Peter Slater, CMAC CEO's 12 things learned in 12 years

Fostering a vibrant workplace culture and a willingness to learn every day are among the most important parts of running a major company, a business leader has revealed.

Peter Slater, the new chief executive of transport solutions firm CMAC Group, believes recognising the small wins is key to ensuring every employee is pulling in the same direction.

To mark his recent promotion to the role, Mr Slater is outlining 12 things he has learned in the 12 years he has been at the company, and how they have helped him rise through the ranks at one of the transport industry’s major players.

He said: “I believe wholeheartedly that it’s our people who make CMAC Group a success, and creating a workplace where each and every individual feels empowered does not happen on its own.

“After 12 years at CMAC , my experience working in a number of different roles has helped shape my perspective on how to drive the business forward.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time to take the reins as chief executive of CMAC, and we are working hard to continue growth in both the UK and in Europe.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has placed unique challenges on businesses across the world, and it has never been more important to be a strong leader.

“I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on what I have learned so far, however I will never stop being a student. .”

Headquartered in Accrington, Lancashire, CMAC is one of Europe’s leading transport solutions firms and has a nationwide network of more than 4,000 approved suppliers.

The company works with a number of partners on the continent and operates across three UK based sites, as well having local teams covering Greece, Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

It means they are always on hand to provide emergency solutions when events such as adverse weather conditions create disruption at home or abroad.

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Peter Slater’s 12 things I’ve learned in 12 years

1. Foster a transparent and collaborative work environment

Teamwork is the key to success and recognising the value of giving your employees a voice opens the door to endless opportunities. All of our best ideas either come from our team or our customers.

We encourage cross-functional engagements and every month host a virtual ‘lunch and learn’ where teams share knowledge, communicate the latest updates and explore ways of collaborating.

2. Invest in your business

Investing in your business is crucial as it allows you to keep growing. CMAC has continually reinvested in resources, technology and partnerships to ensure we stay ahead.

Reinvesting in our business allowed us to acquire companies such as UK-based Cabline in 2019 and Cabfind in 2018, alongside Spanish aviation firm Aircinks in 2019 and Heathrow-based Ontraccs in 2020.

3. Develop the culture you believe in

Investing in your company culture is key to attracting and retaining top talent in your industry. It's essential to create a culture that appeals to the type of employee who will drive your business forward. 

It’s important to celebrate successes and even the small wins deserve a high five. Each month, Peter writes a note of appreciation for employees across the business to thank them for their effort, hard work, dedication and exceptional performance, which is then mailed out to home addresses..

4. Champion change 

I firmly believe in the power of being agile, flexible and willing to adapt. Embracing change can be unnerving but out of change and innovation comes some of the best outcomes.

5. Stay humble

Be proud of where you came from and what’s been achieved. CMAC has achieved rapid growth over the last 14 years, from one site in Accrington to now having three in the UK and two in Europe.

Celebrate your wins but remain a student and be grateful to those who have helped along the way.

6. Keep learning

Lifelong learning is a key skill that everyone needs. Keep an open mind and look for lessons every day, as there is always something useful to be learned.

The external marketplace and business arena is constantly changing, I continue to push myself to learn as I want to grow with my company.

7. Customer happiness comes from the top down

Establish your company to be customer-centric in every aspect of your business and keep them at the forefront of your mind.

Customer value is key, and going the extra mile for CMAC clients is ingrained in our culture. Every team member is empowered to create a fantastic experience for our customers.  

8. Treat your suppliers as partners. 

Creating overall value beyond a transaction is key to successful supplier relationships. 

Having  open conversations with your suppliers encourages collaboration and developing partnerships built on transparency will allow your business and your supply chain to grow together.

Supplier collaboration is vital to enhance stability, operational resilience and business continuity. We work with more than  4,000 operators across the UK and have formed many successful allegiances across Europe to support CMAC expansion plans. 

9. Place a premium on integrity

Honesty and integrity are the foundations of leadership. The motto ‘doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do’ is ingrained in CMACs DNA

Integrity means telling the truth, even if the truth is ugly. Leading an honest team will ensure your business will have long-term success. Surrounding yourself with people who challenge you will help you become a better person. 

10. Be passionate about giving back. 

Sharing and giving back to the community that supports us is a great reward for me as a business owner.

Over the years CMAC have raised money for local charities, such as PH7 Health and Wellbeing in Burnley and Every Action Has Consequences, a charity close to my heart.

Alongside charitable efforts we strive to support our supply chain, by educating them on best practices we have enabled many to receive work directly with public sector bodies which they previously struggled to obtain.

11. Remember your ‘why’

It’s the reference point for all your decisions and actions, it provides a clear sense of purpose and helps everyone to focus on what matters most, compelling you to take risks and push forward regardless of how challenging it is.

12. Have fun and never be scared to roll the dice. 

Happiness will inspire your team to be creative, motivated and will spread throughout the company. A positive workplace environment where everyone feels valued is a vital part of any business’s success. Failures and mistakes may happen along the way, but it is important to recover from them quickly and not let a temporary setback define who you are.