Polar explorer Neil Laughton shares his inspirations

Neil Laughton

Neil Laughton, the founder of Laughton & Co, has walked to the South Pole and crossed the Sahara in a flying car. He explains what makes him tick

A book that I’d always recommend to other business leaders is Jim Stengel’s Grow – How ideals power growth and profit at the world’s 50 greatest companies.

The best piece of advice I’ve had. Given that I served in the SAS, it has to be “who dares wins”.

You’re never too old to learn and improve. I was in my late 40s when I decided to take an exam to earn the IoD Certificate in Company Direction.

My way of unwinding is going on an adventurous expedition, wrestling with my children and playing penny farthing polo – I’m the founder of the Penny Farthing Club. This year I’ll also be attempting to set the world record for the highest dinner party: 7,000m on Everest.

My favourite quote. ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that’s most responsive to change’ – Charles Darwin

The job that taught me most about effective leadership was my spell as the executive chairman of a construction firm. Looking back on that time, I still believe that the key qualities are: having a clear vision for the business, developing a sound strategy and being supportive to your staff.

My best networking tip. Be the first to arrive and the last to leave.

The mistake I learnt most from came when I suffered a £240,000 bad debt from a fraudulent client by being too trusting and not keeping a close eye on the finances. I haven’t made the same mistake since.

My leadership heroes. Last century: Sir Ernest Shackleton, for his brave, selfless and inspirational leadership. This century: Elon Musk, for his passionate, focused and visionary approach.

Neil Laughton is a member of IoD Sussex. For further information about the IoD Certificate in Company Direction course, visit iod.com/training

Laughton & Co

About author

Ryan Herman

Ryan Herman

Alongside his work for Director, Ryan has written for SportBusiness International, VICE Sports, Populous, Audi and Gallop Magazine and was previously editor of Sky Sports Magazine.

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