In Profile: Nicola McHale, Vistage Chair for the South West

By Anita Jaynes on 15 December, 2015

Nicola McHale is Vistage chair for the south west, a private advisory group for business leaders. The group was established in July 2015 and currently has seven members and will grow to a team of 16 over the next year. TBE met with Nicola to find out more about her and the Vistage offering.

How did you become a Vistage chair?

October 2009 I came to a pivotal part of my career.  I’d spent 28 years building a specialist cultural change and top tier executive leadership company called VI International. I built a team of over 20 consultants around the world with a subsidiary in Singapore.

VI International had established clients such as American Express, Diageo, Microsoft, Virgin Atlantic, and Standard Chartered Bank
One day I woke up in a hotel in Shanghai and said: “What am I doing? This business is running me, rather than me running it”.  From this moment I embarked on a journey to change the business and change my life – in the right way with honesty and integrity.

My vision was to carry on my one-to-one Corporate Coaching and stop any International work. When one of my clients – a Vistage member suggested I should be a Vistage chair I looked into it.  I did know the company and when I researched it, it was clear I had the right credentials. I had run my own successful business supplying to the big corporates and had worked globally with senior leaders.

So now I have a portfolio of roles – my Corporate Coaching and my Vistage group here in the South West. I can work locally giving something back to the SME and helping the local community.

What’s special about Vistage?

Vistage attracted me because it’s a global organisation. It has 20,000 members worldwide. I wanted to retain the global reach and connection I had established with VI International, but make a difference on a local level too.

Vistage enables the CEO/MD/ Business Owners to become better leaders, making better decisions and achieving better results.

What is your ambition as south west chair?

My purpose is to achieve the best Vistage group in the UK. I’ll do this by creating a non-competing group, with no customers or suppliers within it. A confidential and safe group, where the members can bring their most difficult and challenging issues and we can work together to come up with the resolution.

Members of the south west group so far all have different styles, personalities and businesses, but they all are highly ambitious and are great fun to be with. They all care and want to help their fellow members achieve success together.

How do you join?

By invitation only. Vistage is not right for everyone and not everyone is right for Vistage.  The group has criteria that the business members must have a turnover of £3m+, be able to commit the time of one day a month (group time) and two hours of executive coaching, be open to learn and have an ambition to grow.

Why do people join?

Business leaders often feel lonely and isolated. Some things cannot be discussed with their board or with anyone at home. My Vistage Group provides that safe place where anything and everything can be shared with the Group who do not have a vested interest – only your success!
Members also join because they want to be challenged. As CEO, often no one challenges them – we will!

Everyone needs to have their thoughts, ideas and behaviours challenged to grow and succeed.

Others may join because they are looking to create an exit strategy and their business is not in the right place. We help build a clear plan with clear structures and processes.  The group also helps change the culture of the company for the better because to stay competitive businesses have to change and evolve. Vistage is not a hospital; it’s a gym to get your business fitter and healthier.

What would be your top tips for business success?

1)    Know your numbers in all areas of the business.

2)    Build a high performing culture and within that a shared
vision of success that supports it.

3)    Keep the right people in the business and get the wrong
people out.
4)    Be a great leader, inspire and motivate your people.

5)    Be customer centric. Focus on what the customer wants
and needs to give it to them.

6)    Continue to grow and learn (rather than becoming staid
and stuck)

7)    Keep healthy and fit and fun to be around.

The Vistage community meet regularly in the South West to share, connect, learn and brainstorm business values. A series of events are planned for 2016 email Nicola to find out more: