Director of the Year – Mike Adams, chief executive, Purple

Mike Adams, chief executive, Purple

Every day during the Christmas holidays we are profiling the winners of the recent Director of the Year Awards. Today it’s Mike Adams, chief executive of Purple, who won the Disability Employment Director award

‘Never ask staff to do anything you wouldn’t do’ – Mike Adams, chief executive, Purple

Helping businesses to find talent among the UK’s 11.5 million disabled population and access its combined spending power of £212bn (the so-called purple pound) has become a mission for Mike Adams. His firm, Purple, has pledged to help more than 20,000 disabled people find permanent jobs and thousands of businesses become “disability confident” in the coming 10 years. Adams, who was awarded an OBE for services to disabled people in 2012, shares his insights.

What has inspired you the most at Purple? The number of businesses over the past year that have been open to seeing disability as a market opportunity rather than simply a CSR one.

Has there been a truly pivotal moment for your business? Yes, it came when I spent three hours with a leader I respect who took apart my whole business plan for Purple – and then helped me to put it back together again.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever taken? ‘Run at the pace of the fastest if you want to succeed.’ Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett.

Describe your leadership style. I lead from the front and would never ask any of my staff to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.

How do you ensure good governance? I recruit good board members who are not afraid to tell me that I’m wrong or that there’s another way.

What technological innovations have been important to the growth of your business? Having a comprehensive customer relationship management system to capture data in real time.

What’s the biggest leadership lesson you’ve learnt? It never happens exactly the way you plan, but that doesn’t matter if you end up with the required outcome.

Mike Adams is a member of IoD London

Become a member of the IoD

The IoD has a range of memberships for directors, founders and co-founders, providing all the resources and facilities needed to enhance your business. To find out more about membership offerings and to join today, visit

Enter the Director of the Year awards 2018 here

About author

Director magazine

Director magazine

Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

No comments

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.