Twelve Months On But Many Years Wiser 

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Twelve Months On But Many Years Wiser 

Chris Howard, Commercial Director at BearingNet, tells us all about the changes at the company since Peter’s departure. 

People are often afraid of change, and to be entirely honest I am no different. We quickly become accustomed to what is our ‘normal’ and when there is a risk of that changing it can be scary. 

When Peter announced he was ready to take a step back from the day to day running of BearingNet, that uncomfortable feeling was definitely there. For Nicola and I, since our university placements at BearingNet, he has always been the safety blanket. The voice of reason, the one who had all the answers through the years of training he gave us. How would we cope without him? Who would we ask the questions to now? Who would have the final say on decisions? 

12 months on, and the answers to all these questions were answered… we would! 

Subtly, over many years of training, Peter had already begun that transition process in his own head, unbeknown to any of us. He had gradually been equipping us with the knowledge, the self-belief and the ability to know what to do in any situation. Without realising it, we were already making those difficult decisions and asking him had become a formality to reassure us that we were doing the right things the right way. 

Our new look management team with Nicola at the helm as Managing Director has bonded really nicely. We’ve got a great mix of experience and youth (well a few of us are hanging on to the term youth anyway!) and have further strengthened the team with the recent addition of Tom Irving who brings a wealth of technical experience to the table.

“Just because that’s the way we’ve done it for the past 25 years, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way” is one such comment I remember Peter making. So we thought we’d tweak a few things (nothing major) here and there. The next comment was “We don’t do it like that”. I imagine this is a classic problem when changes in management occur, especially when companies have had the luxury of such a key linchpin for so many years. We soon adapted and found a way to make the transition process as smooth as possible and after the initial teething problems, we’ve gone from strength to strength! (by Peter’s own admission).

One of the things we thought we’d struggle with is the new ideas – Peter was always great at coming up with them and it helped give the company direction from week to week, month to month. The truth is, being forced to set aside “thinking time” and extract yourself from the day-to-day tasks has shown us that we’re all capable of coming up with some great new ideas (and some rubbish ones too). After all, nobody else is going to do the thinking for us now. 

12 months on from Peter adopting more of a traditional shareholder’s role, the company is going from strength to strength. Moving away from shareholders working in the company day-to-day has meant processes had to become more formalised. We have created a long-term vision, strategies on how to get there, regularly updating shareholders on the progress of our strategy and each member of staff has a key contribution area towards us achieving this. We’ve added lots of new functions and features as a result of getting out there to meet more customers and deliver what they want, as opposed to what we think they want. After all, it’s the members who use the site all day, every day so they are the real experts! 

As I write this, Peter is currently watching the Australian Open in Melbourne (and also visiting his daughter who is travelling there at the moment) – being a tennis fanatic, I’m not sure which was the biggest pull factor! Why is that important? Well I guess it shows how far we’ve come in 12 months that Peter is now comfortable to pop to the other side of the world and leave everything in our (now) capable hands! 

If you have any nice ideas or features you would like to see implemented on BearingNet then let me know and I’ll be happy to discuss further. 

Contact here: 

+44 1279 844044 

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