I had an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday which made me review the highs and lows of my career (you need to do something on a three hour train journey) and question some of my career moves. Up until the end of my time with SSP my career was on an upward trajectory, with lots of promotions to bigger roles working with blue chip brands. My decision to go to Egypt on the face of it was a bit of a disaster, the money was fantastic and I loved the country but trying to run a business in the middle of an uprising wasn’t easy. Still, I learnt a huge amount about leadership and had some unforgettable experiences.
My next role was BHS, it was a huge (some would say impossible task) but I’m always up for a challenge and once again I learnt a considerable amount and worked with some fantastic people. Ultimately I feel that my team improved the business but certainly didn’t turn it around, I did play my part in passing the business into the safe hands of Compass before departing for a short stint in Kuwait. I was long gone when BHS finally folded.
Then there was Vital, mistakes were made that’s true enough, however we did manage to attract a large investment from PE backers and were able to make the shareholders quite a lot of money. The business expanded and for a while flourished before a combination of cost pressures and a legacy of mediocre locations brought it to its knees.
I cannot quite say “je ne regret rien” but on the other hand it wasn’t all bad either.
I firmly believe that the bad times teach you more than the good times and that I am am more rounded business leader because of my experiences.