Ex-Dragons’ Den James Caan: ‘Train your people, embrace innovation and you will grow’

Former Dragons’ Den panellist, investor, entrepreneur James Caan, was one of the keynote speakers at yesterday’s (June 25) Skillsoft’s 2015 EMEA Perspectives conference, which was held a the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London. 

Former Dragons’ Den panellist, investor and entrepreneur James Caan, was one of the keynote speakers at yesterday’s (June 25) Skillsoft’s 2015 EMEA Perspectives conference, which was held at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London. 

Caan addressed the audience at the annual event, which recognises the best in learning and development and talent management, and commented on the importance of people and passion and how it could develop a business.

He said: “The key thing you experience is market changes, people’s behaviour and technology transform, so if you don’t stay in touch even the biggest brand in the world can easily become out of touch. Unless you adapt your workforce and people and culture, your business will lose its competitive edge.”

The CEO and Founder of Hamilton Bradshaw, a private equity firm which specialises in turnarounds and development opportunities in the UK and Europe, highlighted the importance of recognising how to embrace that change in order to achieve success. 

“If you have a leadership and development program where you are consistently looking for people and seeing what the business is doing you will be surprised at who comes along and who can fundamentally make a difference to that business. You don’t even know half of the time.”

He advised growing businesses to remain flexible and creative and take risks. “Observe the masses and do the opposite. It takes courage to do it…always challenge convention.”​

As the Chairman of the Board of StartUp Loans, a scheme to give the next generation of entrepreneurs the finance and support to potentially start over 30,000 new businesses, Caan emphasised the value of soft skills and understanding how people communicate and make decisions. 

“Organisations have to be a bit dynamic, going off in a different direction isn’t a bad thing. If you get it right it can be massive”, he added.


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