When an injury cut Kevin Doyle's professional football career short, he struggled to come to terms with the dramatic changes he faced. After nearly losing his leg, Kevin worked intensely with a physiotherapist to regain his strength and mobility, but it was the relationship he built with his physio that helped Kevin reshape his future and inspired him to become the success he is today.
What is it the company does?
We are the leading independent provider of physiotherapy and clinical outsourcing solutions in the UK - helping people to elevate their health and live active lives.
With extensive national coverage, we have over 300 highly trained Ascenti physiotherapists delivering upwards of 52,000 treatment sessions every month. Enabling people to make headway after illness and injury, step back in to work after accidents, or simply stay active and keep moving forward in their daily lives.
Our work includes providing physiotherapy services to insurers, businesses and on behalf of the NHS, as well as treating pay as you go patients, Private Medical Insurance (PMI) members and customers who have been referred by their employers.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
Having previously led our clinical network and our national expansion, my role is now focused on new growth opportunities and how we continue to evolve our business and services.
I take particular responsibility for leading on new client relationships and my clinical background enables me to offer a real depth of expertise when it comes to new contracts, services and partnerships.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
At the age of 15, I left Wexford in Ireland to join Leeds United and spent three years there, before joining Nottingham Forest.
My career was cut short by a serious injury and at the age of just 19 I had to endure ten operations, narrowly avoiding having my leg amputated.
The trajectory of my whole life changed in an instant and it was a devastating blow for me to come to terms with at the time.
The physiotherapists who helped to rehabilitate me physically also helped me to rebuild my life as a whole – they were inspirational and the catalyst for me pursuing a career in physiotherapy.
I qualified as a physiotherapist in 2006 and my first job was at Birmingham City Football Club.
This eventually led to a partnership with another physiotherapist and the establishment of a private physiotherapy clinic in Birmingham.
We steadily grew a strong local customer base on account of our distinct clinical philosophy and results orientated approach to treatment, which included manual therapies such as soft-tissue massage.
In 2010 Ascenti acquired this business and by combining our unique clinical expertise, directly employed physiotherapy workforce, strong operational capabilities and business experience, we expanded rapidly. We opened six clinics shortly after the acquisition and this grew to 300 clinic locations by 2016.
Today we have 600 employees and boast an enviable market proposition, with a directly employed national network of 300 physios, expert clinical governance, premier standards and industry leading digital capabilities.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Great communication and inspiring belief in your team - both from a business and personal perspective.
The quote from Alex Ferguson sums it up brilliantly “Great leadership is ensuring your team believe the impossible is possible”.
What has been the biggest challenge in your current position?
Ascenti is such a strong and energetic business, with so many great opportunities we could explore, but it’s important for me balance short term goals with our longer term vision and strategy.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I still manage to play some football when my leg allows!
Unfortunately, I now qualify for the over 35 league, but I still love the dressing room atmosphere and it’s a great way of taking my mind off the pressures of work.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A professional footballer.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I wouldn’t necessarily call it a pet hate, but I prefer to physically speak to an individual or group when appropriate, rather than through non-verbal means such as email.
I try to speak to my peers in the Leadership Team and direct reports on a daily basis, and sometimes several times per day!
I also encourage senior colleagues across our clinical network to work from the same office at least once per week to have that physical interaction with colleagues. It’s key to creating and maintaining a strong culture within you workplace.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Our business strategy is about continuing to nurture our existing partnerships, capitalising on new areas of growth and further enhancing our offering.
We have spent the last year laying down important foundations that will help us to progress our ambitions over the coming years, for example by investing heavily in our people and digital technology.
We expect this work to take us into our next phase of growth and to solidify our position as a market leader.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
The success of your business will be in direct proportion to the quality of your people! Take time to ensure the right people are in the right positions and create an environment which allows them to grow and contribute to the evolution and success of your business.
Clearly define who you are and what you are aiming to achieve strategically, but make sure that your organisation’s strategic goals and culture work together and that they don’t compete with each other.
Creating the right culture and being disciplined in your focus are the key areas for any business leader. One of my first mentors in business would always remind me that 95% of your focus and therefore actions should always have a direct influence on the attainment of your business goals, which was a great piece of advice.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
The reward is in the process and not necessarily the destination. Don’t allow your setbacks to dampen your passion or your success lead to complacency.
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