Orlando Martins Profiles in Excellence

Awards night Tuesday 14th November Grosvenor House, London


Business leaders are truly invaluable when it comes to being effective catalysts for communicating strategies, motivating employees to achieve greater productivity and, as a wider point – navigating the choppy industry waters of current times. Businesses, now more than ever, are reliant on leaders of business to take the helm and make sure the industry can stay on the right track.

Leading the way, growth architect Orlando Martins, sat down with the team to talk us through what makes a great leader, and how integral it is to the success of not only the business itself, but the industry as a whole.

What makes a good leader in business?

That depends on which management book you read. Views on which ‘great’ attributes differ greatly. Some advocate the servant leader, others the military driver. Whilst we all agree on having someone to drive the bus, the variables of who that should be are infinite and can vary by industry.

But in a nutshell, a good leader takes the lead, and leads by example. A good leader has personality, courage, clear vision with ambition to succeed. A good leader encourages everyone to perform to their best version of themselves all the time and drives results.

If I had to reel off some key attributes, they’d be: effective communication, acts with integrity, clearly delegates, is self-aware, display’s gratitude, has a growth mindset, has presence and influence, is empathetic, has courage and shows respect. There’s just a few for you there!

What would it mean for a business to win the Leader of the Year Award?

I think that for a business to win Leader of the Year Award – It’s like the biggest pat on the back they can have. Very often, leaders of businesses don’t actually feel like they are acknowledged or rewarded in any meaningful way. It is often a very lonely journey leading a business.

If it were me winning Leader of the Year, it would really be an acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication of the whole team.  The accolade, acknowledges that holistically we, not just me as a leader, have been doing the right things.

Winning LOTY is important in terms of press attention, employee engagement, employee pride, financial reasons & investor confidence.

Are good leaders born or can you train to be a good leader?

No one is born a leader. But through teaching and nurturing, leaders are made. Alexander the Great was tutored by Aristotle. Oprah drew her inspiration from Maya Angelou. And Mark Zuckerberg was mentored by his business icon, Steve Jobs.

But I do think there are leaders that have innate leadership skills – perhaps not genetic, but they may have been predisposed to environmental factors including family and background experiences that have taught them how to be great leaders. It is all about development along the way. You can certainly train to be one.

 What makes the Growth Index stand out against other business aggregated lists?

Growth Index is purist in methodology and form. We determine whether by the agreed methodology a company can be included or not,  and then it is all about the numbers.  We don’t exclude based any other subjective / editorial criteria.

Whilst other lists focus on growth only.  We focus on good growth  – growth that is profitable, ethical, sustainable and socially conscious. 

Growth Index therefore is about inspiring and encouraging companies to grow in a good way through the inclusion of company stories behind the numbers – encapsulating the inspiration for other businesses to aspire to be on the Growth Index.

What do you project for business growth going into 2023 and beyond?

Very clear that the macro environment means that there are challenges for all businesses, however, every recession and exceptions like COVID, show that businesses with the right proposition and strategy will continue to grow against adversity. I don’t have my crystal ball as to specific companies, but I strongly believe there will be great growth in the business landscape on the whole and very excited to see how areas like AI develop.

How much has the cost-of-living crisis impacted business growth?

The cost-of-living crisis has absolutely impacted business growth, especially consumer led businesses that usually target customers with less disposable income. However, there is no question that everyone will feel the pinch to some extent until inflation comes down, which bar significant macros changes we fully expect to happen.

Do you see any obvious solutions that can help businesses in the UK?

One of the themes that came up really clearly in this years’ Growth Index was the challenge of levelling up the regions. In particular, there was not one company from Northern Ireland and only one company from Wales and Scotland respectively. In actuality, when you look outside the South East corner of the UK it was pretty challenging.

An obvious solution would be that there needs to be more focus on regional levelling up – looking at how we can level up every city across the UK. My dream proposal would be for there to be simple and easy access routes to (1) education (2) knowledge / research (3) initiatives to encourage fast growth companies to grow in the right way and (4) most importantly access to finance. Our findings clearly demonstrated that the concentration of finance, financial institutions and finance professionals in the South is a challenge for growing businesses.

Have you spotted any business trends starting to crop up across the business industry?

During COVID the vast majority worked from home, post-COVID most organisations have struggled with the balance of hybrid working – and we are definitely seeing more companies encouraging people back to the office. However, I believe hybridism is here to stay and winning organisations will find a way to balance it appropriately.

At ORESA, One of the things, my team are seeing is candidates increasingly asking about the purpose, the ethics and the values of the companies we are approaching them for. That is a marked change from the past.

One of the other things we are seeing is clients and organisations taking more time to evaluate what their actual requirements are. Making sure that structure is fully thought through and fit for purpose. This ensures that strategic business challenges are truly solved through people, rather than reverse engineering people into problem positions which all to often fails.

Why have you chosen to sponsor the British Business Excellence Awards?

The BBEA’s are the leading awards for British businesses with a rich history and legacy. They are all-encompassing – featuring and recognises a wide array of businesses and accolades.

Do you have any advice for businesses looking to win the Leader of the Year Award?

Being able to express their vision, mission, and purpose clearly is vital. Demonstrate strong leadership values whilst exemplifying how they have overcome challenges and planned for the future.