Today we’re joined by Andy Sleigh, the CEO of ClearScore, one of the fastest growing fintech businesses in the UK. He previously led Skyscanner’s Asian expansion, having started his career in strategy consulting at Accenture. A sports and travel addict, he has been lucky enough to live and work around the world, including in Beijing, Singapore, Edinburgh, and London.
Tune in to this conversation as we explore his time working in asia, his huge learning curve and development when he joined Skyscanner, ‘waking up’ moments, lessons learnt from being a consultant, and why so many people seek recognition – when they should focus on being themselves.
Colin Hunter [0:07]
Hi, folks, and welcome to another episode of the leadership tales podcast. My name is Colin Hunter. And today, I'm joined by a gentleman called Andy sleigh, who we had a long relationship of coaching, working together. And I've seen him go through a journey, which is immense. And it's just a privilege to get him to tell his stories today. And what you'll get here is what I would describe as a raw view of what it takes to be as successful as Andy has been, but to hear about the physical, the mental challenges of doing that, from his move from working in Accenture through to on the strategy side to move into China to take in on his Asian role in terms of being the MD for the Asian business Skyscanner. And then he's moving to Clearscore. And those three chunks of his career, which he'll talk about today, have their upsides, massive upsides, and it's been an incredible journey, but also the downsides, as I've said about the physical and mental side, so you're going to hear a raw version of that today. But a great story that's I learned so much from and sure you will today.
Colin Hunter [1:22]
Delighted today to welcome Andy sleigh, a good old friend from We go way back in terms of time and also experiences. So, Andy and I first engaged in a coaching relationship. A while back now that you Andy, tell the story a bit more. But welcome. And thank you for taking the time. And I'm sure what we're going to talk about will resonate with a lot of people listening to that.
Andy Sleigh [1:46]
Thanks, Colin; great to be here. Thanks for having me on.
Colin Hunter [1:47]
Right, why don't we kick into maybe just give people listening to a chance to understand a bit about you? Why don't you tell us a bit about you and your background?
Andy Sleigh [1:57]
Yeah, sure. So, I suppose I had a fairly traditional start to my career that came out of university. And like many people didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life. Actually, got met the front door when I got back to university, but my dad, with the job section of the Sunday Times, told me, there's this company called Andersen Consulting, you should apply, for being a dutiful son I did. And then I ended up spending over 10 years there, doing all sorts of strategy, consulting, and spending. A good sense of my time over in, in Asia, spent five years in Beijing helping build out the extension business over there. And then I realized that I didn't want to be a management consultant the rest of my life writing PowerPoint, and actually wanted to do something rather than provide reports for other people. So, I jumped ship. And that's when I made my move into the really exciting tech space. Join Skyscanner in Singapore became their APAC General Manager, which was hugely exciting and a real roller coaster, which I'm sure we'll talk about. And then since then, I came back to the UK about four or five years ago ran corporate development for Skyscanner before that business resulted in CTrip. And then I'm now the CEO of FinTech Business ClearScore, which I joined about four years ago. And ClearScore is a business that is all about democratizing people's access to their own financial data. So, we're all about helping people understand their finances through their credit scoring report, which gets going really well. We've scaled now to about 12 million users around the world and UK, South Africa, and Australia. So, it's been great fun so far. And still, I think a great journey to go, I think on the latest one described.
Colin Hunter [3:39]
It's great. I resonate with a few of those things. I remember our Skyscanner conversations, and now that work, I'm interested to go back to the parents and, you know, the Sunday Times and handed over and lands and consulting and for those that may be or be younger than we are. The Andresen is Accenture now but was originally Andersen Consulting. So, tell me about that point where because I'm the same. I took my advice and my parents and went and joined Andersen. I don't know; it has only been answered, and I became a tax consultant, which I look back on now. And don't regret it because it's been more wrong. But it was a change for me. Very quickly. I only had lasted eight months. So tell me about that, that choice to go there, and how it impacted you.
Andy Sleigh [4:23]
Yeah, the choice to go, though, to be honest, wasn't a hugely well thought out choice at all. Now, I only applied to Accenture. In the meantime, while my application was going on, I took a job working at the Lord's Cricket Ground cricket shop. So, it was a very avid cricketer. So, I kind of put it to the back of my mind and actually remember the interview process that I'd ended up applying for an internship there. At the time, they were doing a great program for people who had just graduated. But when I went to the interview itself, they put me in the wrong group, and I ended up going into the full graduate interview process being completely unprepared. I remember they called me up, and they said that we've got some bad news that you didn't make it into the full graduate program. But the good news is we'd like to take you into the internship. And obviously, I kept pretty quiet and told them that I'd actually that's what I'd applied for. So, it worked out quite well. But at that point, everyone knew joining Accenture was being sent up to Newcastle, learning to code, being part of a big project that Accenture sold to the UK Government sorts out their pensions, back office, essentially. And I just wasn't interested in that to be funny, but a bit of a wrong decision, I decided that coding wasn't for me, I mean, gosh, imagine if I'd done coding instead, I probably would have been much better off. But for some reason, still unknown to this day, another piece of serendipity in my career, I got myself, and another lady, who's now the CEO of a business called Walker, also a FinTech business and got pulled out of the room and said, Do you want to move into the strategy side of the business because you don't really seem that interested in coding. And I thought, thank God for that.
Otherwise, I would have quit. And then, once I got into that side of it, I really enjoyed it. But I always was breathless in terms of wanting to find where the real growth was. And, really, that's how I ended up taking a pretty strange career path. And I ended up working in the Office of the CEO, writing his speeches for when he went off to various conferences and events in Davos, the World Economic Forum. I got to go there and hang out with some very interesting people. And then I put my hand up to go and work in China went and met the CEO of the China Business, quite frankly, when I was over there for a trip and said, Look, I'd love to come and work over here for you think he would say, Well, who do you think you are, quite frankly? And he said, Yes, that sounds like a very good idea. So about three weeks later, I was on the plane to Beijing, not knowing anyone in the whole of China other than the CEO of our business and not speaking a word of Mandarin. So that was an interesting sort of dropping me in at the deep end.
I mean, fascinating. I mean, now I get how good you are at putting together presentations and everything else, just because that's where you started it. But talk to me about the move to China, because that is huge. And it's a brave decision because I've moved to France in my time. And that was different enough for me from the UK to France, but to go to China, and work and how did that go?
Andy Sleigh [07:13]
Yeah, I mean, it was a real culture shock in many ways. But I think it came from the reason I went after it was super competitive with my brother. So, he's already moved to New York. So that obviously, you know, back in my mind, there was something saying we need to move somewhere even more crazy or fascinating. So, there was a little bit of that in there. But when I got there, I think I hugely underestimated just how big the cultural shock would be. Now remember going out to a restaurant and no, really anyone, and it was quite lonely for the first few months. And so, you establish some kind of community. I remember going out to a restaurant, and my first or second night there next to my hotel thinking, it can't be that hard. You know, they've got pictures in the menus. And I went in sat down on my own. So, it's quite unusual in China. But I found out a meeting on my own anyway and pointed to a few pictures on the menu. And the waitress said something to me, I thought was a bit strange, but I'm pretty sure she's just checking what I want to get some pointing back at the menu. And it turns out that I'd actually ordered enough food for about 10 people. So, I'd ordered a whole fish that was literally the size of the table and a number of other dishes, and they kept bringing them out. And all these very friendly Chinese people just kept pointing at me and laughing and smiling at me. And that was a great way to sort of start my life there from a business perspective. And it was a great time because China joined the WTO. So, it was really opening up. And amounts of investment and money pouring into China for multinationals trying to work out how to navigate it was huge. So, we were really able to ride that wave. My Mandarin, unfortunately, didn't improve dramatically. My understanding of Chinese business culture certainly did during the time that I was, and I ended up making some great friends over there and actually also met my wife over there. So, I've got a hold of Beijing and its great memories for me.
Colin Hunter [09:03]
Yeah, that was obviously set you up for a Skyscanner and what you took on after that, so what learnings did you because you talked about serendipity? You talked about imposter syndrome. And there's a growing piece as you go through this. So, what was going through your head about your learning at that point?
Andy Sleigh [9:22]
Yeah. When I joined Skyscanner, my learnings were great in terms of the foundations that I had from consulting, that I would never say to people not to go in and do some consulting because you get these great foundations that you can go on and then apply one of your sort of superpowers is that you can be chucked into any room. And I think consulting gives you two things. One, you can really learn stuff quickly. So, you can pick up things in a conversation and then play those things back to people. Make sure you're really grasping the nettle of what's going on. And then I think the other thing that you can pick up from consulting is strategic. You're able to see the wood from the trees. And when I took over Skyscanner in Singapore was very early days for their Asia operations. There was a team of 10 people there. And they put in someone from the UK over there. And he did a really good job of building out a very small team. But there was no real strategy. It was just let's put something in Asia and see what happens. And so, I was able to go in and start to try and layout a bit more of a roadmap of how we were going to take something that was sub one or 2% of revenues and try and turn it into 20% plus of global revenues over the following couple of years.
Colin Hunter [10:34]
Tell us a bit about Skyscanner. For those who don't know it. I'm sure they will. But let's dip into that a bit.
Andy Sleigh [10:39]
Yeah, so Skyscanner is an online travel business. It was founded back in the early 2000s by three guys who were all at university together in Manchester, who used to go skiing quite a lot back in the day when Easyjet and Ryanair were quite early in their sort of development. And Gareth Williams, the CEO, built Skyscanner to work out, which was the cheapest way to get slopes at any given time. And it was really, I remember seeing it again, somewhat, another moment of serendipity, my manager at Accenture was actually friends with Garth Williams, I remember looking at something over his shoulder one day, and I was harlots, Dallas call and he explained to me what it was. And I just sort of put it into the back of my mind is that something that's really going to work because there was just an explosion of options when it came to booking flights out of the UK and into Europe. And so yes, guys are going to grow over the course of the next 10 years into a huge, huge business with upwards of 100 million monthly active users around the world using it to book their flights. And it's a great business that got sold. Here's one of the great UK Tech success stories, I suppose, got bought by a Chinese business called CTrip for that one and a half billion pounds back in 2017. And it was so great business.
Colin Hunter [12:02]
Amazing story. And it was, as it says, is out of Scotland, wasn't it? So, it's that connection and Scotland, which obviously, is my background. I love that. So, let's dig into Skyscanner. Easy, because that was some of your probably your biggest development, your biggest stretching, and your biggest learning, just tell us some of the peaks and troughs in there.
Andy Sleigh [12:22]
Yeah, it was; it was a huge stretch for me, to be honest. And I persuaded the leadership team that I wasn't just someone that wrote reports and did PowerPoints; they really had what it took to execute on some of that stuff. And at the time, I had almost no evidence of that. So, to be fair to them, they took a massive punt on me, which I'm really grateful for. I remember turning out the first day as a most small, multicultural team; what they built was essentially a business in Singapore and a small office that was trying to build Skyscanner across 14 markets in Asia. So, what my predecessor had done quite sensibly is go out and hire 14 people for 14 different nationalities from those markets, which you can do in Singapore because it's so diverse that I remember going in on the first day and sort of laying out my market, you know, this is why I'm here. This is what I'm going to do. And internally, I remember just thinking, Christ, I've got no idea what I'm doing here. And then what do I do next? When I sit down on my laptop, what am I actually going to do? The big sort of jumps I made was, quite early on, I realized that there was a choice to be made at Skyscanner in Asia about where the opportunities lie, and there was an easy option and the hard option, the easy option was to go off the English-speaking markets where you could take a British brand, and it would probably be quite easy to transplant it into them, and there would be decent money to be made. So, you know, Australia and New Zealand, to a certain extent Singapore, Hong Kong, you could take those on. And you know, we were doing pretty well there already. So it was just a case of continuing on that path and maximizing the opportunity. But the really big opportunity was going off to the north Asian markets, you know, look at the size of the population in those English-speaking markets is probably 30 million. If you add up China, Japan, South Korea, you're looking at 1.5 billion people. So, from that perspective, it's a no-brainer, isn't it? But then you look at just the complexities of operating those local markets, the regulatory challenges the language, you're just taking this guy's kind of product and turning it into a website with Chinese or Japanese characters, versus the Roman alphabet, that in itself is a big challenge that we had to take on. So, I went after it, but it took some persuading of the leadership team that that was the right thing to do. And it was a really big balancing act in my first six months, which was trying to build my credentials with the team in Singapore and convince them they really understood, you know, the internet economy and how it all works. Rather than being a boring management consultant. Try and get to know them but also persuade the leadership team back in the UK that going sort of the Go big or go home strategy was the right one. So that was always a tough balancing act, actually.
Colin Hunter [15:07]
And we're talking about a number of playgrounds here. So first was your China playground to go off and do the consulting piece and learn and know eat more than you could be doing at the time in that restaurant. And then the next playground was taken on a role that was massive, but there's a bit of a history in there in terms of you doing that and taking on roles going to Davos pieces. But this is a specific playground, because my experience of working when you're working at Singapore, or Asia, and you have bosses back in the UK as a difficult balance, so disconnected, talk to us a bit about that. And now, you know, they took a punt, go bigger, go home, but there was a connection piece back to the UK.
Andy Sleigh [15:47]
Yeah, I would say, anyone who's working in an organization that has operations in Asia should really think carefully about how best to interact with them, you know, the time difference in itself is so challenging if you're operating at the leadership level in Asia, and every single important conversation you have is at four o'clock or later in your day, when you've been up, you know, since eight, nine o'clock, running everything. I always found that pretty challenging. And then you had these connection points, which the classic Seagull management, everyone that's in an outpost, so to speak, in whichever business you know, the managers can fly and shut and leave. That's always a challenge that you get. And so, I had to really, in the early days, find the right balance between making sure that the business didn't stop just because the CEO wasn't coming in. But also making sure that we had our stories together, and the team was all singing from the same hymn sheet. And we were very clear on what we were trying to do in it. To be honest, it didn't; we didn't always get that balance right. And I had to build relationships with people who, you know, looking back on it, now we're under a huge amount of pressure from the board here, we're just taking money from Sequoia, we had some nightmare rates come onto the board who had just gigantic expectations, they've taken money from amazing VCs is one thing, that's the easy bit, and then you have them on the board. And their expectations are nothing less than a 10x. And the business is worth being involved in. So, I probably, at that point, didn't really understand the best way to interact with the top two or three people in the organization. And I've learned a lesson from that. Now I'm in that position myself, I think I'm much more understanding of our DMS and our different markets and the different pressures that they're on.
Colin Hunter [17:34]
the two things I've got in my mind. One is how was your imposter syndrome doing at that point? Because it had reared its head earlier on? And now you're in the position of that pressure? That yes, yeah, how was it?
Andy Sleigh [17:46]
Oh, it is horrendous. You know, I remember going to travel conferences early on in my time at Skyscanner, where not only did I really not know much about running a business, but I didn't know much about travel either. And I didn't know any people who all seemed to know each other. By the way, it's a very sort of very friendly sector to be involved in. But you have to break into the clique. Certainly, in the Asia travel business, there are a couple of networks that are awesome once you're in but looking in from the outside your it can be a little bit overwhelming. So that was the time, and I did my first ever speaking at conferences, and I remember seeing one in China at this huge conference. That's a couple of 1000 people in the audience, and just being up on stage with these luminaries of Chinese travel organizations and just thinking, Christ, what am I doing here? But actually, after we were coming off the stage, at the end of it thinking wasn't that really fun? As often as the case once you've done these things, you look back and go that way; I'm so glad I did it. But in the run-up to it. I think I was probably physically shaking. But once on the stage, I don't think anyone would have known that I'd been nervous. So, you just have to push yourself and go for it. But those early days were very tough.
Colin Hunter [18:57]
There's a bit about the nerves and dealing with the pressure and the stress. And you know, our relationship started then. So, we were getting to know each other. There was a cost to you physically, as well as mentally, at that point. Yeah.
Andy Sleigh [19:10]
Yeah, absolutely. So, I did it every other week; I was flying long haul to Beijing or Tokyo, where we were building our businesses. We did a couple of really big deals quite early on. So, we bought a business in China, which ended up essentially being a bit of a reverse takeover. We handed over the reins of our Chinese business to this fantastic guy called Steven Pang, who had a business called yo baby that we built. And in Japan, we set up a joint venture with Yahoo, Japan, which, of course, is owned by SoftBank. So there was a whole load of work to do there, but I just didn't really didn't prioritize anything other than work because I was so desperate to prove myself, so despite what people think when you work, for instance, like Skyscanner, there's no great prices that you're getting and seat, so it was economy class all the way. Night flights like keep the costs down low and sam seats At my laptop, and unsurprisingly, I ended up with a really bad backhand slipped a disc in my back. And it got to the point where just standing up, sitting down, was okay. But standing up again from sitting down was just agony. I pushed it as hard as I could, and I kept going to work. My girlfriend at the time now, why would sit me down to say, you're completely mad; what are you doing? I have to be there; I have to be there for the team. And I ended up having back surgery; I was out for a supposed to be off for a couple of weeks. But of course, what I did, again, still suffering that imposter syndrome and needing to feel like a leader, meant being present; I rushed back to work because the CEO was in town, and I wanted to see him. I remember having this meeting with him where he was talking to me, but I was still pretty high on the painkillers. And I just had the complete sort of mental break of was it he asked me, you know, why am I here? He said that you need to go and rest. And that, for me, was a real wake-up call. And at the time, my wife and I were thinking about whether we were going to need to do IVF. And I remember thinking, gosh, there's a real irony here that perhaps this IVF thing isn't going to come good, for instance, going to work, but I won't actually be able to pick up the kids because I won't be able to get out of bed. You know, that was a real wake-up moment.
Colin Hunter [21;19]
Yeah, we all have our wake-up moments in our lives around physicality, and you know, the energy and everything else. But the back is probably one of the worst things, particularly in a traveling role, as you say. But also, just as you say, looking at the families that so tough times so. So, thinking about that next stage and taking that on and what you learned from that experience, what would you say maybe the top two or three things that people could pick up from listening to this, about what you learned,
Andy Sleigh [21:47]
the number one thing for me was you have to be yourself. Before you started coaching me in particular, I remember feeling like I was going into work and putting on armor or putting on someone else's shoes. Because I was trying to be what I thought the senior leadership team in the UK wanted to see, which was, you know, my predecessor had probably had a relationship with the team who were all very young and ambitious, fun-loving, that was probably a bit too close. And so, I went completely the other way. And ended up being someone that I'm not. I was slightly aloof for the team; you know, I created a bit of distance between myself and them. And it was tiring, it was incredibly tiring, you know, I missed that oxygen that I get from the banter in the office, you know, the quick cuts and the conversations that have nothing to do with work, whether it's what you do on the weekend, or the latest film that you might have seen, I cut myself off from all of that, which is a real shame. Because I didn't develop the personal relationships that really what working in these types of organizations is all about. It's the irony of the imposter syndrome that you end up being an imposter in a different way. You're not being yourself; you're pretending to be someone else. And then it really takes it out of you. So, I think authenticity would be the number one thing that I learned. And then the second thing that I learned, which you were very helpful in educating the honest, is this idea of being fit to lead. No, I just sacrificed everything at the funds of sort of this idea of your career. And you know, your ego is very much wrapped up in going from one thing to the next and desperately looking for the recognition and the pat on the head. Particularly when you create a parent-child relationship with your boss, which is something that I definitely had desperately looking for the welder Anandi thing. And obviously, as you get that, then you're on to the next; how do I get that next bit of recognition and now, now, I'm not looking for that I'm very much company much more comfortable in my own skin. And I think that's, that's been a long journey for me to go on. But for now, I feel very much like I'm an authentic leader and a ClearScore. The culture is all about bringing your whole self to work. So, I bring my sense of humor, I allow myself to have fun. I'm still fairly direct with people, but I think people see me as approachable, and the real fun-loving and decision is there as well as serious. Let's, let's get stuff done. So yeah.
Colin Hunter [24:16]
And it is fascinating for people listening, that hearing a confident person gets up and speaks in front of 2000 people. Those are all these moves to China, though strategy goes to Davos, all these things and then has this relationship of almost adult child or child adults to bosses. What was going on? Because it was an epiphany moment that we were sitting in Edinburgh, three quarters through a coaching session. And you said, yeah, I get it now. What happened to that moment? What did you see?
Andy Sleigh [24:45]
Yeah, I think I mean, there's probably a whole sort of a bit of therapy we could go into here about why people need recognition and where that comes from. But I think that moment in Edinburgh was very much that I don't need to prove anything to anyone else. It's really very much how I judge myself as what matters. And at that point, you know, I think you playback a few things that I had managed to achieve in my career, what I'd got out of it, and what I had potentially provided to some other people who I've worked with and mentored and brought along on the journey with me. And at that point, I just had that realization of this; there's nothing that I really need to worry about. Or to prove, with what I've done, it's more about how do I take what I've done so far and find the next thing that I'm going to enjoy and get something out of rather than continually being on this cycle of having to justify what I'm doing or having to prove myself to someone else. And that was just, I remember feeling this huge weight of expectation fall away from my shoulders, and I think you and I went out for dinner that night and had a good bottle of wine; I remember getting home and just having a chat with Sissy, my wife and just saying, you know, for the first time and probably a good 10 years, actually felt fully satisfied with where I was and what I was going to do next. Yeah, it's been great; it's been a great clarifier. I can't say that it's; I've never slipped back into that kind of behavior; I think it comes in different cycles, doesn't it depending on where you're at. But if I keep coming back to that point of achievement, whatever that is, I think it's super helpful to not keep grasping for things that you may or may not actually needs to do.
Colin Hunter [26:30]
Yeah. And it's interesting, because, you know, a lot of people would say, sell your ship out of the harbor, rather than just as a leader sailing around the harbor playing the sales, team playing and complaint leadership, getting it out and going to the rougher Seas is something you've taken some risks you've gone and done. And actually, just getting to a point where almost you could filter and say, well, I'm not going to do that again. But actually, you do it. It's about learning what you're good at and authentic. And that you're comfortable in and you're having fun, I think is what I'm hearing you say? Yeah.
Andy Sleigh [27:01]
yeah, I think it's changed dramatically. Since my earlier days in my career were the best, I've ever made. I was making you probably heard it when I was talking about how competitive I am with my brother, that was coming from a place of I need to do this to prove something to someone. And, and now it's I do things because I want to do them. And I joined political because the business really resonated with me. And it's a fantastic business that's built around this idea of making finances calm, clear, and easy to understand. And that mission just resonated with me, I left university, to be fair, having had a fantastic time and a lot of fun, but I left university with a huge amount of credit card debt because no one had really educated me on how the credit industry worked. So I, you know, I just racked up debt. And I got into a whole load of trouble with it. And that's when ClearScore came along. Justin, the CEO, tapped me on the shoulder. And I think, you know, life's too short to be working in organizations where the mission doesn't resonate, or the products that you're creating, helping to create, and do something that you believe is really doing the right thing by the customer. So yeah, whatever I do next, I'd be much more judicious about choosing those things that I can really get out there and feel excited about.
Colin Hunter [28:15]
And there's some great work in ClearScore. So, you know, I, I'm privileged in my role that I get sneak peeks into what people do in businesses, and one of the things I'd love to explore is this concept of music and film that you'd use for, for what is a successful business to organize and create that energy in the team talks through what you're doing.
Andy Sleigh [28:35]
I love this challenge of creating a narrative within a business. I think as I get more than as grow as a leader, I've realized that 80% of what you have to do as a leader is about creating the right narrative and getting people to understand the why and the wall as much as the house. So ClearScore, we've introduced this concept of strategic imperatives, which are things we publish at the start of every year; we get together every January to a big kickoff meeting, we announce four or five strategic imperatives for the year. And the first time we did it, we used the power of films for each of our imperatives there. Where there were five film posters that we've made. One of them was personalization. So we called it the tailor. And we had a whole sort of mini storyline. And we had a tagline of, you know, using the voice of the sort of the people that do the trailers, you know, what was this film all about? And people just really buy into it because everyone loves a good movie. And if you can boil down your strategic imperatives to something as simple as a movie poster, where you've got, what it is, what we're trying to achieve, and what are those key performance indicators and you stick that on the wall in the office, or you make some stickers for everyone's laptop, people will just constantly refer back to them and remember them and every time I stand up, I can talk about the film. Now this year, we turned it into music albums. I love my music, and I thought, what's Another way to build on the film concept so? We did five albums this year, but we used some popular music. So this time, we have an imperative, which is to turbocharge our flywheel. So we use the Daft Punk tune, stronger, better, faster. So every time we talk about that, we play that she never gets. All right, Andy's talking about that Daft Punk one. That's the flywheel one. And we have another one where we had the CEO, singing the House of Pain, jump around for another one, all about jumping the S curve and building our next sources of growth. So it really works. I have no idea what I'm gonna do next year; I might have moved to Miami or something because I'm going to run out of forms of media.
Colin Hunter [30:38]
The red wine, whatever meals could Yeah, but we something. So let's just go off in a segue their top movie, and why it resonates for you in terms of storage and picking one movie? What would it be?
Andy Sleigh [30:52]
Well, that is a good question. I'm quite into my gangster movies. So I'm not sure if there's any bit of analogy that I could use that explains why it's something that represents my sort of identity. But I think probably if I was to pick one, it would be good for us. It's a classic movie, I think there's something in that sort of the early stages of that movie where he's being accepted into parts of the for the clothes organization, and how exciting it is, and then how quickly unravels, I think that there's something in there, maybe about how people chase their dreams and think it's all going to be fantastic. And then quite often, once you get inside, whatever organization that you're trying to get into, you realize. Actually, this isn't perhaps quite as good as they look from the outside. So I think I've noticed a dragon analogy of good fellows,
Colin Hunter [31:44]
there could be a whole podcast Andy just on mafia and leadership and the linkage in that. So anyway, it's great. Let me just segue to another one then. Favorite Music Yeah, that picks an album or a song that you think is you? What would it be born into the one you pick?
Andy Sleigh [32:00]
Oh, gosh, that is a good one we are going to be. I'm going to go super cheesy here. And it was our wedding song which we went with Queen based on me. Now, I think that's a good representation of the way Sissy and I try and live our lives, which is just go for it. You know, it's hard when you go through the tough times to remember these sorts of things. But when you're having a good time, you've got a really, really have a good time. And I think there's a line, and they know you haven't. I'm having a ball. And I suspect that people who know me, well, I tend to be glass half empty quite a lot of the time. So that's a helpful reminder for me that really when the good times do happen, you really have to make the most out, as we've all discovered in the last year. I mean, if there's anything that I've learned from sitting in a room on my own without any human interaction is just how lucky I am. You know, when the world does get back to some sort of normality, I need to make much more of that luckiness and the position I'm in and in the relationships that I have; I think that would probably be the choice for me.
Colin Hunter [33:01]
And just an update children three, yeah,
Andy Sleigh [33:05]
the IVF did work, we were very fortunate to have twin girls who are now five, who are great fun talking to us in terms of personality, and then we just thought we'd throw another one into the mix. So we've now got a three-year-old boy, who's a real character. And yes, they've kept us on our toes during the lockdown in our have now got a lock on the inside of my study, given the number of times the kids have joined zoom calls.
Colin Hunter [33:32]
But it's that's been the biggest blessings not for everyone. I'm sure with young kids just be able to spend more time with them. I think that that's actually gonna be hard to go back to work now. And explain to them that dad is not going to be at home, staring at a screen talking to strange people. Yeah, they're great. And I'm very blessed in that regard. It's great. If you were to be sitting with your kids now when they're old enough to understand this. And, you know, maybe one or two things that you've been wrong. And you would have points of view about that they could learn from what would it be?
Andy Sleigh [34:08]
Gosh, that's a good one in terms of modeling myself with even more grey hair and setting slippers in front of a fire with a glass of red wine with my kids as they sort of get into the age where they'll actually listen to me rather than wanting to, to watch TV or whatever. There are a number of things I would probably say in terms of being more wrong is not necessarily a bad thing. Right? And taking those risks. I think my parents came from a very different time where now my mum was the daughter of refugees, Jewish refugees that fled Austria in 1938. So I think, you know, that colored outlook on life, which was probably risk-averse. And my dad had his own business that had its ups and downs. Throughout various recessions. He was in the headhunting game. So when the years were good, they were great when it was bad. There was no money coming in. at all. And so, I think that created a bit of an approach within the family, which was very risk-averse. And I probably flipped that on its head and took a lot of jumps off and took those risks. I think my advice to my children would be that, you know, you've got to decide what's right for you. My brother is taking a more traditional approach to his career; neither is right nor wrong. But you would have to be true to yourself and do the things that you actually enjoy. And not just be in it for making sure that you can have enough money in the bank to support your family. Of course, that's, that's important. But I think if there was one thing I would tell my children is that whatever career you want to pursue, you need to go just go for it and not have any regrets. And we would support you in whichever direction that you go.
Colin Hunter [35:47]
This is a quick aside in that, who's winning your brother or you? Do you keep telling?
Andy Sleigh [35:50]
Not anymore, only on the golf course, where he's definitely winning, because he's, he's had a lot more time to play. I think he's probably settled down a bit now in terms of that competition, but there's still needling that goes on. And I think we're still, you know, you revert back to your teenage years, don't you, whenever you see your parents, even when you're in your 40s are still a little bit of that behavior that when the Scrabble board comes out, it's still just as competitive as it used to be when we were young. But he was an amazing, older brother, but particularly for me, when I was in my sort of formative years, particularly when it came to sport, you know, he would, he would bowl at me in the garden for two hours. And then the younger brother, I would do all the batting, then I turn around after five minutes ago, yeah, I don't want to bother you. But thanks for the game. If I'm leaving, leave him, and that's what he says I love him better quicker. So but he was incredibly patient with me. And as has always been a source of great advice. I've been very lucky to have people like him and others, you know, including yourself in my life that have been there as people to chat to when these challenges come up, as they often do.
Colin Hunter [36:53]
I want to just bring the last tip if you are Sissy, and you were looking in it, what we just been talking about, what would she say about it? What would she say that be more wrong and the learning from him about you?
Andy Sleigh [37:05]
Hooo, probably bring a long list? For starters, she would probably say that I didn't believe in myself enough when I moved careers. And that caused me, you know, those problems that we talked about? There's a great irony, isn't it that people that are desperate for that recognition and people pleasers, when they do hear those things that they desperately seek, they don't believe them. And I think that's the thing that she would say to me, you know, I'm one of these people that still now struggles with this idea of success. Born and what is success? And how should we define it? And I think she gets continually frustrated with my inability to bask in any success that's happened and rather wants to move on to the next thing. And the next thing, the next thing that drives her slightly posse. And I think she would probably say that I should just chill out a little bit and smell the coffee every so often, as they say. But yeah, that's that would probably be the first few things on the long list, many of which probably shouldn't talk about.
Colin Hunter [38:08]
No, I was just about to say let's add that bit. Now. If she listens back to this, she could maybe just go on a podcast now. Yeah. And it's been a real pleasure. And thank you for being, firstly, very vulnerable on ESL; that's one of the biggest things for me is the ability for others to learn from the likes of yourself. Or even though you don't recognize yourself as successful and what you do about the journey you've taken. Thank you for taking the time. And yeah, I look forward to hosting you back. You're on here at some point in the future to tell us the next stages of the career and the story. Great stuff.
Andy Sleigh [38:45]
Well, thanks very much for having me on.
Colin Hunter [38:46]
Wow, what a conversation. Thank you to Andy for joining us today and taking us through those three sections of his career. I'm always amazed but never amazed by his resilience and the brave choices he's made in his career to take it on. And he's an inspiration to me, and I'm sure he will be to you listening about how he's tackled those and worked those, but I also just think that he's never finished. It's the next part of his career. And that's what I said at the end of this. I'm looking forward to hearing the next stages of Andy's career and how he starts to learn about the systems that he can put in place on his physicality the emotional care that he takes to go with the courage that he definitely has. So thank you, Andy, for that, and I hope you enjoyed that podcast. I'm sure you did. I'd love to hear your feedback. I'd love to welcome you to another episode of the leadership tales podcast very soon.