We all need role models in life. Sometimes they will be friends or relatives but more often than not they are bosses or colleagues at pivotal points in our development. As well as personal role models, there are a few people that really make an impact on the sector as a whole.
The recent loss of Nucleus chairman and Skandia founder Paul Bradshaw made me reflect on the fact there have been few people at his level that have genuinely delivered change and stood true to their principles while doing so.
If we asked people to list the leaders in our sector, I suspect noise would overcome any real contribution. After all, the Pied Piper was a leader. The problem there was that he led them to their death.
I had occasion to negotiate with Paul during his time at Abbey just over 10 years ago when a senior member of its executive team had failed to deliver.
I had proved beyond doubt that its promises contained no caveats. On taking my complaint to the next level, the senior member I was dealing with took a step to one side, leaving a junior member of staff to take the flak.
Paul dismissed the original member’s reasons for avoiding me and gave him some home truths about business integrity. We settled the claim on a fair basis.
Paul’s approach was in stark contrast to that of chief executives at several other providers, with whom we have had many bad experiences.
Such experiences are further evidence that the Pied Piper approach is alive and well, leading a sizeable part of the sector to oblivion. We simply do not need people devoid of integrity running companies that the public entrust their hard-earned savings to.
We need more people like Paul if this sector is to be accepted as a profession. Perhaps it is time we started mentoring talent to develop more people in his image.
I will miss Paul. I will especially miss his ability to see another’s perspective and treat it with dignity. Reading the comments attached to some of the controversial stories and opinion pieces in Money Marketing just goes to show how rare that is.
I have had three role models that really made a difference to my development. Sadly, the first two have passed away. My first manager at Sun Life, Bob, would take me through what worked and what did not. A fellow sales consultant, Ron, took me under his wing and showed me the virtues of the can- do attitude.
And last but not least, Kevin, a man with great integrity who shared credit when he did not have to (a rare quality in sales).
All these men had one thing in common: they recognised the value of another’s perspective. And the sooner we all do that the better. My condolences go to Sheila and their family.
Robert Reid is director at The Ideas Lab