Tom Marley, The Car Buying Group
As MD of The Car Buying Group, at work Tom Marley is always trying to find more talented staff to react to the company's growth. At home you might find him playing football in the garden or pretending to be a cat in his daughter's dolls house! We caught up with him to find out more about his life as a leader...
Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
My role as managing director of The Car Buying Group is to lead from the front and motivate the senior team to deliver an award-winning service for our customers. I also simultaneously deliver additional value to the business and shareholders, creating alternative revenue streams and growing our market share. Crucial to my role is the development of staff, looking for the key skills in people and nurturing this – and all with a smile on my face!
What is it the company does?
The business operates within the automotive sector, purchasing and selling cars throughout the country. We endeavour to deliver the best deals to both potential buyers and sellers. In addition to this we offer value added services to our partners such as outsourced call centre options. We also strive to deliver a high standard of customer service with dedicated, passionate and knowledgeable staff who are rewarded for their hard work.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
Initially, I studied for a BA hons at the University of Exeter in Public Relations in Business and English Language. From there, I went on to a career in the leisure industry working overseas with First Choice Holidays for 6 years followed by senior management positions for First Choice Airways and Thomson Fly, supporting the merger of both airlines and managing more than 2000 cabin crew nationally. After this I entered the motor trade spending eight years working in senior management in auctions and vehicle remarketing for SMA Vehicle Remarketing and then G3 Remarketing.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
I believe there are many qualities to a great leader- integrity and honesty top the list in my opinion. I believe you should always be approachable, fair and always put the employee at the heart of everything you do. That way they will put your customer at the heart of everything they do. Creating a fun yet rewarding environment leads to greater productivity; always be willing to get ‘stuck in’ yourself, and allowing others to become their own leaders creates a great sense of ownership within the organisation. I believe all leaders should continually share the company vision, that way we are all fighting for the same cause. Plus, all leaders should share the success of the business with the people who make it happen, be that financially or via success stories.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
The biggest challenge in my current position has been hiring the right people - and fast enough. To support rapid growth always comes somewhere near to the top as this continues to be a challenge.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
For me, it has to be one of two things; time at the gym and a run to relieve the stress, or my more favoured option, is time out with my three children. Nothing gets rid of the stresses brought about by work than a game of garden football with my boys or 10 minutes pretending to be the cat in my daughter’s dolls’ house!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an actor. As a child, I ‘tread the boards’ at the Theatre Royal in York in plays with the likes of Ruth Maddock (of Hi De Hi fame….) - wow I am showing my age!
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
My pet hates in the workplace are negativity and having a defeatist attitude. We always support people to achieve and lead from the front with a constant positive attitude. If someone is negative or convinced they cannot do something we adapt our methods or our approach to find a way they are comfortable with and show them a way they can achieve. Oh, and a good game of in-office basketball also helps!
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
The Car Buying Group will become one of the market leaders in buying / remarketing used cars. Our digital and support functions will be supporting an increasing number of key clients in their system development and call center support functions.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
I would advise any business leader to be true to themselves and never give up on what they want to do. It is also important to surround yourself with people that are better than you are in certain areas, as these will be the ones that help you succeed. And last of all, surround yourself with positive and supportive people.