Craig Cameron, CEO of Progility PLC, on leadership, success, and business
Part 5 of the ChangeMaker Interview Series - Empower Change
Craig Cameron, CEO of Progility PLC, is a successful international businessman, inspiring, enthusiastic and humble – a true leader and ChangeMaker. We had the privilege of interviewing him about what made him successful, and what advice he has for other business owners.
“What I really enjoy doing is learning every day, helping people learn and having fun.”
Craig got into business after graduating and getting married. “I had to get a job, so I took the first job I could find.” Craig continues to say, “I found with business, its fun and you have to treat it as fun, and I enjoy going to work every day – well almost every day.” He says, “If you don’t enjoy going to work, you need to do something else.”
“When work gets a bit challenging, treat it like a game, don’t let it get personal. This doesn’t mean you don’t treat it seriously, but you remove as much of the emotion out of it, which lets you get through, fix the problems, get on with life and enjoy it at the same time.”
What is the most important thing you’ve learned about leadership?
“Trust in your team, communicate, engage others, and make sure your team is strong and capable.”
What are 3 things that improve your performance and the performance of your team?
- Consistent Vision and Goals
- Have a Business Plan
“As a leader in business, you set the benchmark for performance.”
What are the 4 most important areas to focus on in business?
- Leadership - The leader sets the performance benchmark
What has been your biggest challenge in life and the lesson you learned from it?
“At the beginning I was in a senior role at quite a young age and didn’t have any experience in being a good manager. I wasn’t good at listening or engageing. Once this was not-so-subtly pointed out to me, I applied myself to fixing and addressing that and it has become a strength, not weakness.”
“You want to have a strong and capable team with you.”
Craig’s 3 tips to turn your business dream into a reality:
- Before doing anything, talk to lots of people about your idea – anyone and everyone. Flush out your ideas before investing too much capital.
- Build a plan. Get that plan solid, not necessarily super detailed because things in business can change so fast.
- Make sure you’re not going to run into serious cash flow problems. Build your plan conservatively.
What advice would you give to someone that has their business going and have built decent cash flow, but have run into problems?
“Every business runs into problems, whether they are large or small. It’s how you deal with those problems that’s important. Look for help while dealing with those problems. When you have a real crisis, have the courage to take some action, and be prepared to change that action if it doesn’t work out.”
What are the 3 most common mistakes in business?
- They change the goals too much and too fast – It’s Confusing.
- They don’t build a plan that says, “here is how I am going to execute”.
- They don’t engage the people inside of the business well enough.
“If you do all of these things, you have a reasonable chance of success.”
How important is a business plan to you, and how often do you review it?
“Firstly, the single most important thing is the vision and goals. This need to be clearly articulated before any business planning is done. This should be looked at every year or two.”
“The financial plan is typically looked at annually. In a very high growth and dynamic business, you might want to look at it more often, but you don’t want to spend so much time planning and not enough time executing.”
Craig’s tips for your business:
- 1.Set shareholder and board expectations low. If you overachieve – life is easy. Don’t over-commit.
- 2.Communicate, communicate, communicate – with everyone in the business, including shareholders and the board. Have them understand when there is good news and when there is bad news.
“Every single business owner is running the risk that in the next ten to twenty years, whatever their doing could be obsolete. They have to stay on top of what’s happening in their industry and what’s happening in similar industries.”
If you were to coach a CEO or person in leadership, how would you suggest they approach that to keep on top of this?
“Network. You have to talk to people – in your industry, in other industries, customers, suppliers, even your competitors.”
Want to find out more? Click here to watch the full inspiring interview with Craig Cameron, or click on the video below.