A Personal View

A Personal View

Greg Dawson

Scottish Agronomy Ltd

Deputy Managing Director



Greg – how and why did you choose to join The Strategy Programme at Henley Business School and what did you hope it would achieve?

As a business, we were reasonably successful but I felt that we had never really implemented our strategic decisions fully. Every year we agreed a set of goals but nothing much changed in terms of our delivery and I was concerned that we would start to lose ground if we didn’t get a fresh perspective.

From a personal point of view, I come from an academic science background but was increasingly being required to contribute to managing the business and develop the talent within the workforce. So, I was looking for an opportunity to learn.

We used the services of an external HR consultant who recommended The Strategy Programme. I looked at the details and liked the idea of a relatively small group which met in a residential environment. Along with Henley’s reputation, it ticked all the boxes, so we signed up.

What were your impressions of the programme and what impact has it had?

My initial thought was that I was out of my depth! Many of the other businesses attending were larger and I thought they might face different issues. I wasn’t sure I was equipped to contribute to the group. However, it soon became clear that, despite the diversity of the group, there was a great deal of commonality in the challenges we face and that gave me a lot of confidence.

I was especially hit by the realisation that our own strategy would benefit from a more inclusive and more data-driven approach.

Jeff Callander, the Programme Director, gave us lots of help in recognising strategy as a management tool. I was especially hit by the realisation that our own strategy would benefit from a more inclusive and more data-driven approach, especially as we prepare for changes in the industry that will affect the way we operate from 2022 onwards.

It’s still early days, so it’s difficult to quantify the impact but the team members are already taking ownership of a wider range of tasks and it feels as if we are moving forward together, in a clearer and more cohesive way.

Sharing my learnings with the team is enabling us to create a focused roadmap, based more on the external market than purely our available resources.

For me, personally, the emphasis on contextualising our organisational strategy and taking a different perspective was transformational. Sharing my learnings with the team is enabling us to create a focused roadmap, based more on the external market than purely our available resources.

Since starting the programme I’ve been promoted to Deputy MD and I’ve been given a specific remit to implement what we’ve learned.

Finally, what advice would you give to other individuals and organisations who are considering The Strategy Programme?

I think it’s critical to have the understanding and backing of your organisation. The course is excellent and offers a great skills and discussion framework, combined with relevant academic knowledge. All this, along with the chance to network with a range of businesses, meant it certainly resonated with me and delivered great value.

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