mr alex says...
A Leader's Story
Disillusioned by School, a Milk Delivery Boy when I was 13, an Apprentice Printer aged 15, and led a Union Strike by the time I was 21. I emigrated to South Africa and experienced my first business turnaround, aged 27, after having to select and fire 150 people I had never known. After that, I held no fear of challenges in business. I also got the fright of my life when I tried to be a little too big for my shoes; thankfully, I met a Leader who, in two minutes flat, transformed me from Union Leader/Troublemaker onto a different track that led me to become a Business Leader.
I gained first-hand training for Leadership as a deputy to a genuinely great Industry Leader. I stood on his shoulders as he transformed a state-owned (unionised) business into a highly profitable enterprise - in just two years. I led the fight and won, securing a £700m long-term contract. We won by ignoring existing management's advice and working directly with supervisors and employees. Together, we collapsed queuing and waiting time, eliminated waste, and invested our time to create an industry-leading customer service culture.
When my Fortune 500 Corporation refused to honour a multi-year manufacturing contract with a global player - to build a dedicated near-site fulfilment centre (as designated in the agreement). I borrowed a friend's warehouse, had him hire 100 temporary employees onto his payroll - and created the world's first 'Virtual Factory' - within three weeks! When the Chairman discovered what I had done - he promoted me to CEO (UK)! The world's 'First Virtual Business' became a reality and resulted in over 600 permanent additional jobs created in the UK and USA.
I led the UK arm of a Global Software Documentation business that grew from Nil to $ 1.2 billion in sales in just seven years. I was selected as one of Europe's 'Top 20 European Market Makers' by Computer Reseller News in recognition of leading the global launch of the IBM PC Company's first-ever PC clone (Ambra). I executed the first-ever product fulfilment system, which delivered Just-In-Time Language Translation Packs to their assembly within four hours of an order. I was honoured to receive the Fortune 500 Corporation's 'Global Salesperson of the Year Award' and voted Top UK Business Person (UK Trade Magazine).
Disillusioned with Corporate politics and business culture of myopic decision-making when the Group HR guy (and latest Corporate Seagull) declared at our first meeting - "the days when Alex Walker could do what he wanted to do, are over". My reply was to make a cash offer to buy the UK business; I secured the backing of one of the world's leading Venture Capital firms. He was upset to consider my request - so I negotiated my exit and left!
A Private Equity firm approached me to lead their underperforming investment in Poland. I moved to Poland (I don't speak Polish), became President and CEO, ramped up export sales and introduced a more open Leadership and collaborative style. I focussed the new management team on getting more out of less - including all employees. We successfully sold the investment to a trade buyer within three years.
I wrote my autobiography, 'it does matter', and created this website, mralexonline.com - I called it mr alex because that is what they call me here on the sunshine island of Cyprus! The purpose of my book and this website is to help create better, more effective Leaders. My Mentoring work, which I enjoy, helps high-potential people become Leaders. I mentor executives in the Aviation, Software, Medical Devices, Manufacturing and Retail Sectors. These businesses have become high-growth, successful, diversified, online, profitable, and cash-rich. I help Leaders focus and develop their skills and knowledge by encouraging them to Learn, Listen and Do! If you are looking for a Mentor, get in touch - we might make your great team of two!
"Pick the best Suppliers, give them a hard time
- but remember to build their trust."
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"I found it a fascinating read, especially some of your earlier history.
I think the combination of autobiography and business lessons works well
and the 'it does matter' concept pulls it all together.
All in all, easy to read and easy to follow, I felt there were a lot of practical lessons that business Leaders could put into practice."
images below are from my book 'it does matter'