Livingbridge’s talent recruitment seminar on leadership: How to build high performing teams

We recently invited CEOs and Chairs from some of Britain’s best SMEs to hear from a line-up of expert speakers on cultivating and sustaining an executive team capable of transforming organisational performance.


Ruby Biring, who heads up our in-house talent team, began the seminar by discussing how to engineer a high functioning organisation through harnessing the right talent, processes and tools. Addressing the arsenal needed to build a world class organisation, Ruby provided insight on businesses which are demonstrating leadership best practice.

Leadership advisor and performance coach, Georgina Cavaliere, then spoke on aligning leadership to a business’ growth requirements. Focusing on the overriding principle that world-class leadership is designed specifically to meet the needs of one organisation and its employees, Georgina introduced a simple framework allowing business leaders to ensure their leadership development process is fit for purpose and suits their business’ culture. She also provided insight on leadership best practice specifically aimed at differentiating businesses operating in the UK’s crowded mid-market.

She was followed ghSMART’s Alan Foster, who spoke about the importance of building high performing teams, and what a talent acquisition strategy and process might look like to select the right team and avoid hiring mistakes.

Lorna Bains, Chief People Officer of Livingbridge investee disguise, followed this by a presentation of ‘The Collaborative Leader.’ Lorna discussed how to build a collaborative leadership model, and how it can create an inclusive environment to foster creativity and tenacity.

CEOs then heard from a panel of leadership experts on the question of ‘How do you create an enduring culture?’ Panellists Gareth Williams, ex-Chairman of YSC & CHRO of Diageo, Simon La Fosse, CEO of La Fosse Associates and Sean Cornwell, CEO of Livingbridge investee Direct Ferries talked about their experience of getting culture right and implementing it in a rapidly scaling business. Acknowledging that in practise these elements are notoriously difficult, the panel provided practical insights on what changes are needed for successful execution and how to evolve culture through transformation, such as internalisation and integration, so that it could be sustainable.

Finally, Graham Donoghue, CEO of Sykes Cottages, presented on creating a CEO strategy which incorporates driving corporate strategy, performance and accountability. Sykes grew from the humble roots of a kitchen table to become the UK’s leading independent agency taking 1.6m customers on holiday annually. Sykes is now one of the best-known travel brands in the UK, having won the British Travel Award for Best Large Holiday Cottage Booking Company for six consecutive years. Graham explained how his passion for business innovation led to his focus on building the digital platform at Sykes to produce quality, real-time data, allowing agility and responsiveness to supply and demand needs.

Graham discussed how he has used this passion to develop a performance culture across the business which focusses on core values of innovation and improvement. He shared how the senior team were able to feed this culture across the business to ensure that all interactions, both internally within the business and externally, resonate with these values.

Thank you to all those who attended the event, and a special thanks to the speakers who shared their powerful insights during the seminar. If you would be interested in registering for future events such as these please fill out this form.

If you’re a business owner and interested in attending similar events within our growth acceleration seminar series, please get in touch with

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