Developing Confident Leaders in an IT Company

Better IT was first established in 2006 when founder Dave Nicholls, soon learned the importance of having the right team in place to help the business grow. As a service-based organisation, the people employed within the company are crucial in providing the premium solutions and customer service Better IT prides itself on.

When recruiting team members, Better IT uses psychological testing to not only ensure a candidate is the right fit for the role, but also to help team members understand more about each other. The strengths, skills and communication preferences of each employee are used to create a cohesive and effective work environment. The organisation sees hiring the right person as the priority. Once in post, the team can then support an employee in developing any new skills they may need.

A people centric business

It was these people-centric values that led Alex Nicol to enrol on the Small Business Leadership programme (SBLP). Having been identified as someone who could play a larger role within the organisation, Alex decided to learn more about what it takes to become a good leader, so that he could lead the team to the best of his ability. “I saw myself as someone who could create and find efficiencies, but not necessarily as a leader. The programme enabled me to see that this was just a mental wall I had built up, and it really helped me to identify the characteristics I already have that will help make me a good leader.”

The peer networks that are part of the SBLP, allowed Alex to understand a previous belief that had held him back from believing he could be a leader, was in fact a misconception. “Before the course, I believed a leader was someone who had all of the answers. The peer group sessions allowed me to have honest and open discussions with others on the programme and I learned that no-one has all the answers. It’s the ability to ask for help, that makes an effective leader.”

Student reading book

Cultivating self-belief

“I saw myself as someone who could create and find efficiencies, but not necessarily as a leader. The programme enabled me to see that this was just a mental wall I had built up, and it really helped me to identify the characteristics I already have that will help make me a good leader.”

The programme also helped Alex to further explore his own leadership strengths. He particularly enjoyed learning more about branding and customer satisfaction which fits well with his recent promotion to the role of Service Delivery Manager. Alex attended the programme alongside his colleague Paul, which they found to be a useful experience. “We have been able to identify how we will use our individual skill sets to lead Better IT in the future. I’ll use my ability to see from the customers perspective to create the vision and brand for the organisation, whilst Paul’s ability to implement effective processes will see him lead on the operations and efficiencies.”

Tutors with extensive business experience

Alex found the balance of learning to peer group discussion to be particularly useful. He enjoyed learning from an academic team who had their own experience of running a business and hearing how the theory could be practically applied. “Their experience is evident in the way tutors are able to coach participants on the course. They understand which questions to ask so that we are able to develop our own solutions.” The programme is already helping to create an impact within Better IT.

“I learned the importance of reducing costs wherever possible, which has prompted us to change our business software provider. This change alone could save the business thousands of pounds a month, whilst still providing us with the same level of service we require."

“The customer service module also helped me to understand the importance of examining our processes, so I’ll be working to ensure these are as efficient and effective as they can be.”

Better IT is clearly a business that’s going places, and the course has given Alex confidence in the future direction of the company. “We’re planning on recruiting two new members of staff so that we can continue to grow and provide our customers with the best possible experience. We don’t try to serve everyone; we know who we can help and who we can’t. This clear sense of direction is helping us to attract the right clients and really establish our place within the market.”

For further information or to discuss working with us, please contact our Business Enquiry Team on +44 (0)800 001 5500 or businessgateway@derby.ac.uk