The Winning Formula

Innovation

10 business lessons from Mark Boddington , Founder of Silverlining Furniture

Mark Boddington is the founder, innovator and driving force behind Silverlining – the world’s leading luxury furniture making brand.

You may not have heard of Silverlining – don’t be disappointed if you haven’t – as their unique design and build proposition is rarely if ever purchased by anyone other than the super-rich.

Their world-wide customer base is of course confidential – many of their clients have been with them for a decade and more – and includes billionaire entrepreneurs, Russian oligarchs, financiers and royalty.

You are likely to come into contact with a bespoke piece of Silverlining furniture in a private residence, super yacht, embassy or museum. You are unlikely to experience it next door to where you live or bump into a piece at the local Dog and Duck. If only.

Silverlining and the influence of the founder

Silverlining furniture has a positioning and price proposition unique in the world. It is arguably ‘best of breed’ and take it from someone who has experienced their client work at different stages of the production process, the tag is richly deserved.

Earning that tag hasn’t come easy for Mark and his team of designers, engineers, craftsmen and project managers.

Like many of today’s successful companies and brands, Silverlining has enjoyed – if that’s the correct term – the highs and lows of the growth journey since their launch to the marketplace in 1985. They continue – in a changing global landscape – to surprise and inspire their clients with remarkable work and the main reason for their success I believe is down to their great founder.

Mark had a passion for furniture making as a young boy. Inspired by the work of John Makepeace he transferred his early student learning experience to a belief that he and his team could produce the ‘best furniture in the world’ and the ‘antiques of the future’.

Silverlining was born and he set out on a journey to set new boundaries for furniture making design and craftsmanship. He recruits the best talent available to him, supports them with the latest technology, equipment and materials and empowers them to deliver for his clients ‘the ultimate Silverlining experience’.

We had the pleasure of working with Mark in the early days of his journey and then recently as he wished to use The Winning Formula® framework to support his future plans for the brand.

Working with him ‘up close’ gave us the unique opportunity to identify some of the lessons we can all learn from his leadership approach to running his business.

Ten lessons we can learn from Mark Boddington

  1. Mark Boddington has a ‘real passion’ for his work and has transferred this to a commercial proposition unmatched in his marketplace.
  2. Mark Boddington believes in sharing with and working on the future plans for the brand with each and every employee. This creates a sense of ownership critical to the future success of the company.
  3. Mark Boddington manages to concentrate his time on being a leader and a visionary, whilst at the same time regularly returning to his roots of creativity and cabinet making. This keeps him in touch with the business.
  4. Mark Boddington recognises the importance of producing compelling reasons for others to join him on the Silverlining journey. The size of the people opportunity extends to reward and recognition, investment in training, maximising the brand potential, new market opportunities and timing. Each reason helps to recruit new talent into the company.
  5. Mark Boddington and his team have produced a truly compelling vision of the future for Silverlining. Their aim is to ‘become the most inspiring furniture brand of the 21st century’ – ambitious or what?
  6. Mark Boddington’s passion for furniture making extends to his commitment to supporting British craftsmanship and the passing of knowledge and skills onto the next generation. How many British leaders can say that?
  7. Mark Boddington leads by example and personally demonstrates the three core values important to Silverlining – excellence, passion and innovation. The Boddington and Silverlining brand are inextricably linked.
  8. Mark Boddington understands the importance of applying today many of the key cultural behaviours important to him when he first started out – including attention to detail, professionalism, ambition and a ‘can do’ spirit.
  9. Mark Boddington possesses other rare qualities namely courage and tenacity. These qualities enable him to turn ideas into action. Many of the Silverlining product designs come to fruition because Mark is prepared to go where others dare.
  10. Mark Boddington believes in trusting others with the reputation of the Silverlining brand. Mistakes are sometimes made, but this is due mainly to his people’s commitment to ‘pushing the boundaries’ of design and craftsmanship. More importantly, Mark understands this and doesn’t condemn or criticise others for taking risks. Risk and reward go hand in hand at Silverlining.

Finally

Great founders have a real sense of purpose and meaning to their work. They play to their strengths and recognise the need to recruit talent to support their ambitious future plans.

They never compromise on the values and behaviours important to the success of their brand and their company.

Above all else, great founders are proud of their achievements and are committed to the ‘long game’ whilst understanding how to play the ‘short game’.

Mark Boddington is a great founder. Check out the Silverlining website on www.silverliningfurniture.co.uk

Best wishes on your journey, wherever it may take you.