Martin McCourt has spent over 35 years working at the heart of British-based manufacturing, design and marketing for quality brands such as Dyson, Mars, Duracell, Toshiba and Pelikan.
Martin was the CEO of Dyson for 15 years, the ideas to market-leading consumer products maker. As CEO, he devised and implemented a strategy that transformed the company from a single product, single market producer into one where 80% of the business comes from 52 markets around the world.
In that time he increased UK skilled jobs, grew profits tenfold and enabled James Dyson to keep on inventing. In 2011 Dyson hit £1bn revenue for the first time. Martin was directly responsible for the establishment of Dyson subsidiaries in the USA, Japan, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. In total he took Dyson into over 50 markets, achieving market leadership in the majority including the USA.
Martin's previous experience was in sales and marketing with successful global companies Mars, Duracell, Toshiba and Pelikan. In 2010 Martin was named Orange Business Leader of the Year.
Martin joined the private equity firm Montagu as a Director, in March 2012. He is currently Chairman of CliniSys Group (CliniSys) and D.O.R.C Dutch Ophthalmic Research Center. In addition to his Chairmanships Martin advises Montagu's investment teams on its acquisitions.
Innovation is a Way of Being
Most businesses will say that they wish to be innovative, and that they wish their people would be more creative. Easy to say, much harder to do. So much gets in the way. Meetings, action points, past experience and prejudice, workloads that exceed time available, poor setting of priorities ...inept leadership.
This is where it all starts and some businesses are great at establishing a strong flow of ideas and others struggle to do so. If the start point is that there is really no such thing as a bad idea and if the environment is conducive to idea stimulation then it will happen. In a product or technology environment the idea generators need stimulation from within and externally. Ideas should be celebrated regardless of whether they are progressed. Wrong thinking should be encouraged.
Failing to have an effective approach to generating ideas is the equivalent of opening the door for your competitors to walk in and take what they fancy!
It is great to track vertical growth and to watch the dollars rolling in, but success is rarely easy. It is exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. Phenomenal success requires excellent planning and bang on execution, falling short will not get you there. Keeping everyone focused on the big goal, being constantly clear about what you are doing and why, preserving belief at all levels within the organisation. This requires a relentless commitment to communication, making sure that everyone hears the same message and cancelling out dissenting voices.
The easy road is the one that leads nowhere. Competitors will leave you alone if you are not having impact and if you don't disappear as a direct result of your own failed endeavours then they will eventually snuff you out, somehow. But if you are making gains, they will sit up and take note of you. Even if the gains you make are not at their expense they will want to impede your progress and replicate it for themselves. These are the bumps in the road that successful businesses must become accomplished at dealing with. How can apparent adverse actions from competitors be turned to our advantage?
Doing the right thing is not always easy although an organisation that is prepared to square up and make the difficult calls ought to prosper in the end, if the action is the right one for the organisation even if it carries a high level of associated pain. If big decisions are good for the future of the business but bring poor PR then the challenge is for the management team to decide how best to weather the storm rather than to set an alternative course.
Who Are We?
Deciding the answer to this question and expressing it by explaining what is different about you, what do you value, what do you wish to be known for... this is key to preserving that identity. Live the differences that you define you have, in everything. Internal and external communication, everything. Constantly remind everyone around you 'who you are' without appearing to do so. Make it your identity, your business passport.
When things don't work out, react swiftly and effectively. Accept the setback and do not waste precious resources trying to revive a lost cause. It is a signal of strength to customers, employees and competitors when you do this.
We booked Martin McCourt to talk at a Client's internal marketing conference and he was quite simply brilliant. He has an engaging style that finds the perfect balance between being both relaxed and professional. He had the audience's attention from the off and used a mix of media throughout his presentation to keep them interested and amused throughout. The feedback from the audience was excellent, with most citing his speech as a highlight of their 2-day conference. Personally, I found his professional approach refreshing - simple things like being early, relaxed and flexible meant that I had one less thing to worry about on the day. I would most definitely recommend Martin and would be more than happy to use him at future events.
Probably the best feedback we have had to date.
Martin McCourt came across very well and in informal conversations I had with many people afterwards, they volunteered that Martin's presentation was one of the highlights. He was informative, engaging and came across well, including some quite good (witty!) responses to some of the questions.
I think I speak on behalf of all the team here at Deloitte and our guests when I say that Martin McCourt was absolutely outstanding – entertaining, inspiring, engaging, humorous – really just everything we were looking for. He made the event special and everyone was talking about him throughout the evening.
I would like to say thank you for coming along to our first Fast Growth Network event on Tuesday and lighting up the event with your stories and advice for fast growing businesses. All the feedback we have received has been unequivocally positive about the event and your contribution to it. Our objective was to choose a first class venue and have a first class speaker to kick off the network and our expectations were exceeded. Our challenge now is to try to get close to it again with our second event!
Martin McCourt has a warm and engaging style that conveys strong, clear business messages. It's not easy to grow a company, especially when based on the work of an entrepreneurial inventor and Martin embodies the dedication and perseverance that is needed. To generate a culture where ideas are welcome with that backdrop is inspiring.
In short Martin McCourt is one of the best after dinner speakers we have had in 17 years. His storytelling gave our guests the 'take home' nuggets of advice and inspiration that any good business speaker must provide. He had us all laughing at his turn of phrase and self-deprecating insights.
Martin McCourt was stimulating, funny, thought provoking and challenging. His Dyson story is a great one but what really shone was the manner in which he bridged between his experiences at Dyson and the world of BDO. He worked hard to make the connections and had clearly done a significant amount of 'homework'. Martin was also superb during the 30 min Q&A which followed his speech, answering each question fully. The standout for me however was the ease of working with Martin and the thoroughly enjoyable nature of our interactions. I'd love to work with Martin again.
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