‘Magic’ people are needed, firms told

Giving advice: Nick Butler, chief executive of Connect Gazelles; Paul Walker, former chief executive of the Sage Group; Lord Kirkham, founder of South Yorkshire-based DFS; and Martin Penny, co-founder of ghd (Good Hair Day), at the Connect Gazelles summit.
Giving advice: Nick Butler, chief executive of Connect Gazelles; Paul Walker, former chief executive of the Sage Group; Lord Kirkham, founder of South Yorkshire-based DFS; and Martin Penny, co-founder of ghd (Good Hair Day), at the Connect Gazelles summit.
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Yorkshire’s fastest growing small and medium sized firms have been urged to hire “magic” people who fit in with their companies’ aims and cultures.

That was the advice to more than 200 delegates from leading SMEs attending the inaugural summit, organised by Connect Gazelles, the business support group set up by funding specialist Connect Gazelles and run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.

Delegates from the organisation’s South and West Yorkshire branches heard from Lord Kirkham, founder of Doncaster-based furniture group DFS, former Sage accountancy software group chief Paul Walker and Martin Penny who co-founded international hair care brand Good Hair Day (Ghd).

Lord Kirkham told delegates: “There are no magic beans or magic formulas, but there are magic people; it is a giant mistake for companies not to recognise the need for good people.”

Meanwhile, Paul Walker explained how Sage recruited people who would fit in at the company and had the right attitude, and not just on the content of their CVs.

“It’s vital to hire for fit, not for purpose; I guarantee that choosing those who fit best will perform the best,” said Mr Walker, who urged entrepreneurs to share responsibility with their staff.

“To keep the entrepreneurial spirit we developed a highly decentralised business with planning, strategy and decision making done in the regions – it kept people focused and empowered,” he said.

Meanwhile, Martin Penny called on companies to recognise that most people came to work wanting to do a good job and craved thanks and feedback on how well they were doing.

Nick Butler chief executive of Connect Gazelles, said the feedback from members of Connect Gazelles had been “incredible”.

“We are delighted that our first summit has been such a resounding success and we look forward to providing these types of initiatives to help support Yorkshire business and help in their quest for growth,” said Mr Butler.