About mr alex

[Eagle]  a symbol of strength, keen vision, perseverance, commitment, and courage.

Eagles are a rare species that possess the ability to overcome obstacles and soar above everyday life.

From Milk Delivery Boy to Chairman and CEO 

I started working as a Milk Delivery Boy aged 13, left school at 15 and had led a Union Strike by the time I was 21. I enjoyed work, whereas school always seemed to be something that others enjoyed. I was able to reach the dizzy height of CEO (UK) of a Fortune 500 Company, without much further education.

I quickly realised that I learnt better by doing things in the practical world of working for a living. I learnt to love the world of business, whether it was winning an order, or putting in a productive shift in a factory. I really get a buzz out of business; it's an ever-changing environment, with never-ending opportunities and provides challenges just waiting to be overcome!

 

I guess my Scottish 'BraveHeart' heritage made it impossible for me not to stick my head above the parapet to see where all the action was. Of course, just being brave will not get you far in business if you don't have other skills.  So, one morning in the summer of '72, in the coastal city of East London, South Africa, following a comment from a workmate friend 'Commander' Dennis Bennet "that if I really wanted to I could become a Leader", I made up my mind there and then - that's exactly what I would enjoy being - a Leader.

 

I realised that being a Printing machine minder alone would not qualify me to become a Leader, and although academia wasn't for me - learning was! I decided to seek out and soak up whatever knowledge I could glean from others. I spent every waking hour learning how a factory works. Within months I was being 'noticed', and I was called to the Managing Director's office. The company had just purchased a business in Johannesburg and he wanted me to help him sort it out. So, aged 27, I headed for my first business turnaround.

 

That first management role gave me the opportunity I needed to learn further about managing people. My Leadership journey continued in Africa and good fortune eventually found me working for the World's Largest Commercial Printing Company, RR Donnelley, enabling me to step-up from managing medium-size businesses to a 50,000 plus Fortune 500 company. 

 

Nobody should underestimate how personally challenging it is being a Senior Executive of a large Global Corporation. It was even more difficult for me, as I found myself surrounded by high-quality Leaders with impressive academic and business qualifications. However, what I lacked in qualifications, I made up for with hard work, commitment and an ability to be creative when solving problems.  This creative streak was accompanied with a healthy disregard for bureaucracy and an innate dislike for being prescribed to rather than being asked to do something.    

 

My Leadership journey continued with more Chief Executive roles in Poland and Hungary where I was successful even though I speak no other language than English. I found out that Leaders are not judged by their linguistic skills, but rather by whether they will deliver what they promise. 

 

I recently wrote my memoir called it does matter’, detailing incredible stories of the business successes and failures I experienced over the decades. I believe that Leadership comes to those who learn and know their market and business well.  My book reveals an honest, open and frank account of life moving along the bumpy road to success, and makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in learning how someone got to the top by taking the road less travelled. 

 

My passion now is to help high potential people learn how to overcome business challenges quickly and decisively - through Leadership.

My wife, Jennifer and I live on the sunshine island of Cyprus and when not Writing or Mentoring I enjoy renovating our 19th century Cyprus homes, leading and watching the skilled local Cypriot tradespeople! 

Leadership is not for everyone

It requires courage, sacrifice, focus and persistence 

Most of all it is about learning and doing!

Note:

In Cyprus, adults are known by their first name; hence they call me  'mr alex' 

Factories and People
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