --> 00:22:15.900 Steve Harrop: You know, with 24 million pounds with a stock in it in the middle of the country miles away from Sheffield.
00:22:16.260 --> 00:22:24.360 Steve Harrop: And you bring new people into the business and you went on a buying campaign buying other small wholesale businesses, and that was terrific.
00:22:24.870 --> 00:22:30.450 Steve Harrop: You know it, and it was great and and one of the roles that Alan give me was to was to be the kind of the ambassador so Steve.
00:22:30.930 --> 00:22:35.430 Steve Harrop: You know we're thinking about buying this visit Scotland or we're going to buy the one in Bristol or there's one in London.
00:22:35.760 --> 00:22:47.220 Steve Harrop: I want you to go in there first, and you know use your use your gentle blend of wholesale charm and fun and and bring them, or we come in with the let's buy your business.
00:22:48.660 --> 00:22:52.830 Steve Harrop: It was it seemed to work, you know we we always had that in our locker to.
00:22:53.790 --> 00:23:03.090 Steve Harrop: You know, to want to say to somebody this is how we can drive your business forward this is what we can bring your business, and this is how will encourage the people within your business to be a part of what we're doing.
00:23:03.420 --> 00:23:09.420 Steve Harrop: You know that they will be part of our family and and we will we will introduce them to that so.
00:23:10.560 --> 00:23:13.170 Graham Dobbin: i'm curious you mentioned a culture change.
00:23:13.650 --> 00:23:17.640 Graham Dobbin: This mess with it with with the business growth, do you think there's a kind of a tipping point.
00:23:18.180 --> 00:23:27.000 Graham Dobbin: Where when it goes from that kind of family feel like that was about to be used earlier to know it's just a big business and.
00:23:27.330 --> 00:23:42.630 Graham Dobbin: I mean just a big business in the nicest possible sense it can still have good cultural etc, but is there a tipping point there that you think that just this is what this is what changed it was it the geographical move was it getting to kind of a seven head Karen.
00:23:43.740 --> 00:23:46.680 Graham Dobbin: I think it was when you notice that or was it gradual.
00:23:47.010 --> 00:23:56.880 Steve Harrop: yeah I think we noticed it when we merged with a company called john Hayes so we would we were the two spices we're still the very biggest company in our industry 200 million at that time.
00:23:57.360 --> 00:24:01.410 Steve Harrop: And then we had another one smaller one which was john heath was kind of second.
00:24:02.100 --> 00:24:08.190 Steve Harrop: turnover about 1819 million, and we were third at 60, but we did a reverse takeover so we took over john Hayes.
00:24:08.550 --> 00:24:20.280 Steve Harrop: Then all of the all of a sudden, you have culture clash, because you have the Johnny team, you have the kingfield team and, and I think I think all of them admitted letter i'm suddenly alan's passed away by the way, but but.
00:24:21.540 --> 00:24:31.110 Steve Harrop: He admitted later on, that one of the things that he'd have gone back and read on was the way in which he snapped up the two teams against each other.
00:24:31.650 --> 00:24:38.010 Steve Harrop: So, if you look at all of the various departments and bits in the business, so you had wholesaling warehousing you had the.
00:24:38.700 --> 00:24:47.250 Steve Harrop: catalog production, you have the marketing teams, you have the sales teams and he basically for about nine months, he he stopped one against the other and.
00:24:47.580 --> 00:24:53.910 Steve Harrop: I mean, I was really fortunate enough because he'd already made a decision that whatever happened, I was going to be in the role that I was going to be in.
00:24:54.300 --> 00:24:58.770 Steve Harrop: Which is this deal with development role, so I didn't have to go through that process, but a lot of people did.
00:24:59.280 --> 00:25:14.880 Steve Harrop: And, and the irony was at the end of it is that it was probably 80% kingfield anywhere but we knew that but in going through that you had this this clash of idea, so it had working parties let's talk about marketing let's see how you interrelate let's see how your ideas work.
00:25:16.830 --> 00:25:25.800 Steve Harrop: And invariably we came from two different complete backgrounds, you had a very traditional fashion hundred and 20 year old business in john Hayes.
00:25:26.460 --> 00:25:31.890 Steve Harrop: which was very, very corporate minded and you had our business, which was very entrepreneurial.
00:25:32.490 --> 00:25:37.080 Steve Harrop: For example, you know we have we had six locations around the country, and there were six managing directors.
00:25:37.560 --> 00:25:46.170 Steve Harrop: Because there were six independent trading locations, whereas john he said six branches of the same model, so we in sometimes we didn't even have.
00:25:46.740 --> 00:25:56.910 Steve Harrop: We didn't even have the same corporate look and feel because we was all based on the individual, the guy running it, so I run Sheffield, which is the biggest about three years you know, and I made a point earlier on about.
00:25:58.320 --> 00:26:04.530 Steve Harrop: sergeant pepper's or anything, when I was talking to some point about sergeant pepper's that's a great example we used to produce catalogs.
00:26:04.920 --> 00:26:15.030 Steve Harrop: And in these catalogs you could have the inside purge and Ellen was very generous and he said right, you can do anything you want with the inside cover we're not going corporate do what you want, and the outside cover do what you want.
00:26:16.050 --> 00:26:24.480 Steve Harrop: And that was like to me that was just a license to licensed a thrill right because, because I was going to do anything I wanted, and I did so, I took the I took the sergeant pepper's.
00:26:25.170 --> 00:26:35.460 Steve Harrop: album cover and I did something like 160 referrals and you went to the cost of that and I put in all the customers in Sheffield and the staff into that picture.
00:26:35.940 --> 00:26:42.600 Steve Harrop: And I had myself and the three managers directors in the business that Sheffield as sergeant pepper's of the band of the Beatles.
00:26:43.080 --> 00:26:52.890 Steve Harrop: And then we did it we did everything we even the little marble mask had at the Boston one that was one of our customers, we just completely changed it and.
00:26:53.310 --> 00:27:02.550 Steve Harrop: And an interesting one is, we had to put one of our biggest right, in fact, the biggest rival in there as well, a guy called bill Armstrong and we made him look there's a there's a there's a sort of.
00:27:03.600 --> 00:27:14.580 Steve Harrop: I think it's a Roy Rogers or a bandit character in the sergeant pepper's album and we put that as bill with a bit with you know ring me on his on his Bandera on his hell and it costs it.
00:27:16.320 --> 00:27:18.990 Steve Harrop: led to some interesting exchange of letters.
00:27:20.160 --> 00:27:23.490 Steve Harrop: Because we portray moves the band it really basically.
00:27:25.470 --> 00:27:33.870 Steve Harrop: But he took it and good spirit, you know so so so the legal letter that he did send me was done was done jokingly rather than seriously, fortunately, but we got an.
00:27:37.020 --> 00:27:44.100 Graham Dobbin: Interesting industry, where we were talking just just before we came on board that competitors, etc, can be good friends.
00:27:44.490 --> 00:27:45.600 Steve Harrop: Which is not unusual.
00:27:46.530 --> 00:27:56.130 Steve Harrop: Absolutely absolutely I mean there was a lot of crossover as well in that in that some people working for one organization will better suited release another one.
00:27:56.610 --> 00:28:03.660 Steve Harrop: And some that made the trip to the way it wasn't going to work and I actually think that people coming into our organization.
00:28:04.560 --> 00:28:16.830 Steve Harrop: we're impressed because they could feel that warmth and that that sense of camaraderie, whereas the other way, as you would probably remember spices in the in the sort of 80s 1990s was perceived as being very, very professional.
00:28:17.430 --> 00:28:23.130 Steve Harrop: But absolutely quite cold as a as an OG unless it, you know, unless it was certain number of customers, but.
00:28:23.580 --> 00:28:37.170 Steve Harrop: But like we said things coming to an end, things change and and we we bought john Hayes and then on the back of that we we started to grow, the business exponentially and that then required massive investment and then can seize.
00:28:37.680 --> 00:28:46.680 Graham Dobbin: I remember looking at that time and having a heated discussion let's have what at one point, who worked for one of your competitors saying.
00:28:47.430 --> 00:28:59.250 Graham Dobbin: That they didn't actually do what they did all the work distribution company, there were nothing else it didn't matter what was in the box you just moved boxes all they did was take all different boxes and move boxes from one place to another.
00:29:00.960 --> 00:29:10.230 Graham Dobbin: like that, but that's that's that's effectively what they were I didn't pay it was absolutely irrelevant what was in the box, because the product and the industry was was it didn't matter.
00:29:10.650 --> 00:29:11.160 Graham Dobbin: Where is.
00:29:11.190 --> 00:29:17.940 Graham Dobbin: Your approach was slightly different what we're going to do when we come back from the break is dig into that a little bit, you mentioned that.
00:29:19.020 --> 00:29:31.350 Graham Dobbin: explaining the why this is a long time before assignments cynic so kind of want to know why that was really important and also let's jump back to five we don't use the word love.
00:29:32.280 --> 00:29:33.750 Steve Harrop: In business okay.
00:29:34.320 --> 00:29:41.790 Graham Dobbin: you're listening to the main bank leadership we've got Steve had up with this is live on talk radio dot nyc and we'll be back in a moment.
00:32:24.000 --> 00:32:30.390 Graham Dobbin: Welcome back we're speaking with Steve and Steve not danced one ship to the engine which is really disappointing.
00:32:32.700 --> 00:32:39.660 Graham Dobbin: it's not so something happens long before no, we need to get that fixed and you mentioned your mentor.
00:32:41.220 --> 00:32:41.520 been.
00:32:42.600 --> 00:33:01.170 Graham Dobbin: kind of taught your very early of explaining the why and, as I said, you know that's last 10 years or so that's been one of the hot topics it seems to have been one of these revolutionary things that people suddenly began to understand, but here we are doing it 20 3040 years ago.
00:33:01.560 --> 00:33:06.300 Graham Dobbin: um talk to me why that's so important to you, it was explaining it.
00:33:07.170 --> 00:33:12.180 Steve Harrop: It just in the right thing to do, you know and and and not to assume stuff like that.
00:33:13.980 --> 00:33:24.210 Steve Harrop: assuming our assumptions can lead to real issues in business, I feel, so if you if you've got clarity and if you've got a sense of purpose and if you feel confident.
00:33:25.350 --> 00:33:34.260 Steve Harrop: What you're trying to deliver, or what you're trying to put across and how you're trying to grow your business or particularly help other people, then I then I think.
00:33:34.830 --> 00:33:51.000 Steve Harrop: explaining why and where you giving you a sense of direction is very clear there's been a couple of times in my career actually since since this once people have said to me, you know we have we got a sense of direction do we know where we're going and and it's clear that the.
00:33:52.110 --> 00:34:01.050 Steve Harrop: lots of other factors of coming in there's a lot of noise coming in the way, and when you lose that you lose that sense of a team working together, and I think.
00:34:01.470 --> 00:34:10.740 Steve Harrop: So the Why is important if you're really building things with other people and for other people as well and, and I think.
00:34:11.340 --> 00:34:20.970 Steve Harrop: He just before the break, you mentioned the word love why we don't use that as well, I think it's linked in there, somehow because that's the sense of shows a sense of respect and appreciation for what others do.
00:34:21.750 --> 00:34:29.280 Steve Harrop: And, and you need that because, ultimately, if i'm in a machine where i've got 130 people in the business, which I did have.
00:34:30.300 --> 00:34:32.070 Steve Harrop: One point, whereas in Sheffield.
00:34:33.330 --> 00:34:42.810 Steve Harrop: i'm not doing the digital i'm not doing i'm not somebody that lifts that and puts that into a box and one absolute puts it on other than making sure that he goes on to my right band route.
00:34:43.260 --> 00:34:47.190 Steve Harrop: Ensure that it goes to the right customer, making sure the customer gets a real.
00:34:47.580 --> 00:34:56.670 Steve Harrop: A delivery of the they want and there's no issues and problems you've got to rely on other people doing that now, I know that our want that to be 100% correct all of the time.
00:34:57.210 --> 00:35:02.280 Steve Harrop: what was happening about our business in Sheffield is that we were doing that at 99.9.
00:35:02.910 --> 00:35:07.410 Steve Harrop: All the time every time because everybody in the business cared about making sure.
00:35:07.830 --> 00:35:19.950 Steve Harrop: That what went through the door actually worked and i've got a great example of this, I think it was trying to remember the exact year, but it was in the in the sort of early 90s by domain something like 9293 there was a horrendous.
00:35:20.460 --> 00:35:31.560 Steve Harrop: winter, we had a we had a real short blizzard snap and it closed down, most of the roads in the north of England now i'm not saying this was the right thing to do.
00:35:32.280 --> 00:35:39.090 Steve Harrop: But there are a couple of instances that night we were all in the warehouse it's in the middle of the afternoon and i'll send to the team, you know we got to pick the orders and we have.
00:35:40.230 --> 00:35:46.800 Steve Harrop: 60 70,000 pounds of the business very small items lots of transactional items five six hours day but we had no pickers.
00:35:47.610 --> 00:35:50.760 Steve Harrop: was nobody to pick the goods in the warehouse and we had part time.
00:35:51.540 --> 00:36:01.440 Steve Harrop: Usually, mostly women, who came in as a part time role for the other kids teens and then come in at six seven o'clock at night work through till midnight and pick all the orders and accent delivery.
00:36:02.250 --> 00:36:12.210 Steve Harrop: it's a blizzard has four foot of snow and at about eight o'clock we see this trail, which looks like a wagon trail.
00:36:12.600 --> 00:36:19.290 Steve Harrop: of people walking across the car park of Marks and Spencers, which is a big retail shop UK and we can see this line of people.
00:36:20.070 --> 00:36:35.730 Steve Harrop: it's picking team and they've all wore to each other's houses and picked each other or in little groups and clusters and met to come to work in one of the most arduous times now, why would they do that because we weren't asking them to do it, they did it because they felt an absolute.
00:36:37.290 --> 00:36:44.190 Steve Harrop: love for the business and an absolute desire to make sure those orders went out and what was interesting about that is that we did pick a wall.
00:36:44.610 --> 00:36:51.660 Steve Harrop: And marks and Spencers so we had some kind of a joint issue with if any any was kind of a fire issue or risk assessment, which is what.
00:36:52.140 --> 00:36:57.990 Steve Harrop: marks and Spencers just give us a lot of food like bags and bags of food from the outcomes that they couldn't sell because the shop is closed.
00:36:58.470 --> 00:37:05.670 Steve Harrop: And we just stayed overnight and we just had a we picked all the goods only 15 all went into the warehouse and pick the drivers came in early.
00:37:05.970 --> 00:37:13.170 Steve Harrop: they'll pick do we had like you know lots of lots of coffee lots of tea, but we're all of these foods are Marxist and we had blankets and things like that, and it was just.
00:37:13.710 --> 00:37:23.160 Steve Harrop: it's that whole spirit of we're doing this because we wanted to do it, not because somebody is telling us to do it and that customer service aptitude and not care.
00:37:24.060 --> 00:37:31.230 Steve Harrop: is all down to the fact is, is that they have so much pride in themselves in their business and you can't tell people to do that.
00:37:32.490 --> 00:37:34.620 Graham Dobbin: you realize how special that was at the time.
00:37:36.240 --> 00:37:41.430 Steve Harrop: As it was happening, I did, but I wouldn't say that I made a big I mean post event, we obviously.
00:37:42.780 --> 00:37:48.480 Steve Harrop: looked after him rewarded everybody, and we will we will really appreciate what they did, but, at the time we thought.
00:37:49.980 --> 00:37:55.170 Steve Harrop: there's a balance here, because this is a health and safety issue you know, it was a serious blizzard.
00:37:55.740 --> 00:38:00.120 Steve Harrop: And we didn't ask them to come in and we didn't expect them to do that, but they did, and they wanted to.
00:38:00.360 --> 00:38:06.120 Steve Harrop: And is you know what it's like in England, some parts it clears up most of it clears up the following day, anyway, but but Sheffield was gridlocked.
00:38:06.540 --> 00:38:13.920 Steve Harrop: But we still managed to get 17 of the 19 bands out into Yorkshire and do our deliveries to hold and these big cities leads and hold and.
00:38:14.310 --> 00:38:22.350 Steve Harrop: we're in chesterfield wherever and Doncaster, and what was interesting is that they're both john Hayes and spices and there was another one neverland Gladstone earlier Member.
00:38:23.250 --> 00:38:30.450 Steve Harrop: And they're they're probably did the right thing, but they didn't do didn't do any business they didn't send any of the drivers out but we turned up at the door.
00:38:30.900 --> 00:38:33.480 Steve Harrop: And, most of the small independent customers of ours.
00:38:34.080 --> 00:38:44.310 Steve Harrop: They were there, because they have to be there because they have to even just nothing else, just to clear the snow from the from the from the doors or the paths automate things so so that the kingfield van turning up.
00:38:45.210 --> 00:38:53.820 Steve Harrop: Maybe not the same time, but with their stuff that all the day before was just absolutely fabulous for them and and we can so much extra.
00:38:55.320 --> 00:39:03.600 Steve Harrop: Not just business but we actually again so much warmth from it from a from a from our area, so much so that, within two years, those three rivals that we had.
00:39:04.110 --> 00:39:11.670 Steve Harrop: didn't exist anymore, they closed all the branches, we were the only company and the whole of the region and and I put it down to things like that.
00:39:12.420 --> 00:39:19.860 Graham Dobbin: Again you're talking about this emotional bank account that's kind of been making deposits all the time, so you've got love you got respect.
00:39:20.190 --> 00:39:29.190 Graham Dobbin: you're telling everybody the why we've got the roots to grow in the wings to fly, but my guess is you've come across some cynicism as well from from teams that.
00:39:29.640 --> 00:39:41.700 Graham Dobbin: And you and I both know when when we get cynicism that can breed very quickly, how you deal with that, where people are sitting one this is too good to be true there's a there's a there's always a reason behind the being so nice.
00:39:42.720 --> 00:39:44.370 Graham Dobbin: So my guess is you've had that Steve.
00:39:45.810 --> 00:39:52.650 Steve Harrop: yeah but but it wasn't it was, I think one of the things when I said to you first on, you know that that working for that company was just so special.
00:39:52.890 --> 00:40:04.350 Steve Harrop: And it was so unique and i'd never experienced anything like it and I never will again and but lots of people work for Bruce brilliant businesses with some great people, but to put this organization that we had the.
00:40:06.270 --> 00:40:15.450 Steve Harrop: One of the things I think is important is is things like recruitment and who you bring into the business, you know we we didn't do a heavy handed recruitment process.
00:40:15.930 --> 00:40:30.690 Steve Harrop: But all of the things that we did in our inductions or in our in our sort of interview stage is whatever, for example, the stuff interview that they interview people for the job so if we wanted to tell the salesperson I got for Tele sales stuff to interview wasn't me wasn't that.
00:40:32.130 --> 00:40:41.910 Steve Harrop: It was a Tele sales manager, it was the for staff who did the job, and if it was the warehouse it was for warehouseman and I gave them the responsibility if it was pictures on the PIC shift and.
00:40:42.390 --> 00:40:45.660 Steve Harrop: And usually with somebody, then you because it was family because that's That was a very sort of.
00:40:45.900 --> 00:40:47.040 Steve Harrop: manual job those done.
00:40:47.250 --> 00:40:57.360 Steve Harrop: But still, they know each other so but they would do the interview process and i'm so proud and there's there's a couple of couple of things quite a lot of that team at the warehouse girls.
00:40:57.870 --> 00:41:03.210 Steve Harrop: Progress the younger ones progress through the business and actually became in the end of the at least one of them.
00:41:03.990 --> 00:41:13.320 Steve Harrop: camps and you managing a company because of talent or ability, so the other thing that we had in in that company that that Alan was really adamant that we we had was meritocracy.
00:41:13.800 --> 00:41:23.880 Steve Harrop: You do something right you do something, well, we recognize it but equally not putting square pegs in round holes, so if we knew that somebody wasn't particularly good at managing people.
00:41:24.360 --> 00:41:30.990 Steve Harrop: We can still promote them or you can still develop it, but if they weren't particularly good at and confident in doing that, we could either train them to do it or.
00:41:31.380 --> 00:41:39.180 Steve Harrop: We give them a role in the business that reflected that that we're doing well, but it wasn't managing people will because we knew that wouldn't enjoy that and and it's.
00:41:40.260 --> 00:41:47.910 Steve Harrop: It was it all the time we were looking at inside what we're doing, but the other thing that we did, for example, is good is that we'd get customers in.
00:41:48.420 --> 00:41:59.700 Steve Harrop: To tell us to actually train our staff so, for example, my telesales same would have would have customers coming in, so this is the consequence if you put the order wrong on the.
00:42:00.120 --> 00:42:07.200 Steve Harrop: On the system and they said the warehouse right if you pick that wrong order and you don't you pick it, this is the constant is what happens to my business.
00:42:07.530 --> 00:42:16.350 Steve Harrop: i've then got to go back to my customer second time that cost me additional cost in in in fuel and transport or I can't deliver it for two days, because our drivers going somewhere different.
00:42:16.650 --> 00:42:33.480 Steve Harrop: And we explained all as part two we're rolling together and ended up with things like we'd go have Christmas we got the customers that have sellers and all of the telly starts Tele sales stuff there we go on trips to Skegness, which is a an interesting place on the east coast of England.
00:42:34.770 --> 00:42:36.780 Graham Dobbin: With my Miami or long beach and.
00:42:39.960 --> 00:42:52.680 Steve Harrop: Maybe maybe not but but was the interesting about, that is, we go with them so customers will come with us we'd go down to London to exhibitions and we take a coach and we took the customers with us we'd be with them and.
00:42:53.130 --> 00:42:59.370 Steve Harrop: That real togetherness was was part and parcel the whole thing but you're right, you know the with Twitter.
00:43:00.000 --> 00:43:13.140 Steve Harrop: I didn't detect too much cynicism, but I didn't detect sometimes a bit of fatigue right it's it's yeah you know this this we're working really so hard we can't keep doing this we can't keep doing it, but we just seem to go on and on.
00:43:14.160 --> 00:43:14.940 Steve Harrop: Until and.
00:43:15.540 --> 00:43:28.470 Graham Dobbin: Steve we're about to go to another big final break that we've got and when we come back you mentioned that there may have been one to one or two times that things didn't quite go right, yes, so will I will have a little look at those.
00:43:28.980 --> 00:43:37.740 Graham Dobbin: What does it take to be a game changer in the market because they take a company from 1.2 million up to the hundreds of millions and in a mature market.
00:43:38.160 --> 00:43:45.750 Graham Dobbin: is not easy, so you got to do things differently so we'll talk about how we become that kind of that game changer what do we do differently.
00:43:46.590 --> 00:44:00.630 Graham Dobbin: we've had some of it but Okay, what was the what was outward things you're listening to the mind behind leadership real life here on talk radio dot nyc and my name is Graham dobbin we have Steve hot up with us and we'll be back after these.
00:46:07.740 --> 00:46:21.060 Graham Dobbin: If you're watching us on Facebook live, we finally got Steve how to dance nice so we've had about all of these say, and I have seen you dancing Steve anyway, we were talking about all the success you hinted that.
00:46:21.150 --> 00:46:27.000 Graham Dobbin: might have been one or two things just maybe one or two it didn't quite go right, it was an example.
00:46:27.540 --> 00:46:28.920 Graham Dobbin: yeah what john is defined.
00:46:29.970 --> 00:46:30.540 Steve Harrop: island.
00:46:33.990 --> 00:46:35.160 Graham Dobbin: Where a whole country.
00:46:35.490 --> 00:46:44.430 Steve Harrop: yeah yeah effectively yeah we're a UK based company so so we took a bit of a plunge and then in the mid 90s to.
00:46:45.180 --> 00:46:55.470 Steve Harrop: To go into island and I was given the project as Director of island and we paired up with a company in ireland's what we didn't realize at the time, and this is pre the merger with that.
00:46:55.890 --> 00:47:02.220 Steve Harrop: mentioned early on john Hayes is that there had an agreement in place with that company john Hayes but they didn't tell us about.
00:47:02.850 --> 00:47:12.990 Steve Harrop: So, as we moved over them built this big warehouse or at least this warehouse over to police on got the vans good everything to doubt we thought.
00:47:13.980 --> 00:47:24.540 Steve Harrop: We were then hit with with the cost of transporting goods across the piracy, but more than that, we got hit with the fact is, they had an agreement with an Irish company, so they knew all of our customers and all of our stuff.
00:47:25.050 --> 00:47:28.860 Steve Harrop: And they decided to cancel the contract with us ongoing work with them.
00:47:30.330 --> 00:47:36.720 Steve Harrop: Because there's 2 million pounds and I didn't see coming and i'm just really been spotted at all and and I.
00:47:37.830 --> 00:47:45.690 Steve Harrop: we've worked our rocks off to get that get that place open as well over a long bank holiday weekend and and and the staff.
00:47:46.740 --> 00:47:52.890 Steve Harrop: What was annoying about that was that they had probably one of those brilliant teams of people i'd ever seen the Irish team.
00:47:54.390 --> 00:47:59.910 Steve Harrop: But in their in their desire to sell their business to john Hayes and to be part of the john these machine.
00:48:01.200 --> 00:48:09.000 Steve Harrop: They got rid of all that stuff they just let them all go and and they were superstars seriously to do it, but as I said, I didn't see this coming.
00:48:09.480 --> 00:48:16.050 Steve Harrop: And it cost us a lot of money, but that there is a caveat to that, though of course we then bought john Hayes a year later.
00:48:16.530 --> 00:48:31.800 Steve Harrop: yeah and and in doing so, the chairman of our company and alan's best friend, it was alan's mentor took me over to Ireland, the very day that we did the deal, so we can actually extract them out of the Irish business and take it over.
00:48:32.970 --> 00:48:37.620 Steve Harrop: And, and yes, it was nice because he said to me, you can say you're fired.
00:48:38.640 --> 00:48:48.270 Steve Harrop: which I didn't really I didn't feel comfortable doing, but I did because of what they've done to the other people to their peers in the tank and we couldn't get them back so that all got new roles so so that was that was that was one thing, but we.
00:48:48.540 --> 00:48:56.910 Steve Harrop: We did lots of other things you know we we kind of got it over excitable sometimes we thought we'd won some big customers, we thought we'd won the Dudley stationers account.
00:48:58.830 --> 00:49:03.060 Steve Harrop: You know the the same place at 12 bucks remember it was called.
00:49:03.240 --> 00:49:07.110 Steve Harrop: So sevenoaks with five to follow and.
00:49:08.130 --> 00:49:15.330 Steve Harrop: As a reference to the outer stocks but we thought we've done the deal, and we didn't do the day we thought we'd done the deal with Jonathan stricker.
00:49:16.200 --> 00:49:23.940 Steve Harrop: And Hugh and had a great lunch with them when it was signed, sealed and delivered you know, so there are certain things that we.
00:49:24.240 --> 00:49:37.620 Steve Harrop: Already boolean send our enthusiasm, sometimes where perhaps seen by some of the more traditional businesses has been maybe a bit over excitable and we're not sure we want to deal with these spices we're very strong that they they had a very traditional way of going to market.
00:49:38.640 --> 00:49:47.100 Steve Harrop: But, all in all, I certainly think we had a lot in the bank for that businesses and, similarly, the assets, where.
00:49:48.180 --> 00:50:02.820 Graham Dobbin: We don't have that one to go, which is really disappointing the stage because there's so many things are what asked you Steve and give us some ideas of the things that you did outwardly as game changers on an industry, so we can see what you did inside.
00:50:03.240 --> 00:50:10.290 Graham Dobbin: yeah about you know how they built the teams and about their approach to that what kind of things going to stick to do you think.
00:50:12.180 --> 00:50:18.510 Steve Harrop: When we went to market, but we did the we did the one big thing we were the first one to build a huge trebek central distribution Center.
00:50:19.110 --> 00:50:31.590 Steve Harrop: You know multi millions unfortunately what one of the things we didn't do was take the money that that we should have done just by selling it and leasing it back, we actually kept hold of it so invested the money in stock.
00:50:32.010 --> 00:50:39.780 Steve Harrop: Which nearly bankrupt us and and that's genuine we know we were close to the edge within a week, at one point and.
00:50:40.230 --> 00:50:49.800 Steve Harrop: One of the things I had to do is the sales director of our biggest customers is ring them up and say, could you bring your payments forward, would you pair so we raised 4 million pounds in seven days.
00:50:50.760 --> 00:51:00.630 Steve Harrop: To make sure that we get the wolf from the door, so that was that big distribution Center or international agreements with with that interaction business, I mentioned that was unique you know.
00:51:01.440 --> 00:51:10.770 Steve Harrop: Forming a buying group of wholesalers, we we created a buying group which I subsequently went on to be the Managing Director of the CEO which was office friendly.
00:51:11.310 --> 00:51:23.250 Steve Harrop: And we built that business around our service model that was unique as well, and then we you know other things, we did, which was the same but we built some grit grit relationships.
00:51:23.850 --> 00:51:30.570 Steve Harrop: That allows us to do some different stuff we we were innovative in in a time when no wholesaler really wanted to touch.
00:51:31.230 --> 00:51:39.720 Steve Harrop: consumables electronic office supplies your cartridges and and print print accessories we dived into that and created.
00:51:40.290 --> 00:51:53.790 Steve Harrop: And that was one of my personal and creations with something called kfc kingfield fast track consumables so so we we actually in our own office supplies market went into a very, very low margin market.
00:51:54.810 --> 00:52:10.650 Steve Harrop: And created today that businesses where the fortune for a while and, as we know, became the biggest selling product group so and we did some innovative stuff in terms of products and prompt selections and brought those and that was different we had to had to distinguish ourselves.
00:52:12.150 --> 00:52:15.600 Graham Dobbin: what's the danger with all this approach and and with with.
00:52:16.950 --> 00:52:19.470 Graham Dobbin: here's a very British term stick your chin oh.
00:52:19.950 --> 00:52:25.500 Graham Dobbin: Yes, and kind of lead lead from the front, what do you think people may be miss understand the big Steve.
00:52:26.490 --> 00:52:26.910 o
00:52:29.430 --> 00:52:30.120 Steve Harrop: talk too much.
00:52:36.030 --> 00:52:47.700 Steve Harrop: i've always i've always liked it like like to be wear my heart, on my sleeve, so I, so I have been described very often has been incredibly overly passionate about stuff and I am.
00:52:48.480 --> 00:52:55.530 Steve Harrop: And I get incredibly passionate about customers not getting not getting stuff, but I think they misunderstand Why do it it's not the person again.
00:52:56.460 --> 00:53:08.400 Steve Harrop: it's because I genuinely want to make somebody happy and I get a massive massive uplift whenever we even if somebody wants to order it good example of this will be one, and this is this is.
00:53:09.810 --> 00:53:17.940 Steve Harrop: The difficulties posters, you can probably imagine but Christmas Day, I actually drove to our warehouse from leaves to shepherd, which is a journey of about an hour.
00:53:18.480 --> 00:53:25.080 Steve Harrop: picked up some goods in the warehouse got my warehouse manager to come out picked up also is a good to drive to hold.
00:53:25.620 --> 00:53:32.370 Steve Harrop: To deliver to our customers customer because they had a big stock to follow in there, and that was Christmas Day and.
00:53:33.120 --> 00:53:40.290 Steve Harrop: that's just the way that I feel you know he needed it that it would the company was called comments you probably remember them big.
00:53:40.950 --> 00:53:55.290 Steve Harrop: Multi national company, but we did that we kept that business because the dealer was just hanging on to that business small independent dealer and we kept that business for him for another three years on the back of that one one effort, I think so so.
00:53:56.430 --> 00:53:57.480 Steve Harrop: I think they they.
00:53:59.040 --> 00:54:11.160 Steve Harrop: They probably see somebody just just really is, you know bubbly effervescent and bouncy perhaps sometimes don't think that what i'm thinking behind it, but but i've always been a strategic thinker, I mean i'm and recognize that and.
00:54:12.300 --> 00:54:17.340 Graham Dobbin: come into play we've talked a lot we've talked everything about kind of what's happened a couple of minutes left.
00:54:17.430 --> 00:54:23.040 Graham Dobbin: is obviously just some kind of summarize foot receive a high street the all this project that you.
00:54:23.190 --> 00:54:24.480 Graham Dobbin: Know there's that pressure buttons.
00:54:25.080 --> 00:54:34.650 Steve Harrop: Right well well that's that's something that that kind of that just happened because of a somebody who lives in the flat bylaws and I was looking to get back into work and i've been out for two years.
00:54:35.130 --> 00:54:41.970 Steve Harrop: primarily through bereavement of my parents in a difficult circumstances and also core of it, and I wanted to get back into work.
00:54:42.360 --> 00:54:45.210 Steve Harrop: And this opportunity came up said, the high street.org.
00:54:45.660 --> 00:54:56.100 Steve Harrop: Very quickly, is about regenerating the high street for small independent shopkeepers, so the florists cycle shops, the kathy's the Convenience Stores everything and what we do.
00:54:56.490 --> 00:55:04.890 Steve Harrop: Is we provide them with a business support package, which we do two ways one is through the local councils we've had a lot of money invested by the British Government.
00:55:05.760 --> 00:55:15.720 Steve Harrop: To business regeneration and recuperation on the high street the other way we do it is individual subscribers Well, quite honestly, the vast majority what we do is through the.
00:55:16.170 --> 00:55:24.810 Steve Harrop: Funded schemes, through the council's where they'll invite 150 of the of the high street shops into Ealing in London or in.
00:55:25.290 --> 00:55:35.670 Steve Harrop: A place in Liverpool, we will then provide that that electronic platform that that web store that portal that provides all the information so.
00:55:36.180 --> 00:55:43.560 Steve Harrop: It floats my boat because i'm helping people i'm really getting stuck in there and we're delivering suppliers and services we're delivering.
00:55:43.950 --> 00:55:50.160 Steve Harrop: ideas to them, so the whole concept of self serve the high street satisfies that for me.
00:55:51.060 --> 00:56:01.860 Steve Harrop: But it's a techie startup so it's it's new it's couple young guys, who are really you know absorbed with it, which I really admire them doing that, but they talk in a language which is different to me.
00:56:02.730 --> 00:56:07.290 Steve Harrop: In terms of deliverables and terminals unbelievable and whatever balls.
00:56:07.740 --> 00:56:20.940 Steve Harrop: And I have to learn a lot rather quickly so, which is what i'm doing so it's a challenge and it's exciting because it's new and different, but there are days when I think I don't understand this, what we're doing, but I just fight through it like through it could be the.
00:56:21.360 --> 00:56:25.500 Graham Dobbin: We can hear the passion coming out and that's what's absolutely unique about you.
00:56:26.070 --> 00:56:36.090 Graham Dobbin: Thank you so much, and that's actually genuine when I saw you popping up in burlington just a few weeks ago thought right away good guy and you know that's all be good, a very big game changer.
00:56:36.570 --> 00:56:43.140 Graham Dobbin: Because everything was happening so differently Steve love to have you back on the show again at some point, I think.
00:56:43.470 --> 00:56:48.030 Graham Dobbin: You think we could fill another two or three hours you've been listening to the mind behind leadership we've had Steve had.
00:56:48.720 --> 00:57:06.570 Graham Dobbin: talked about his experience and his teams and we will be back next Monday evening at 5pm again on talk radio dot nyc Thank you to some live events for being our fantastic producer and keeping us all together behind the scenes enjoy the rest of your evening bye.