Leadership lessons by Cumbrian coach go down a treat for snack company

ONE of the country’s leading independent snack firms is using the services of a former combat leader in Cumbria to push for further success in the food business.

Devon-based Burts Snacks has grown from a small family business to a nationally recognised, award-winning brand employing more than 300 people.

A selection of Burts Snacks

A selection of Burts Snacks

Innovation comes naturally to Burts Snacks, a business well-known for producing an array of appetising flavours, so when it came to the crunch of how to best develop its team’s leadership skills it was no surprise that the company found a dynamic solution.

To help his employees through the turbulent time of Covid-19, Burts Snacks site director Paul Bavin turned to executive leadership coach and former combat leader Neil Jurd OBE for his services.

Leader: Neil Jurd, founder of Neil Jurd Leadership

Neil, a former Sandhurst instructor, launched his virtual leadership course to enable business leaders and managers to best equip themselves to lead their teams through any situation.

Neil, of Kendal, previously dedicated 25 years to the army where he led a number of overseas expeditions including in Bosnia and Sierra Leone. He also commanded a Gurkha squadron in Iraq in 2006-2007.

Given the disruption firms have experienced in the last 12 months, Paul said the input and impetus Neil’s experience and expertise gives the company is ideally timed.

Paul said: “I have been so impressed with Neil’s discipline and his governance more than anything. We have a big ambition and a corporate vision here at Burts Snacks and I want to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal.

“Our current leadership team all come from different backgrounds and have received different leadership training over the years, so it will be nice for them to start and finish this leadership development training together.

“If our team isn’t being led in a way that is nurturing to our employees and mentoring them, then what’s the point? Leadership to me is about taking people on a journey and so it’s imperative that our team has the right tools, which Neil supplies them with.”

The independent hand-cooked crisps and snacks manufacturer was formed in the late nineties and has since grown into a nationally recognised brand known for using the best quality ingredients.

Not scared to experiment with bold flavours, Burts Snacks uses local ingredients to create exciting flavours such as Firecracker Lobster to Levi Roots Reggae Reggae and GuinnessⓇ stout crisps. The business also offers a lower-calorie alternative to crisps with their popular Lentil Waves range.

Neil, who works with senior leaders across the UK, successfully launched his first book on leadership and team development The Leadership Book – A-Step-By-Step Guide To Excellent Leadership; which offers a refreshing and transformational approach to leadership and team development.

Snack happy: Paul Bavin, site director of Burts Snacks

Along with buying his book for his leadership team, Paul has also signed up the business for Neil’s virtual learning course of 30 bespoke videos, totalling four hours of leadership and development training, which has been praised by top UK organisations including NHS England.

Neil, who works with a range of businesses and organisations across diverse sectors throughout the UK, is thrilled to be working with one of the top snack businesses in the country.

He said: “It’s great to be offering my services to a leading business like Burts Snacks.

“Covid-19 has changed the way we interact with people and it’s important to keep the conversation flowing between senior management and their employees.

“It’s easy for people to get bogged down in micromanaging and simply going day-by-day with tasks to complete, but that’s not healthy for anyone nor is it a positive and effective leadership style.

“Due to Covid-19 it’s been difficult for people to think outside the box. So I hope my videos help to inspire people to become better leaders.

“Leadership isn’t complicated. Anyone with an open mind can learn, apply it in real-life situations and become a better leader.”

The Leadership Book – A-Step-By-Step Guide To Excellent Leadership by Neil Jurd, is available to buy now on Amazon.

For more information on Neil’s leadership coaching videos visit neiljurd.com

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