I’ve always enjoyed cars – especially sports cars – and when I joined Porsche in my 20s it was the fulfilment of a long-held dream.  That’s now a fond memory, but I’ve followed my passion and I am now fortunate to work with the first class team at Radical Motorsport, the world’s largest manufacturer of racing cars.

From its launch in 1997 I’ve watched Radical grow through designing and developing market leading sports cars for the track and, occasionally, for the road. The company uses their proven approach employing technology borrowed from superbikes, which is re-engineered to create lightweight, high speed, racing cars.

In 2021 I joined the business as a non-executive director, taking on the Chairman’s role in 2022.  Since then, it has been an exciting journey supporting the company’s growth and expansion, developing new models each year and building a worldwide network of dealers. The Radical Cup Championship now runs in North America, UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Oceania and is one of the world’s most successful single marque race series.

When I’m speaking at conferences, I’m often asked ‘what is the secret of success?’ My short answer is usually 2 words – hard work!  My longer answer is a commitment to a vision of success, a coordinated and prioritised action plan, understood by the entire team, and a culture of trust and determination where each team member understands how they make a positive difference – all underpinned by hard work!

Working with the team at Radical my first responsibility as chairman of the board is to ensure the relationship with investors and shareholders is positive and aligned with the vision of success that the management team have defined for the business. When the strategy is clear and alignment is established, the commitment is made. At that point the CEO and management team are charged with the responsibility to deliver the vision. This requires the entire team to connect with the goal by working together to develop the operational plan for its delivery.

This is the curve where sometimes companies run off the track.  You will achieve a positive financial result if you deliver to your clients the product or service they desire in an efficient and economic manner.  If dealing with your company is enjoyable, clients will return for more.  Conversely it does not follow that you will excite your clients because you make a healthy profit (ask any bank!)  The focus of the implementation plan must be the delivery of a world class level of customer satisfaction.  Profit is the score, not the game.

Once the operational plan is developed and activities prioritised, team culture becomes the defining factor of businesses success.  Creating that culture requires clarity of mission, strength of leadership and honesty of communication.  A world class level of performance is dependent on the engagement of every single member of the team.  There is no such person as an ‘only-a’: ‘he’s only a tyre fitter’, ‘she’s only a sales manager’.  Every role is critical (or else why is it there).  Every person must be trusted, given authority and held accountable for delivery.  In my experience, people will amaze themselves and others with what they can deliver if they are clear in their role and trusted to get on with it.

Radical is a specialist business.  We’re not in the business of churning out thousands of cars.  In fact, in our 25 years only 2,800 cars were produced – but we’re talking about high performance, finely tuned engineering.  One of the key factors in Radical’s success is that anyone can drive one of these exciting cars.  There are regular track and experience days where clients can have fun and share their passion.  A lesson I learned back in my days at Porsche is that it’s important that the people who build and sell the cars know exactly what it’s like to drive one.  That visceral experience is impossible to explain – only when you’ve been there and done it can you really understand it. That’s why we work very hard to get our team as close to the action as possible.

I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to drive the Radical models.  How would I describe it?  A total adrenaline rush, complete concentration, terrifying, exciting and a massive awareness of the power in your hands.  This level of excitement in the team is key to the growth and development of Radical.

For me, it’s important that such a level of excitement and energy runs through each business that I am involved with.  If we can make it fun, agile and powerful then we are winning.  In the case of Radical it’s a bonus that I’m working in an industry that has always been close to my heart.

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