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Joining an action learning group helped Tina regain her confidence

The sudden loss of Tina Fairhurst’s husband and business partner hit her leadership confidence hard. An action learning group has helped rebuild that.

Tina Fairhurst is the managing director of Perfect Stays.

In 2005 Tina and Scott Fairhurst left their FTSE 100 careers to start an award-winning holiday home service business in Cornwall. Whilst growing their business they recognised a niche demand for a letting brand offering first class, bespoke services. By 2010 they established their second business, Perfect Stays. Sadly, in 2015 Scott passed away, leaving Tina to manage both growing businesses on her own. Recognising the huge challenge ahead she decided to sell the first company and focus on building the Perfect Stays brand.

Joining a Be the Business Action Learning group has been a beneficial factor in Tina once again trusting her own judgement and leading with confidence. The group meets regularly every six weeks, where they use a technique called “action learning” to work through real life business challenges. Tina shared with us key insights from the year and explained how a trusted group of peers has both grounded and inspired her.

What is a Be the Business Action Learning group?

  • Small groups of hospitality leaders from businesses of a similar size work through real time business challenges together.
  • Overseen by a trained facilitator who manages the action learning process, encouraging members to ask questions rather than provide answers.
  • Discussions are confidential, so participants can get candid in sharing concerns and challenges.

I had no idea what to expect

“Participating in a peer group where I was expected to share details about my business was completely new to me. I had no idea what to expect. My hope was that by listening to other business leaders, and contributing my own experiences, I would gain a forum where I could comfortably exchange thoughts and concerns. I was also hoping to provide insights that might help others.”

Even the smallest things can become big challenges

“When I first joined there was no one specific challenge in my business that I wanted help to overcome. However, as discussions evolved it became clear that even the smallest of things can become big challenges without you noticing. It has been helpful to bring these challenges to light and to listen to suggestions and ideas that I hadn’t considered previously.

“A key change for me has been the recognition that all businesses will face challenges on a regular basis and, as business leaders, we don’t always get it right the first, or even the second time.”

I’m surprised by how open the group is

“I thought that the group might not be completely open and forthcoming when talking about their business issues. However, after the second session it was clear that most were open to sharing ideas and were receptive to feedback. Because the group is private and confidential, it enables an openness that will aid in its success going forward.”

I’m a better listener

“Having been through a devastating sudden loss of my husband and business partner, my confidence in my capabilities was shaken. It has taken over four years to get to a point where I am trusting my own judgement and regaining my confidence – both from a business and personal perspective.

“My involvement in the Be the Business Action Learning group this past year has helped me a great deal. The relationships I’ve built within the group have been inspiring and grounding at the same time. These relationships have helped me become a better listener within my business and have empowered me to handle the challenges that come with an expanding team.”

It’s essential to ask for help

“Whether you feel you’re doing everything right, or think you might benefit from support and guidance, it’s essential to ask for and accept help if you want to grow as a leader. Taking time out of the normal day to day business demands gives you a chance to refocus and get clearer on challenges and new opportunities.”

To sign up for a peer learning group in Cornwall please get in touch at hospitality@bethebusiness.com.

You can learn more about our Cornwall Hospitality network here.

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