Mark Boddington is the entrepreneurial founder and driving force behind Silverlining – the award-winning, luxury, bespoke furniture brand found in palaces, embassies, museums, yachts and the private residences of the super rich.
Silverlining has a positioning and price proposition unique in the world.
It is considered by many experts to be ‘best of breed’ and take it from someone who has experienced their client work at different stages of the design and production process, the tag is richly deserved.
Earning that tag hasn’t come easy for Mark and his dedicated team of designers, engineers, craftsmen and project managers.
Like many of today’s successful companies and brands, Silverlining has endured and enjoyed the highs and lows of the growth journey since their launch to the marketplace in 1985.
They continue – despite global uncertainty and competition – to surprise and inspire their discerning clients with remarkable work and the main reason for their success I believe is down to their great founder.
Mark Boddington is a modern-day business Pharaoh
Building the ‘Silverlining’ Pyramid began over four decades ago.
Encouraged by his grand-mother, Mark developed a passion for furniture making as a young boy.
Inspired by the work of John Makepeace he transferred his early student learning experience to a belief that he and his team could produce the ‘best furniture in the world’ and the ‘antiques of the future’.
Silverlining was born and he set out on a journey to set new boundaries for furniture making, design and craftsmanship.
He recruits the best talent available to him, supports them with the latest technology, equipment and materials and empowers them to deliver for his clients ‘the ultimate Silverlining experience’.
I had the pleasure of working with Mark in the early days of his journey and then recently as he wished to use our Winning Formula® framework to support his future plans for the brand.
We were invited to work with Mark and his team on the development of a new vision for the company and the production of a ‘Blueprint for Success’ which reflected their ambition on the next leg of their journey.
Working with him ‘up close’ gave me the unique opportunity to identify some of the lessons we can all learn from his leadership approach.
The Silverlining Vision
The Silverlining Vision is ambitious, compelling and truly inspiring.
‘We aim to become the most inspiring furniture brand of the 21st century, where design, craftsmanship, innovation and engineering come together to make our clients’ dreams come true.’
‘We will achieve this by continuously pushing the boundaries of design and innovation. Our focus will always be on delivering unrivalled quality, groundbreaking craftsmanship and a unique client experience.’
Like a unique piece of Silverlining furniture, each word used in the development of their vision is carefully selected, beautifully communicated and powerfully delivered.
But their vision doesn’t stop with the opening two sentences.
Three hundred and sixty words are pieced together highlighting the experience expected on the journey for everyone connected with the company including suppliers, partners, stakeholders and others.
Each word is used to inspire, enthuse and engage.
Their vision highlights the themes important to the future success of the company and the operational focus required to deliver the Silverlining ‘Blueprint for Success’.
Mark described our work with him as ‘the most significant piece of work carried out by the organisation in its 25 year history’.
A new journey, a new vision, a new destination, a new route map and a new adventure. And new lessons.
We can learn a great deal from Mark Boddington’s vision and his leadership approach.
Ten lessons from Mark Boddington’s Vision and ‘Blueprint for Success’
1. Mark Boddington has a ‘real passion’ for his work and has transferred this to a commercial proposition unmatched in his marketplace.
2. He believes in sharing with and working on the future plans for the brand with each and every employee. This creates a sense of ownership critical to the future success of the company.
3. Mark manages to concentrate his time on being a leader and a visionary, whilst at the same time returning to his roots of creativity and cabinet making. This keeps him in touch with the business.
4. He recognises the importance of producing compelling reasons for others to join him on the Silverlining journey. The size of the people opportunity extends to reward and recognition, investment in training, maximising the brand potential, new market opportunities and timing. Each reason helps to recruit new talent into the company.
5. Mark and his team have produced a truly compelling vision of the future for Silverlining. Their aim to ‘become the most inspiring furniture brand of the 21st century’ is an ambitious destination to reach on their growth journey.
6. His passion for furniture making extends to his commitment to supporting British craftsmanship and the passing of knowledge and skills onto the next generation.
7. He leads by example and personally demonstrates the three core values important to Silverlining – excellence, passion and innovation. The Mark Boddington and Silverlining brands are inextricably linked.
8. Mark understands the importance today of many of the key cultural behaviours important to him when he first started out. Founding behaviours still exist within the business including attention to detail, professionalism, ambition and a ‘can do’ spirit.
9. Mark possesses other rare qualities, including courage and tenacity. These qualities enable him to turn ideas into action. Many of the Silverlining product designs come to fruition because Mark is prepared to ‘produce where others only dream’.
10. Mark believes in trusting others with the reputation of the Silverlining brand. Of course mistakes are sometimes made, but this is almost entirely as a result of his people’s commitment to ‘pushing the boundaries’ of design and craftsmanship. More importantly, Mark understands this and doesn’t condemn or criticise others for taking risks. Risk and reward go hand in hand at Silverlining.
Mark Boddington is a great founder.
He is a modern-day business Pharaoh, committing his energy and time to building a successful and sustainable ‘Silverlining’ pyramid.
Great founders, like great Pharaohs are rare.
Great founders have a real sense of purpose and meaning to their work. They play to their strengths and recognise the need to recruit talent to support their growth plans.
Great founders realise they cannot do it all on their own. They recognise they need the help and support of others to deliver success on their unique journey.
They never compromise on the values and behaviours important to the success of their brand and their company.
Great founders are proud of their achievements and are committed to the ‘long game’ whilst understanding how to play the ‘short game’.
Great founders create memorable journeys that others wish to be part of.
Great founders have real ambition. They are not dreamers and their vision transfers to ‘a sense of adventure’ for everyone connected with them on their journey.
Great founders are also great leaders and Mark Boddington is a great leader.
Best wishes on your business growth journey, wherever it may take you.
Founder of The Winning Formula
PS. Mark Boddington and Silverlining feature in the modern-day Pharooh section of Building the Pyramid.