Since their beginnings over 40 years ago, Norman’s Business Solutions has been a market leader in sourcing business supplies and services, tailored to every one of their customers. As a family-run business, they’ve gone through periods of fast growth whilst maintaining their reputation of a hassle-free experience, reducing costs, offering streamlined procurement and most importantly – putting a big smile on the faces of their customers.

Based just north of Middlesbrough, they offer a range of services in addition to holding stock of business supplies, interior items, workwear and much more from all the most reputable brands in the industry.

Over the past few years, Norman’s has worked closely with dealer group Office Friendly, where they’ve consulted with their business development team to take the organisation’s efficiency to the next level and bring the best out of their workforce. In 2022, Norman’s leadership team made the investment in their senior management staff, working with Office Friendly’s training provider, Pioneer. Norman’s owner, Matthew Couldry, stated: “Our senior staff members have all the ability in the world which they’ve all learned through their own experience. However, in today’s competitive business world – it’s more important than ever to keep your foot on the gas, and that’s why a training programme is so significant to our business. Working with Office Friendly and the Pioneer team gives us that freedom.”

The problem

The four members of Norman’s senior management team have sizable individual workloads, where they work on individual projects, prioritised to reflect what’s most important to their business. Aiming to provide them with the tools to take a more holistic approach in their management styles, they wanted to revisit the individual skills that encompass good management.

Norman’s Warehouse & Logistics Manager, Benn Lynch said: “The team cohesion in our senior leadership team is second to none. We’re able to work in a both timely and efficient manner, which helps us make the ‘big’ decisions easily. However, it’s no secret that there is room for improvement with our man management and how we work with the individuals in our team and it was imperative that we revisit that.”

With their people being the real power being the business’ success, Norman’s understood the potential rewards of investing in behavioural management skills, change management and problem solving for their leadership team. They focussed on ensuring their team revisit these aspects of their skillsets, aiming to improve their confidence and breed a new level of productivity throughout the entire business, and not just at the very top.

The solution

Norman’s worked closely with Office Friendly and Pioneer’s James Barras, enrolling four members of their leadership team on a leadership development course. James delivered ten training sessions which covered managing people, dealing with difficult behaviour, change management and problem solving. This put things in perspective for the leaders in their organisation, highlighting what they’re doing now and what they should be doing when it comes to working with their respective teams.

A vocational training programme is often not a part of a business’ organisational structure, it offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional education and gives individuals and groups the chance to flourish both now, in the future and most importantly – increase productivity and overall morale.

Matthew said: “Our partnership with Office Friendly has always been a strong, stable and productive one. – so investing in training via Pioneer was a no-brainer for us. The leaders in our business are showcasing the skills that they’ve learnt by working with James in their everyday working practices. Our entire workforce has smiles on their faces again, productivity is on the rise and those in leadership roles are regularly interacting with those within their team.”

The results

By working more closely with their team members, tackling behavioural issues and solving individual problems internally – the Norman’s leadership team are showing big changes in confidence, faith in their own abilities and more careful decision making.

Benn said: “I feel that most individuals with a busy work schedule approach training with some sort of scepticism at first – and I include myself in that. However, the effect of working with James on me personally has been nothing short of amazing. Learning micro-skills, interacting and listening to my team more and taking a hands-on approach to man management has opened so many doors. My team approach me with questions, wanting to learn more from myself and others which has improved overall productivity and workplace happiness. Most amazingly, these improvements have seen that I take on more responsibility at a leadership level.”

By simply upskilling their senior staff members, Normans have improvements in morale and productivity throughout their business – not just in their leadership team.


Do you have skills gaps in your organisation? Get in touch with James Barras today to arrange a FREE organisational training needs analysis worth £200.