Attracting (and retaining) a winning leadership team: An interview with Tommy Cook

Calnex has executed the first IPO in Scotland for 2 years. It’s very difficult to achieve this level of growth and success without attracting and retaining a winning leadership team. Tommy has a real appreciation of New Leadership, creating an environment that attracts top talent and in turn nurtures a growing company. 

Recently Laura Montgomery interviewed Calnex Solutions CEO, Tommy Cook. Tommy highlights, New Leadership is about creating a collaborative and inclusive environment. You won’t retain top talent without listening to people. True Leadership is about empowering and encouraging people at every level of your company, enabling them to develop and succeed. It’s about creating an environment that is bigger than one person – an environment that everyone wants to be a part of – and everyone knows what part they play in the journey towards success. You can read some of our main takeaways below. 


Create an open and inclusive environment 

As a CEO, when you have a different opinion on a topic to the rest of the leadership team, how people react is extremely telling. You can’t please everyone all the time, but if you create an open and inclusive environment where communication is high, employees will remain engaged. If you have no leadership ability or are frightened to have challenging conversations this will undoubtedly end in disaster. Leaders can disagree without losing trust and respect. It’s all about how it’s done! People just want to be heard.

Adjusting to new norms 

If your staff were potentially disengaged before COVID, you can be assured they are now. Good leadership will become more important as we adjust to the new norm. Creating an environment where people want to work for YOU will be very powerful in the future. People will be working more often, so good company location, friends in the organisation, nice offices, onsite restaurant, or gym, will all become irrelevant. It will come down to you as a leader and how you make others feel when they work for you!

Your Purpose 

There has been a big focus on Purpose over the last couple of years, however leaders should ask themselves if they are truly living those values or if it’s just an exercise to be seen as evolving. As Tommy points out, does your Purpose transfer into behaviours. If not, this could be viewed as weak leadership or you have the wrong people in the business – or perhaps have no clear DNA. Just talking about it can leave people confused and is perhaps more damaging or confusing than having no Purpose at all. 

Knowing your DNA

Know your DNA and hire focusing on the right behaviours to create a collaborative and inclusive environment. No one is bigger than a company. If you have a mini-Trump in your business who is not managed, this will undoubtedly have a negative impact and fundamentally stunt the growth of your company. Create a culture that people want to be a part of – a culture that feels bigger than them. A team needs to gel together, it’s easy for everyone to get on when things are going well but when the pressure is on, that’s the true test. 

Building trust 

If you trust people, you will easily win their respect and trust in return. People will follow you and give you their all! 

Select your NXD wisely 

A renowned and highly respected Non-Executive Director who has the company’s best interests at heart is worth their weight in gold. Select wisely!

Developing isn’t failing 

Don’t be frightened to try. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but you will develop from the journey. No one will look at it as a negative….only your ego. 

For those that missed the interviews all videos can be found below

If you like some advice on how to identify, select and retain the right people for your business, please don’t hesitate to contact Laura Montgomery on

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