Following the successful completion of a business development course, Lee Steward, director of Morrison Freight discusses why investing in his own training is so important in the running of a successful business.

It’s important for directors to possess strong leadership skills to maximise the performance of their team. However, many directors believe in investing in their staff, but don’t invest in their personal development.

One of the most common reasons for employees to leave their job is because of a bad manager but employees are more likely to succeed if the business is managed correctly. Staff turnover in our industry is already high, so retaining our existing staff and positioning ourselves as a great company to work for is extremely important to us.

As directors, we should strive to set an example. Success breeds success and so in order to motivate our employees, we need to show that we are actively investing in our own career to improve the way the business is managed and operated.

We also like to share what we learn with our staff. In 2014 we recruited two apprentices to do an NVQ in international trade and logistics – the same course that Darren studied age 16. Darren personally mentored the pair, leading by example and giving them an understanding of real career progression.

Our training

Darren and I became directors of Morrison Freight in 2015 as part of a management buyout and the last four years have been a massive learning curve for us. We knew that in order to grow the business, we had to invest in our own training to develop our management skills and learn more about our roles as directors. This also meant that we had to take a step back from working in the business to focus on running it.

Our immediate training consisted of both finance and business strategy, as well as courses by both the FTA and BIFA for freight, Customs and ADR related matters. Darren is also a Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor and he was awarded his Transport Manager CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) in 2017.

To further our skills, in April this year we successfully completed the Business Growth Programme run by Cranfield University. It was a six-month course made up of four two-day modules which we had to attend the university to complete. The course is designed to help directors/owners of privately-owned companies develop a growth strategy for their business.

We have also had to invest heavily in training to prepare for Brexit. Over the last two years the team have taken part in external training in customer service, sales and marketing as well as ADH (dangerous goods awareness) and customs formalities and procedures.

In business – you get out what you put in. This is why we will continue to invest in learning opportunities for everyone in the company to develop.

Darren and I are still very much learning in our roles. We work in an industry that is continuously changing and with new developments such as Brexit, it is important that we are constantly refreshing our skills to improve the way we run our business and to be ahead of our competitors.


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