My Biggest Mistake Jan Reynolds: I was slow to take charge
Jan Reynolds is the managing director of Bristol match manufacturer Octavius Hunt. The company has 45 staff and an annual turnover of pounds 2m. The MoD and the Australian army are clients
Wednesday 03 March 1999
In my last company, a plastics manufacturer, it dawned on me that I was quite a vocal person. I was taking on more and more responsibility, looking after a pounds 1m sales account and running the company's advertising and marketing activities
As well as that I was handling my responsibilities as PA to the managing director. One evening at 7 I looked out at the car park and noticed that my car was the only non-company car still there.
The next morning I issued an ultimatum to my boss. Either he gave me the job title I deserved and rewards to go with the position, or I moved on. I was subsequently appointed commercial manager, then commercial director. I had a good mentor at the company, who told me: "Don't hide your light under a bushel." I left after 10 years because I needed a new challenge.
I came to Octavius Hunt in 1989 without a job description. I had an empty desk and my work evolved. There were no formal systems or procedures. Chemring bought the company in 1991, but it operated autonomously. They allowed their companies to breathe.
I was given good advice by the president of an American account I used to look after: "The art of a good manager is to not be missed when you are not there." That taught me about delegation.
My promotions were gradual and not something I particularly sought. My predecessor was an engineer, so the company was production-led. Since I've taken over, it's been sales-led, which is how it should be.
I've had to become more of a lateral thinker and be more enterprising. I used to be a bit of a plodder but now I have to look beyond the immediate future because the company has to grow.
It's always been successful and profitable and the maxim, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies. But we want to expand our research and development department. We already manufacture smoke pesticides and now we want to develop scented smokes and security smokes. When the position of managing director was first offered to me, I took some time to think it over. I had always seen myself as a number two. I thought, `I've never failed at anything and I don't intend to start now'. It was a huge responsibility but I've never looked back.
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 Chelsea victory parade: Chelsea mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 3 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 4 Woman, 21, dies after taking contraceptive pill that 'caused fatal blood clot'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
How China's richest man Li Hejun lost $15bn in an hour - and made a fortune
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...