Leadership Success at City Link

by Rob Northfield

Target Express was formed in 1982 by Ray Griffiths, Iain Sharp and Peter Neumark, entrepreneurs who had a strong belief the market needed a parcel delivery service that did what it said on the tin. During the following 19 years the organisation grew at an astonishing rate to £125 million in 2001. By this time the company was being led by Chief Executive Paul Murray and myself as Chief Operating Officer. The organisation underwent major changes whereby we strongly believed in people development whereas previous Directors hadn't seent the improtance. Due to lack of belief in people and the development of its key personnel Target Express began to have challenges it hadn't previously forseen.

Paul Murray and I made the decision to embark on a journey that Target Express had never been on before. A long standing and highly successful relationship with Rob Northfield from my previous companies, (Swift Transprt, DFDS Transport, Norbert Dentressangle) meant I had always invited Rob to work with senior people because of his inspirational approach. The Board of Directors of Target Express and then subsequently followed by 150 of the most senior people in the organisation attended Leadership/People Development/Culture Change Programmes over the next few years. The success of the Programmes were outstanding.

The Leadership Team became a team whereas before they were regarded as mainly very good individuals. They became more dynamic in their approach to business and more understanding in their approach to their direct reports and large workforce.

The premium parcel business has always been an extremely stressful business, however, stress levels reduced, performance improved and the bottom line became very impressive in the years to come.

The benefits of the Programme could be indentified as follows:

Rob has been a constant influence in my life. He has inspired every individual whom he has worked with, in every organisation I have led. This inspirational approach has eased the way for my organisation's success.

Peter Cvetkovic
Managing Director, City Link Ltd

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