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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Sean McPheat
7 Questions with Sean McPheat

Name: Sean McPheat

Current title: CEO

Current organisation: MTD Training Group

Sean founded MTD back in 2001 after a very successful career in investment banking. Since then Sean has had an obsession with creating training programmes, tools and products that deliver long lasting, tangible results.

Sean has also appeared on TV on several occasions as an expert in the field of personal and professional development and has over 300 media credits to his name including the likes of CNN, BBC, ITV, The Guardian, Arena Magazine, Marketing Weekly and numerous radio stations.

As an Amazon bestselling author and being a finalist in the British Business Awards for his Entrepreneurial achievements, Sean knows what makes businesses successful. He has also been coveted in the ISMM’s trainer of the year and the Training Journal’s Learning & Development Professional of the year awards.

In his spare time Sean plays, watches and attends as many sporting events as he can. Rugby, cricket, football, golf, snooker – you name it!

7 Questions with Sean McPheat

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?

Staff. Without shadow of a doubt! Getting the right ones in the first place and then making sure they are engaged. Early on in my entrepreneurial career I expected everyone to have the same motivation and drive as me (even though they all said they had it) but I was so wrong. Some people want to come to work, do a great job and go home. Others want to change the world. When I realised this then managing and leading staff got a lot easier!

2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I had a very successful career in banking and in 2001 I attended a Tony Robbins event in London where we walked across hot coals and shaped the life we wanted. I had always wanted to start a business but never had the "balls" to leave my highly paid job. After that event I said "Screw it, let's have a go" I didnt want to look back on my life and have a "what if" moment. So I just want for it.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

My days are very structured indeed. I dont want to think about too much so I have the same process. Up at 6, gym at 6.30, breakfast at 8.30, at work by 9.30. 9.30 to 12 work. 12 lunch. Home at about 6-6.30. Family time. Bed at 9.45.

I'm very structured! I have to do lists and achievements lits to work through at work.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

Don't expect miracles from your people. You expect them to be like you and that is wrong.

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?

"What would Steve Jobs Do?" by Peter Sander. Works through scenarios and how Steve Jobs approaches business.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?

I'm a firm believer in promoting within. If staff have climbed the ladder they are committed and have a vested interest in the company. They know it inside out and have earned their stripes. It also shows ALL staff what is possible if you work hard and have talent.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?

I had always planned for a COVID situation. We had resources in the bank and were very lean. Companies that have lived off their fat and not for tomorrow have suffered. I planned for a doomsday scenario and always kept the company lean so the impact would not be so great.

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