Cornish business leaders were given an inspirational pep talk at the latest Future Focus event last week.

The Visionary Leaders event, held at the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth, saw delegates leave with the resounding message to be passionate, authentic and bravely break from the routine in order to lead high performing, happy teams.

Opening the event, Ellis Watson, executive chairman of DC Thomson and former global CEO of Simon Cowell’s Syco Corporation, kick-started with inspiring advice on how to cultivate passion in teams, by encouraging leaders to unlock themselves from the day to day.

“Don’t get stuck in routine, allow more autonomy in your workforce and you will be surprised at what they have to offer,” he said. “Passion is the stuff that makes average people want to do better and good people want to be brilliant.”

He continued: “Running a business in Cornwall is exactly the same as running a business of any size anywhere else in the world. The assumptions that geographic location can limit the growth or success of a company is simply not true.”

Remarking that Cornish businesses are ideally placed when it comes to innovation, he concluded by encouraging delegates in the room to identify what innovation looks, or could look, like within their businesses.

The morning continued with the second keynote Samantha Clarke, whose ‘Happiness Consultant’ title resounded through her insightful presentation on how to cultivate happy teams at work.

Challenging the audience to consider their ‘employer brand’ when recruiting, she said: “Today’s workforce are looking for companies who are aligned with their values, socially conscious and have a drive for more than just profit.”

Furthermore, Clarke enlightened businesses on ways to improve staff retention rates, using tools such as Stay Interviews, fostering company culture and implementing happiness metrics.

Future Focus is a business innovation programme which includes inspirational speaker events designed to help Cornish business leaders rise to the challenges and identify opportunities of future growth. Delivered in partnership with the University of Exeter, the £4.7 million programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and aims to give Cornish businesses tools, resources and collaborative networks designed to help them break boundaries, innovate and grow.