Naked Leader Conference Hits Right Notes (part two)

Naked Leader Conference 2014
Naked Leader Conference 2014

NEVER mind the X Factor, it was the ‘wow’ factor which delegates went away with from Naked Leader’s Conference 2014. With the theme ‘Leadership that Makes and Saves You Money’ the high-powered leaders sharing how-tos included James Eder, Stuart Mustoe and Alan Hughes.

James is Founder and Head of New Business at The Beans Group, formerly Studentbeans, formed in 2005, three years after he started a business degree at the University of Birmingham.

He spoke of the impact of social media. ‘Is it fun or funds and actually does it really make a difference within organisations?’ he says.

‘And what is the real impact? There is hype around social media and what I shared was all about being social by design. A lot of people feel they need to be on social media, they need to be out there, without thinking whether they are adding value.

‘Why do people want to share your marketing, your product, your service? Why should people get excited about what you are sharing? If you get those things right in the first place then the social media is the easy bit.

‘Are people excited about it and is there the buzz? Social media is just a new way we can share it more easily.’

James took on the Naked Leader mantra when beginning his business venture to help students – ‘what would you do, where would you go, who would you be if you couldn’t fail?’

He adds: ‘I thought if I wasn’t going to fail, it had to work.’

James tweeted after the conference: ‘Thanx @thenakedleader a fantastic day all around – so grateful you responded to that email 11 yes ago! Gr8 2 have you part of the story.’

Stuart, Finance Director of TrustFord, is adept at steering his company in the right direction.

He has applied the principles in his role and the letters C and P are high on his agenda.

Firstly, he has created the three Cs, namely Cash, Control and Consistency while his three Ps are People, Passion and Planning.

He believes that people, as the most important asset in the organisation, should be on the balance sheet while passion to be the very best you can be is key. In addition, all the best-laid projects are delivered with great planning.

Stuart, who also advocates Training and Succession Planning, shared with delegates his tips for heading up a finance team, under the title ‘Put your Mouth where your Money is’.

He insists: ‘Finance have the answers – the key is to get your operational management to listen.

‘Also invest in the people. They will pay you back over time, while it is important to keep it simple and stay focused on the outcome while delivering with enthusiasm and passion.’

For Alan Hughes, read The First Direct Story.

Just one look at Alan’s management profile confirms he has made a seismic impact on the world of banking.

As chief executive of the UK banking giant his is a story worth listening to as he trebled its size and made it profitable whilst increasing its lead as the UK’s most recommended bank, while taking it online.

So what tips for being a successful leader did he share in London?

They can be summed up in a single word – confidence.

‘If you are truly leading, by definition you are doing something that others are not doing,’ he says. ‘What that requires is confidence. Not arrogance and not necessarily being opinionated. Just confidence and self assurance and the belief that what you are trying to implement is appropriate and the right thing to do.

‘Yes, a customer will want to know aspects of a product such as price, but what they really want is to feel confident.

‘When you phone First Direct you can hear the confidence in the person you are speaking to. They aren’t reading from a script, it is their own initiative and they believe in what they are saying and that shines through.

‘Leadership is the confidence to go somewhere different and to instil that in people. It is also the confidence you inspire in others that makes the difference.’

So, your future – what are you doing about it? Will you take it, lead it? If so why not book yourself on next year’s Naked Leader Conference scheduled for Thursday 15 October 2015?

If you are serious about leadership, can you afford not to?


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