Before I write about Leighton, let me tell you about a strange situation I found myself in recently. Last week I found myself being introduced to a room of entrepreneurs and start-ups at Newcastle Start Up Week as the CEO of Leighton a business who celebrated our 25th birthday last year! What on earth was I going to talk to them about?!?

The room went quiet, I went quiet… and then I shared with them the most important lesson I have learnt both professionally and personally over the last 25 years. Surround yourself with the very best people you can! Why?

  • The best people "fit" with your values – therefore you'll enjoy being with them and you can easily do different things together
  • The best people hold you and those around you to account – therefore you achieve more
  • The best people bring alternative opinions, experience and perspective – therefore you make better decisions
  • The best people don’t need to be managed – providing them with coaching and direction is enough for them to achieve more than you ever could
  • The best people work as a trusting team – therefore someone’s always there to support you and find a solution
  • The best people are passionate about what they do – therefore you have more fun and enjoyment along the way

I recently re-joined Leighton as CEO (I spent the early years of my career here before co-founding Communicator) and in many ways I feel I have joined a 25-year-old start up! I know that 25-year-old start-ups don’t exist, but the point is, I have inherited a completely blank canvas. Given I had the luxury of being able to do anything I wanted, what did I choose to do first? Before choosing how we were going to be successful or indeed where we were going, I wanted to get the right people to go on the journey with me.

To help us on our journey, we put together a Senior Leadership Team with Claire Cundill joining as Head of Commercial ensuring we have years of digital experience to guide and inform our customers. Paula Jones has joined the team as Head of People to ensure we put our #AmazingPeople at the heart of our decision making process and Rob Cutler, was a customer and liked what he saw so much he joined us as Head of Finance.

All in all, over the last 6 months we've added 30 people to the Leighton family to help us and our customers go on a journey of digital evolution together. We've collectively come up with a set of values that guide the way that we want to make a difference together:

  • We act with honesty and truth, always!
  • We nurture our amazing people to be the best version of themselves
  • We are passionate about what we do, proud of what we achieve
  • We are a canny family who really care, in a geeky, crazy, fun kind of way
  • Our curiosity inspires the amazing

By the way we still need loads more people to join us on our journey so if you want to make a difference and believe in the values above, please do get in touch.

Now that we've got more of the right people in the family I can start to turn my attention to making sure those people are in the right seats for what promises to be an exciting journey ahead and indeed working out where we are going to go together.

Anyway, I best get on with congratulating the team on being listed in Prolific North’s Top 50 Digital Agencies for 2018. The rankings, put together by the website Prolific North in conjunction with Mustard Research, looks at the financial performance and growth of more than 150 digital agencies that are based in the north and specialise in digital, web development, SEO, social media, mobile and ecommerce. The analysis considers factors such as turnover, balance sheet and growth over the past two years.

As has appeared to have been the case for several years Yorkshire agencies dominate the top 10, with only 7 firms from the “North” of the region making the top 50. Whatever destination myself and the Leighton family decide to go to we will certainly be focusing on making a difference to our customers, but I hope a bi-product for the Leighton team is breaking in to the Prolific north top 10.