Name: Kevin R Smith
Organisation: BOOM & Partners Ltd
Kevin is the founder and CEO of BOOM & Partners, a multi award winning business advisory firm. He has run his own business and finance consultancy firm for 27 years after his initial career working for international banks.
With a long and varied career he has become increasingly aware of the great number of early-stage and mid-sized businesses that have a great story but are missing some vital parts of the jigsaw to make them achieve their true potential. Kevin and his team at BOOM fill this gap.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Kevin's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
I am very lucky as I have worked with so many amazing founders as well as having worked in about 45 countries. I am also a mentor working with four seperate organisations and so I get to work with business in all sectors and a range of sizes. Perhaps the biggest challenge is making sure that people do not just say the words but they follow through with the actions. This can of course be managed to some degree but ultimately it will always be up to the individual as to how much effort they will put in. Encouraging enthusiasm and tenacity is a key part to to being a leader and overcoming this.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Having worked my way up as a manager and senior manager through a number of international banks I decided that I wanted to be responsible for my own destiny. Working for yourself and living by the 'eat what you kill' principle is hard work but so much more rewarding than working in a large institution. Of course many prefer the safety of a salaried job, but for those with an entrepreneurial nature nothing beats running your own business and this of course means being a leader in every way.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My days are varied with some days working almost entirely in the office on a series of zoom calls. We also try to have a Team call every day in order to ensure that we are all aware of who is working on what. On those daya I will typically work until about 6.30pm and then work on the laptop in the evenings at home. I will also often work most weekends and, as I write many published articles, I will often write these during the weekend. On the days that I am not in the office I will spend maybe two or three days a week having a series of meetings and speaking at events in central London. My mentoring duties are interwoven amongst the work activities.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
In my opinion a good leader should be friendly and approachable, and encourage staff to make decisions and to grow within themselves. That means supporting them even if they make wrong decisions and making sure that lessons are learned rather than reprimanding them.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I am often asked this question and as yet I have to find a good answer as there is no one book. However, I did a MSc in Global Management about eight years ago and so those books impacted me and I have also written five books so they impacted me in a different way. None are about leadership as such but all have impacted me working life.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
My one piece of advice would be to treat others as you would hope to be treated and do things for the right reasons. This will serve you well as a young leader and in life in general.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Building trust and respect can take a long time but losing that trust can happen very quickly. I have always got my best results as a leader by acting with moral integrity and being human. Some leaders are succesful by building a tough reputation, but I would suggest that the world is a better place by trying to find solutions that benefit all.