How I got where I am today: Warren Anderson

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What did you want to be when you were young?
Like a lot of young kids I had my heart set on being a pilot. As I grew up I gave up on that dream and decided whatever I’d do I would do it to 100% of my ability. If asked at 18 years old ‘where I’d be in 20 years?’ I wouldn’t for a moment suggested the position I am just now.

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?
Ultimately the two biggest career moves was giving up university where I was studying to become a quantity surveyor to join GOT full-time, and then going with my gut instinct to go through with the Buyout of the company in 2008.

Anything you would do differently?
Hindsight is a great thing, there are a couple of decisions I’ve made in the past which, if I had made a more informed decision, would have shaped my life differently. However, if we knew what was ahead of us we’d probably all choose differently. In essence, from a business perspective I’d say there’s nothing of any significance I’d do differently. Small changes perhaps but nothing more.

Warren Anderson

Are you scared of making mistakes?
People shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them, it’s not a bad thing. We are human at the end of the day and mistakes do happen it is how we recover from them that makes the person.

What advice have you ignored?
I’ve tried to take on board as much advice as possible, I have a good team both within the company and externally so I listen to them all with respect. The more experience you have the easier it is to gauge what advice is appropriate for the situation.

What do you want to achieve in the rest of your career?
As I’d imagine all business owners would say that continued success would be the main achievement, this would apply to me also. Growing the company and expanding the team both UK wise and internationally are my goals. It would be great to one day have a successor in place to continue the business going forward, although that’s maybe a few years away yet.

Is the “career for life” a thing of the past?
Certainly not for me, I’ve been with the company now for 20 years. I still have the hunger and drive to continue as long as I can. Everyone is different in that aspect though, but I don’t think a career for life is a bad thing, it provides stability in life.

What’s the best way to motivate others?
The hardest part is gauging how to motivate people, there are various personalities and all respond differently. I like to make the team feel exactly that, a team. The company is only as good as the staff working in it. Communication is vital as are the tools used to communicate. Everyone is as important as the next person, especially when it’s a relatively small team. I think it’s important to allow people to share their opinions.

Your favourite stress-buster?
It has to be cycling, I took it up five years ago and I have the bug for it now. Participating in and also sponsoring events like Ride the North gives me an enormous sense of achievement, not only when taking part but making a difference to peoples’ lives through charity work.

There are always loads of organisations and charities at these events and anything I can do to help – I will. My dad has been fighting cancer for the last 15 years and I feel this is something close to home so I’m more than happy to do what I can to raise awareness and funds for the charities which look after families experiencing difficult times.

What’s your best career advice?   
Never be afraid to take on something outwith your comfort zone. Decision making and opportunities in life can be daunting but I think people underestimate what they are capable of. Goals are achievable if you put your mind to it and don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way.

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