Time flies but as I write this profile I can recall events like they were yesterday. I remember my first leadership decision when I agreed my engineering manager should return to his prior role as design engineer because he could not settle in formal leadership. He was still the “go to” person for advice, but he was happier managing tasks rather than people. I learned then that appointed leaders are valued more for their ability to deliver a cumulative result from a team than for their own personal contribution to a team or task.
Mentors: During my career I have had many mentors. From assembling my first centrifugal pump to restructuring my first company I always had people to consult or use as a sounding board. I often wondered how they simplified tasks calmly and effectively. Then, with age and experience, I began to coach in a similar way, I was the one who simplified tasks, so it is right that I would want to continue this coaching today via kadops.
Personal Development: With very few qualifications from a disrupted high school education I was lucky to be offered a Craft Apprenticeship at Mather & Platt Pumps Ltd whose welfare policy ensured all employees were briefed on company performance. This encouraged me to engage with the business and I became top apprentice. Before moving into leadership, I was a skilled fitter, test engineer, service engineer, sales engineer and then a project manager.
Over the next 14 years I managed departments at Knowsley SK and Sulzer Pumps including Operations, Engineering, Projects, Manufacturing and Packaging. As a leader I would travel globally to deliver amongst other subjects, supply chain negotiations, group lean coaching, project management and commercial awareness training. During my career I have been fortunate to work with global blue chip customers including: Solar Turbines, BP, Shell, PDO Oman, Qatar Gas, Mustang, Chevron, Texaco, Snamprogetti, Wood Group, Woodside, Halliburton, and Technip. I am particularly proud to have been elected on to the BP Rotating Equipment Initiative (REI) where suppliers help BP “fail point” historical Oil & Gas projects to improve future performance.
My employers challenged my academic and professional boundaries by sponsoring my BA (Hons) degree at Manchester Metropolitan University and my Executive MBA at the University of Bradford School of Management, I completed both at night school.
As a trained apprentice I was afforded excellent technical and commercial coaching. Adding academic qualifications complemented this and helped me apply for senior roles that would later test my strategic and tactical awareness when directing departments and companies.
How do you go from being able to manage departments to running a business?
Around 2004 I realised I had hit a glass ceiling in my ability to lead a business. I could lead departments but struggled to engage at the highest level and I failed to understand why. In 2005 I signed up for executive advancement training and it was a 360° feedback survey that proved significant in terms of my self-awareness. As a manager and mentor, I made the common mistake of thinking I must have all the answers instead of encouraging and nurturing answers from my team, so, learning to “listen” quickly became my priority, but the 360° survey also stressed I needed strategic awareness to truly progress as a leader.
Listening is probably the best advice I can give to any leader. When combined with my prior experience and the strategic awareness learned on my MBA, I simply made better decisions. The MBA taught me about business and finance and to “understand and listen to” the financials as well as customers, suppliers, staff, end users and market trend analysis data.
As leaders we communicate a vision and a strategy, we are the ‘glue’ bonding departments and the ‘oil’ making them run smoothly. We navigate through ‘icebergs’ as our teams propel the business forward. We are expected to “lead” but not to have all the answers. As a former employee, employer, mentor and leader, I relish the opportunity to work with local leaders as they learn the ropes and need advice, support, a sounding board or just another pair of ears.
I had the pleasure of coaching Kieran in Operations Management at the Bradford University School of Management (2007 – 2009) while he was General Manager Projects at Sulzer. We had some fasinating discussions, from which we both benefited. He has since returned to the University as a guest speaker, providing engaging and innovative coaching to new MBA students. He has also willingly helped demonstrate operations theory and practice in the workplace by opening the doors of the facilities he managed to me, and some of my recent students.
Professor of Operations Management at Sheffield Hallam University
We used Kieran at Huddersfield Business School, University of Huddersfield to validate our MSc in Operations and Supply Chain Management and insight into development of our CIPS accreditation and project management practices. Kieran is very competent leader and industrial practitioner. He did a great job in positioning our masters programme for the next generation of practitioners. Kieran is a true supporter of knowledge transfer and I would have no hesitation using Kieran as facilitator, mentor and coach for businesses today.
Director: Northern Productivity Hub - Senior Lecturer in Operations Management
Kieran Doyle held the position of Managing Director of Oilgear Towler Limited for 6 years from November 2011. Within this period he also held the position of European Operations Manager from February 2013 to July 2016. During his service as European Operations Manager the Leeds site has improved in overall performance impacting quality, delivery and profitability.
President and COO - The Oilgear Company