Dr Karise Hutchinson tells the story of small business leadership

"Leadership and Small Business – the Power of Stories" is the title of a new book which takes the examples of the often-unsung heroes and courageous leaders of small businesses to explore how purpose driven leadership is critical especially in the SME sector.

Written by Dr Karise Hutchinson, who is Ulster University Provost Coleraine, Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Management, and Chair of the Causeway Enterprise Agency Board, the book was launched with a keynote address by Nick Craig, President of the Authentic Leadership Institute in Harvard, USA, who also wrote the book’s foreword.

Dr Hutchinson explains,

“We have a rich heritage of storytelling in Northern Ireland, yet the story of small business leadership remains untold.  The study of this sector has guided my research for over 16 years and I firmly believe that the business leader’s life story exists as a powerful resource not only for leadership itself but as a role model for other businesses.  Small business leaders are all too often unsung heroes in spite of employing nearly half of the UK’s private sector workforce.  My book provides a detailed examination of leadership as the X Factor of small business survival and success.  I am most grateful to the many remarkable entrepreneurial leaders from across the North Coast who have allowed me to tell their stories as a guide for others seeking to find purpose in achieving their professional and personal goals.”

Research for the book extended over four years stimulated by a period spent in Harvard when Dr Hutchinson was an affiliate of the Authentic Leadership Institute.  Learnings from this enabled her to create a bespoke Lead2Grow programme in Northern Ireland which involved over 50 entrepreneurial leaders with the ensuing research resulting in a BAM Management and Knowledge Education Impact award in 2016.

Speaking at the launch, Nick Craig, President of Authentic Leadership Institute, Harvard, said, “Over the past decade I have worked with thousands of executives, most from large or multinational firms, helping them reclaim their leadership purpose and align it with the organisations in which they lead.  Clarity of purpose, particularly in a small company, is the only way to steer towards success. Karise’s book, with its focus on story telling as a way to discover, reclaim and communicate personal and organizational purpose offers readers a way to mobilize excellence.  By attending to the lessons in this book, many readers will find the pathway to growth.”

Congratulating Karise on the launch of her first book, Professor Mark Durkin, Executive Dean, Ulster University Business School, said,

“Karise should be very proud of what she has achieved by this publication both personally and professionally.  In keeping with the ethos of the Business School she has demonstrated that academic research is not an ‘ivory tower’ activity but an extremely practical tool towards helping businesses accelerate growth and profitability.  Her research has also further strengthened the Business School’s relationship with Harvard Business School which is of great benefit to our students and I am delighted that Nick Craig was able to make the journey to Coleraine to further endorse his support.”

Some of the local companies featured in the book include Articlave Day Nursery, Armstrong Medical, Causeway Enterprise Agency, ATG Group, Ground Coffee, Bynomic and Taylor Yeats.