Welcome to my regular series entitled "My Light Bulb Moment". This column highlights a blinding flash of insight business, cultural and sports leaders have experienced and how this changed their lives forever.

Scott Kington — co-founder and managing director, Blunt Umbrellas

After gaining a MSc in Marine Science from the University of Auckland, Scott travelled the world working in various roles for a number of years before returning in his early thirties with a wife in tow and a baby on the way. After a successful career in sales, Scott was then convinced to partner with highly innovative design engineer Greig Brebner in the production of Greig's new state-of-the-art "personal weather protection canopy" (umbrella). And so Blunt Umbrellas was born ...

Ten years later, Blunt has 14 international distributors and has sold their highly innovative products in more than 30 countries around the world. Gracing influential global magazines such as The Wall Street Journal, Wired and Gizmodo, this pioneering Kiwi business is redefining a 4,500-year-old technology and industry.

Lightbulb moment - Have a successful and sustainable work life balance

"Early in my career, sitting in traffic to be at the office at a prescribed time, debating with a superior why a tie was necessary to a 'professional look', quickly became a stressful and disempowering experience."

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However, rummaging through a second-hand book fair one Easter at Mangawhai Heads, Scott picked up a book by Ricardo Semler titled Maverick, highlighting highly original and alternative ways to run your business, your team and your life.

Suddenly Scott had his lightbulb moment. "It's absolutely vital that to get the best out of people, you have to allow them to live a balanced life. If we have the modern tools to help make our lives more balanced, then we should be using them!"

"When we got the chance to set up Blunt as a company, I insisted that if we were going to be working all hours then flexibility is a must. We are a small passionate team, however I'd suggest one big success is we all really appreciate our work/life balance."

Scott works long and strange hours dealing with distributors all over the world but still manages to drop the kids off to school and take an active part in their extra-curricula activities. "I am a present Dad - while running a company via my smartphone and a computer."

Trust and empower your team.

"As a business leader, you need to do all you can to ensure they are happy and motivated - and the best way to do this is to give them trust and responsibility. Give them ability to organise their own time to meet the demands of their job."

If you have had a blinding moment of insight, please email me as I would love to hear about it.


Tom O'Neil is an award-winning business speaker and bestselling international author. Email tom@OnePercentGuy.com.