Evoqua Water Technologies provide equipment and services to the water industry, including filtration and water treatment. Originally a divestiture from Siemens, Evoqua now have more than 200,000 installations across the world, serving hundreds of millions of people. Ian Stentiford is Managing Director of Evoqua Water Technologies in the UK, as well as segment leader for the electro-chlorination division.
Whilst part of the Siemens multinational Ian had access to continual professional development, with Siemens running a mentoring scheme and hosting a number of conferences. However, when Evoqua became a stand-alone company, it became harder for Ian to access support and learning.
“When I took on the role of MD, I realised quite quickly that it can be a little bit lonely. There aren’t people who are naturally of the same level as you within the organisation that you can use as a sounding board or turn to for advice.”
Having researched external business mentors as a source of support, Ian felt that he was looking for something more dynamic. “What I found was only having an external mentor could be somewhat constrictive because you were limited by what just that one person could give. Vistage seemed to offer the right balance of experiential learning and personal coaching”.
In November 2015 Ian joined a local Vistage group run by Vistage Chair, Paul Johnson. As a result, Ian was able to discuss his challenges and opportunities in confidence with a community of like minded business owners.
“When we problem solve as a group it’s very insightful and very fulfilling for me because opinions and advice, come from angles that I would never have dreamed of and I could certainly never have come up with on my own.”
Ian has been to a number of Vistage group meetings and Open Day keynote events where clarity of strategy and communication have been the key topic. “Within our organisation we have some tremendous engagement feedback mechanisms and in the time that I’ve been a member of Vistage I would say our metrics have improved by a factor of at least ten percent.”
Vistage has also given Ian a greater focus on personal wellbeing. “It’s really helped me to see the importance of home-life and being very focussed on my goals, not only professionally but personally. That in turn gives me clarity around how I lead at work.”
For Ian, having regular access to top business speakers as well as engaging discussions with fellow group members is now an essential part of being a great leader. “When you get the right team dynamic, it’s motivational, it’s challenging, and actually, the friends you make in Vistage are probably for life!”