High Flyers: Rich goes with the Flow - and to the rhythm of the blues
In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Rich Dale, chief executive of Flowlens.
To take part in the High Flyers Q&A, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
What was your first job?
My parents ran a driving school called Daleway, which my brother now owns. My dad taught us the principles of customer service from an early age; answering the phones, dealing with customers - the good and the bad. You had to think fast with someone on the other end of the phone and it was a great early exposure to selling. I’ve loved it ever since!
What qualifications do you have?
I have a degree in information management from Queen’s University, as well as various sales and management diplomas I’ve accumulated over the years.
What do you attribute your success to?
Not giving up.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
Honest, imaginative, helpful, willing to learn.
Who do you look up to in business?
Firstly, my parents. They taught me a lot about business, sales and looking after your customers. Without their example I wouldn’t have been inspired to do it myself. More widely, I look up to visionary leaders who set trends, don’t settle for the status quo and move mountains to make things happen. I admire the tenacity and vision of Elon Musk. Locally, Brendan Mooney at Kainos, and Neueda’s Brendan Monaghan and Paddy O’Hagan are demonstrating another level of potential to inspire and challenge the next generation of entrepreneurs.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
At Flowlens, I encourage people to be ‘CEO’ of their own job or department. When people are tightly micro-managed you will never get the best out of them.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I think our Northern Irish temperament is too reserved. The innovation and work ethic of many companies is amazing, but we should make more of these achievements and examples locally. We should be proud of our work and celebrate it more to inspire the next generation.
What website or app could you not do without?
I genuinely can’t live without Flowlens, particularly our ‘Tasks’ feature. It helps me plan and prioritise customer interactions and keep on top of follow-ups. I’m fairly persistent at the best of times, but having a constantly developing list of tasks means I don’t miss anything.
What was the last book you read?
Fiction - The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin; non-fiction - Elon Musk Biography by Ashlee Vance.
What car do you drive?
I sold my car just after lockdown began.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I’m one ninth of the Box Car Blues Brothers - a rhythm and blues tribute act to the greatest tribute act of all time, and probably the best movie ever made (in my opinion!). It’s also great exercise, but I run three times a week as an insurance policy.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Music is definitely my greatest passion. There’s nothing better than getting together with a bunch of friends and making some beautiful noise for an hour or two. During lockdown I had more time to get into recording music, and there’s a lot to be said for sticking the headphones on and getting lost in sounds and melodies.