From a Royal Marines and UK special forces Commanding officer to a corporate suit, Neil Laughton, Managing Director of Laughton & Co. Ltd., has had one title that befits all roles – Adventurer. With a little thing called attitude, this award-winning entrepreneur, business growth facilitator, keynote speaker and record-breaking adventurer strives to make a big difference.
The Adventurous Entrepreneur
Neil was a Royal Marine Commando, helicopter pilot and Special Forces Officer. He then joined the rat race in a suit. He was royally ‘shafted’ by three employers in quick succession. After this short stint, he started OPL Group (Office Projects Ltd.), a construction company which he led to ‘Premiership’ and sold after 17 years to an FTSE100 company. In 2011, Neil established Laughton & Co. Ltd., a bespoke business development resource, offering business advisory services, learning and development programmes, professional speakers for special events and exciting adventures for businesses and their employees.
Neil’s life at work is varied and he maintains discipline and motivation because he loves what he does. He likes to keep his family close by having his headquarters and office next to his house.
On a typical day, he could be hosting a group of sales executives at the HQ in the South Downs National Park and facilitating an exciting day of learning and sharing.
“My reputation and personal pride prevents me from knowingly under-performing or at least prevents a substandard service”, he reflects.
About the adventures
Neil has developed a passion for designing, organizing and leading adventurous expeditions on 7 continents, by land, sea and air. He proudly exclaims, “More than 50 expeditions later, I have climbed Mt Everest with Bear Grylls, I was the first person to jet-ski around UK and Ireland and I piloted the world’s first road-legal flying car on a 10,000km journey from London to Timbuktu, which included crossing the Sahara Desert. I’ve played golf at the North Pole and cricket at the South Pole. My life has not been boring!”
Awards and Recognitions
Ness Award from the Royal Geographical Society for “Inspirational Leadership” in 2005, “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the Sussex Business Awards 2016, ranked as one of the top 30 inspiring UK entrepreneurs by Business Leader journal in 2019 are few of his recognitions. He holds several adventure world records. He is the founder and captain of the England Penny Farthing Polo team. He also chairs the Scientific Exploration Society, a charity that funds, supports and leads the scientific discovery, research and conservation in remote parts of the world and offers knowledge, education and community aid. Neil has raised funds for numerous charitable causes through his expeditions.
Challenges make you stronger
Neil believes in getting out of one’s comfort zone and using the initiative by setting challenging personal and professional goals.
OPL, Neil’s construction company suffered a horrific £250,000 fraudulent bad debt which had to be written off. Neil, however, quadrupled the typical size of client projects, facilitated impressive growth, led the company into ‘Premiership’ and ultimately sold the business to an FTSE100 company.
The year 2020 and the first half of 2021 have been times of uncertainty, difficulties and problems. Laughton & Co. Ltd. continues to remain positive, supporting clients online, when necessary. As rules permit, the company encourages people outdoors and into the countryside. To cope, they have created new inspirational programmes, both at home and abroad, like “The Commando Ethos”, “The Inspiration Programme” and “The Adventurous Mindset”.
Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary!
Laughton & Co. Ltd. is an experiential learning and development company that aims to help individuals and teams to be and to give their best. The strap-line “Ordinary to Extraordinary” sums up the company’s philosophy. In a nutshell, it provides in-person, interactive and challenging training events, workshops and experiences that energise people to eventually develop their ‘A game.’
More specifically, Laughton & Co. Ltd. helps individuals and companies create the best strategies for growth and profitability, thereby improving leadership and management skills with the purpose of developing happy and high-performing teams. Neil and his team of business advisors offer talks, workshops, experiential training, business support group and adventure retreats for businesses and their employees.
The adventurous outlook of Laughton & Co. Ltd.
There are several business coaches, mentors and facilitators offering similar services. More often than not they operate solo. But an individual cannot offer all things to all people. So, most of the Laughton & Co. programmes involve other professionals in the delivery. This offers diversity to the clients. The company collaborates extensively with complementary industry partners on Business Support Group events, overseas Adventure Retreats and 30 hour UK Wilderness Challenges.
Neil shoulders formal responsibilities as a Director of Laughton & Co. Ltd. It is of utmost importance to him to keep to the core purpose of delivering value to his clients and looking after his associates.
Every leader has a unique definition of success. According to Neil, most people strive to succeed and develop strategies to achieve it. What is critical for him is the start and finish point. He believes in clearly defining the end destination, then plotting a ‘road map’ with milestones assigned to assess progress. He states, “I espouse an adventurous outlook – a journey that is daring, unusual and exciting – if executed with energy, passion and determination will almost certainly result in a successful outcome.”
Laughton & Co. Ltd. will continue their experiential learning and development programmes to individuals and teams through their Discovery/ Teamwork/ Adventure principles. Furthermore, Laughton & Co Ltd aspires to collaborate with like-minded industry professionals for innovative and inspiring joint-ventures.
Neil quotes the famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, “Leadership is a fine thing but it has its problems. And the biggest is loneliness.” Neil believes that the pandemic has increased the issue of loneliness. He anticipates many mental health problems developing in the coming months and years. He understands the importance of recognizing this problem and helping each other. Neil’s peer-to-peer L&D group has grown faster in the last few months than in the previous two years. This indicates that people want to work and socialize in person rather than conduct their lives through a computer screen. Towards addressing this issue, Neil emphasises, “I will continue to promote REAL face-to-face relationships!”