Interview With Barry Walsh

Spot ON N.59 An Irish Executives Interview
by Pascal Derrien
Governance and Leadership Team, Board Member & Executive Director at Irish Executives Network
10th Nov 2015

I really like the # 7, it does remind me of the 7 Samouraïs, the magnificent or the 7 adventures of Sinbad. Somebody recently also spoke to me about the 7 habits of highly successful people Is 7 is a magical number ? So are you ready? 1,2,3 ,4 ,5 6, 7 let`s GO!!

IEN: Who are you and where are you based?
Barry Walsh founder of Power of Seven. I passionately believe the world needs better leadership so my purpose is to make that happen. I live in Kinvara, Co Galway.

IEN: What is the Power of Seven?
Imagine yourself surrounded by six other business owners and a professional advisor. It’s like having seven business coaches all at the same time except these guys are in the trenches fighting the same kind of battles as you.
These non competing leaders meet every two months in a totally confidential setting with professional facilitation. They exchange experience and ideas in a structured way to help overcome their most critical issues, and identify opportunities for business and personal growth. Members provide each other with feedback, advice, ideas and sometimes challenge. They hold each other accountable, inspire and motivate each other. They leave with insights and answers to take actions to help grow themselves and their business.Members are business owners, CEOs/MDs come from companies such as Windmill Lane, KTL & Home Instead Senior Care chain.

IEN: Why have you undertaken this project?
I came up with the idea by chance over nine years ago. In my work as a leadership coach it occurred to me that it might be worthwhile to bring my clients together to see what they could learn from each other.So I arranged a dinner for seven of them. At the end of the meal they had already started asking when the next meeting was. I didn’t know there was one! That same group still meets today, every second month.
I was encouraged by that group to set up other groups to help other business owners. The Power of Seven was formally born.
Last year I decided to invest seriously in the business, and ended my consultancy work to focus on it full time. I now have six groups in place with another two on the way. That should double in size by the end of next year. They are grouped by business size rather than sector and I facilitate each meeting.

Essentially it’s business leaders helping each other to ‘see the wood for the trees’, to overcome ‘blind spots’, and ultimately to get their business working for them and not them always working for their business.

IEN: In your own opinion how are the SMEs positioned in the “so called“ post-recession era?Yes, so called for some. It depends what sector and market you’re in. There is opportunity out there. I read yesterday in the Times about Owen Killian (founder of Aryzta /Cuisine de France brand) who gave a speech on receiving the RDS gold medal for industry. According to Owen the secret to success in business boils down to one thing – Relevance. “It’s the key driver to change; the difference between success and failure; the concept a business should never stop thinking about.”
If you work hard at being relevant you’re always positioned well. I think the Po7 is very relevant because business owners want to meaningfully collaborate and learn from each other.

IEN: What is on your horizon the next 6 months?
My BHAG is to make the Po7 available to every business owner in the world. Over the next six months I plan to establish more ‘themed groups’ in Ireland. I already have one themed group for those leading Lean in their company. I’m looking to start another one of these. Also, groups for those in the creative industry, quality management, professional advisors, and a ‘blended’ group for business owners internationally, i.e. part on line – part in person. I would be delighted to hear from any IEN members wanting to connect.

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