More than 100,000 households across London, the South East and the Midlands rely on Swale Heating to stay safe and warm. David Mathieson is Managing Director of Swale Heating and a Vistage Member in V325 based in Kent.
David joined Swale Heating in August 2015 having had a successful career in construction and engineering. “It was after I had been in the business for 6 months that I started to diagnose some of the problems we were facing. I realised I was missing the challenge and the external scrutiny that I was used to having in my career historically.” Eager to regain that accountability David was used to, he decided to join a Vistage peer advisory group run by Vistage Chair, Paul Johnson.
For David, it was the opportunity to have learning, inspiration and support from people in similar roles within other industries, that made Vistage attractive.
“The challenges that I face and the challenges some of my peers face are very similar. Just hearing about how other people have tackled problems in their business and what worked or didn’t work means you get tried and tested advice on issues” As well as getting impartial advice, David was also challenged and supported by his peers. “Being a group that meets monthly means I know that the members will hold me to account, so each time we meet I need to be able to say honestly how I have progressed.”
As well as the regular group meetings, David also found his monthly one-to-one with Vistage Chair Paul Johnson, a good opportunity to deep dive on issues and topics.When it came to joining Vistage, David needed to identify a tangible return on his investment both from a financial perspective and in time away from the business.
“The decision to join Vistage wasn’t necessarily the easiest, money is always in demand from different departments and I had to justify the spend to my Chairman. I believed upfront that the cost would be worth it and having now been a Vistage member for over a year, I am more convinced than ever that it is money and time well spent. If you went out to a consultant and got that advice, it would be costing you hundreds of thousands of pounds.” For David, the bigger investment isn’t the financial cost but the day each month he spends out of the business, working on the business. “That time is really powerful and I always take something away that challenges me to think differently and improve.”
For David, Vistage has opened new doors of opportunity, allowing him to ask questions and gain feedback from not only his group but also the wider Vistage community. “We were looking to implement the Net Promoter Score and by reaching out to the wider Vistage network, I received the pros and cons of implementation, software packages that could help, guidance and help. That is an opportunity that you just don’t get elsewhere.”