Mentoring for Momentum

by | Mar 15, 2017 | Mentors Blog recently held a seminar “Mentoring for Momentum”  in the Westbury Hotel in Dublin. This was attended by the team, clients and associates of the company. It was an engaging, informative and fun afternoon. In a series of posts from the day here is first on a case study and presentation from  Kevin O’Connor MD of General Paints (Colourtrend brand).

Kevin talked about the history of the family business and the success of the company. Kevin delivered the presentation in an energetic and engaging manner and it was a thoroughly entertaining presentation for all present.

Kevin O'Connor

Kevin O’Connor, Colourtrend

General Paints  was established in 1953.  General Paints is a family run business. Set up by Ronan O’Connor, in Celbridge, Co Kildare, it is now run by his son Kevin. The company has a manufacturing facility run from a section of a Famine Workhouse, dating from 1841. The company has two sides to the business, the industrial coatings side and the decorative side. The decorative side of the business was began in the late 1950’s.

Kevin discussed the main issues of running a family business. He started with the two main question that should be asked of any family business:

  1. Does Family come first?
  2. Does Business come first?

The answer to both questions was a yes. It is a Family and a Business and very interestingly he said that for any successful family business it needs a family plan and a business plan!

He discussed how a family charter was important around the business, family and ownership and the importance of managing expectations around each of these.

Kevin had a number of success factors for the business and likened running a family business to running a PLC. The main criteria here included:

  1. Developing a Family Charter
  2. Running the business like a PLC (including):

Other key success factors included by Kevin were:

  1. Joining associations or relevant bodies for your company
  2. Having an actionable strategic plan (he talked and demonstrated a concept map for developing a strategic plan)
  3. Investing and building a Brand – the investment in Marketing was key
  4. Developing a loyal and committed team…the old saying that people make it all happen (Kevin gave great insights into managing, investing and developing his team)


Mentoring for Momentum

Tommy Murray, and Chairperson of Colourtrend joined in with the / Corporate photography October 2013 Photographer: 1IMAGE/Bryan Brophy 1IMAGE Copyright Notice: Digital images downloaded are licensed for direct/end clients use only and not third party use. Third party usage must be agreed/licensed with 1IMAGE Photography. Hard Copy Printing is not permitted. 1IMAGE Photography©2013 All Rights Reserved 1IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY 51 Knocklyon Road, Templeogue Dublin 16 Ireland Studio: +353 1 493 9947 Mob: +353 87 246 9221

Tommy Murray,

presentation to give his observations of working with the company for the past 7 years.  Tommy broke down the traits for these under:

  1. Culture
  2. Strategy
  3. Systems
  4. Structure

Under Culture Tommy noted the company had the following traits:

  • Very respectful towards Customers, Suppliers, Staff and all Stakeholders
  • High performance mentality
  • Investment in people development
  • Honest & Direct communications
  • Always assuming positive intent
  • Value for money ethos
  • Loyalty is an important value

On the Strategic side Tommy observed:

  • The Management believe is Strategic Planning and looking at the business over longer term horizons
  • Strategic Plans are dynamic & reviewed annually
  • Industry data and market trends are monitored on ongoing basis and fed into Strategy
  • Seek out best practice
  • Project Management is a “way of working”

On the Systems side Tommy noted that the company had:

  • Prepared to invest in systems
  • MRP System
  • KPI’s are used throughout the business. “What gets measured gets done”
  • Sales distribution system highly motivated – no sheds

And finally on the Structure side:

  • Flat Management structure with clarity on roles and responsibilities
  • Infrastructure is old but made, fit for purpose
  • Speed of decision making

A lot of the audience on the day ran family businesses and the value of the presentation was reflected by the quality and volume of questions that followed after fro both Tommy and Kevin. would like to thank Kevin and Tommy for a thoroughly engaging an insightful presentation and Q&A afterwards.

Take a look at Colourtrend’s new TV advert that was recently launched as part of their rebrand:



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