Transforming businesses and fixing motorcycles | an Interview with Steve Norgrove
Steve Norgrove, Principle Engineer, talks to us about business transformation, his inspiration and his latest motorcycle project. Interviewed by Charlie Ward, Marketing and Communications Executive.
What is your specialism?
Business transformation and lean manufacturing.
How did you get into that?
I went into a Project Engineering role from University which involved me in a lot of work redesigning factories and making them more efficient and productive. As my career progressed I have always had an association with manufacturing.
What inspired you to get to where you are now?
Growing up, I classically wanted to be an airline pilot or a train driver, and I’ve always been interested in engineering and mechanical stuff.
My inspiration comes from wanting to make a difference and trying to be the best I could be at what I did. I wanted to make use of the skills I have, and really enjoy what I do. I can honestly say I‘ve never done a job I’ve not enjoyed. There have been tough times, for sure, but always rewarding at the same time. It’s great watching people grow and thrive and be able to achieve their potential. I strongly believe that a key element of good leadership is to create the conditions that enable people to be at their best.
What has been your favourite job role – apart from this one?
I’d have to say – the first time I was an operations director. I was part of a team parachuted into a company to fix it. It was pretty much a ‘fix it or it sinks’ situation. The team was new, young and it took us about 3 years to turn it around. It went from being a total basket case to preferred supplier - we even featured on TV at one stage! There was a huge feeling of ‘all being in it together’, with no fear and having to act quickly. It was massively business-critical and the work would have gone to an overseas competitor if we’d not saved the company in the UK. It was a great time where we just did what we had to do and didn’t notice the days or hours. We have all gone on to do different things but still stay in touch and meet up occasionally.
At work, when are you happiest?
It’s genuinely when I’m out in a business talking to people, looking at shop floors, and discussing with folks the issues. I like finding out what can we do, how we can help, and what they need.
I love to work on old motorcycles and cars. I’m a typical engineer where they’re more in bits than they are working. Right now I’m working on a 1980s 1000cc Suzuki motorcycle, yes it’s in bits!