Case Study: Hameln

How Strategic Support and Mentoring Can Lead to Long Term Success

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Steve Watkin

Thanks to a rapidly growing business, Stephen enlisted Steve’s help over 10 years ago to work with the team and improve their management structure to make it fit for purpose as well as provide training and development.

What they got was the benefit of Steve’s experience, giving them valuable insight into the difficulties they were likely to face as a business and enabling them to chart a different course.

Fast forward to now, and Stephen still works from time to time with Steve, enjoying ad hoc mentoring sessions that he says still provide tremendous foresight and strategic support that is very much appreciated.

hameln pharmaceuticals supply generic, or unbranded, medicines to NHS and private hospitals as well as wholesalers. They specialise in providing critical care medicines that are cost effective and use intelligent packaging design to help reduce the likelihood of medication error.

Stephen Watkin is the Sales and Marketing Director Europe/MENA for hameln and has worked within the business for many years.

The Problem – Struggling to keep up with the pace of growth

Stephen brought Steve onboard during a time of rapid growth, when the business was expanding but strategy and process were lagging behind. In his words, they’d “grown without changing the way they saw the business.”

Stephen wanted someone who had experience of industry and big business to take a look at what was going on and offer some advice and insight.

What Did We Do?

At the start Steve went into hameln, spoke to key members of the senior team and did some analysis of the situation. It was recognised that something needed to be done to address the management structure and strategic planning as well as changing the culture of the company to help it act more like the big business it was becoming.

Coming from the outside, and with a background in businesses of all sizes across a wealth of different industries, Steve was able to offer valuable insight into not just the problems being faced by the company at that time, but the ones that were likely to crop up down the line.

Steve worked with team members at an individual level as well as the group as a whole to open their minds to a number of things that they hadn’t thought about before.

An Ongoing Relationship

Steve has continued to work with Stephen in the capacity of a mentor over many years since, offering foresight and one-to-one guidance on many topics.

As Stephen explains,

“As a managing director you sit in a fairly isolated position, and you can either work with local trade bodies and local business groups or you can work with a mentor.

As the nature of our business is fairly discrete and having worked with Steve recently I felt it would be really helpful to get his advice on so many different elements: including where the business is going and the strategic interplay of my evolving role.”

And the Results?

With this kind of one to one relationship, working in a high-level mentoring capacity, it can be extremely difficult to share objective results. While of course we set goals and return to them to make sure we’re heading in the right direction, many of these goals will be private or personal goals that our clients are not happy to share.

While sometimes when we return to our goals we find that events have overtaken us, we’ve been pulled in other directions and in fact achieved in different areas.

In this case, rather than results, we’ll return to Stephen’s opinion – what does he think have been the main benefits to him of his work with Steve over the years?

  • “Steve’s independence and fantastic foresight has been really valuable to us. Earlier on there was some fantastic advice that Steve gave that was about succession planning, which turned out to have been an absolutely critical issue for us but we didn’t spot it until about two and a half years after Steve did. Luckily we’d taken his advice on board.”


  • One of the things Steve is very good at doing at is holding up the mirror, enabling me to see things a little more objectively. He’s enabled me to get a better understanding of interactions among teams and individuals..


  • If Steve hadn’t given us the insights back in 2007 / 2008 I’m not convinced we’d be at the level that we are now. I’m not convinced we would have weathered some of the storms that we have had to face.”
ny individual who’s evolving and any CEO who’s in an organisation in change could benefit from Steve’s mentoring.

I don’t think Steve has ever given me a piece of poor advice. Everything he advises, whether it be at the strategic level for the business or on a one to one level is insightful, it’s clear, it’s easy to understand. And it’s done with a sense of genuine engagement.

I’m one of those people who ordinarily would say ‘ I don’t need this at all, I’m not interested it’s a waste of time,’ But that’s not the way it is with Steve.

Steve is bluntly honest. And that for me is critical. You need to work with somebody who’s not going to have a hidden agenda. You need to work with someone who’s going to tell you the truth, who’s going to identify what your problems are even if you don’t like to hear it.

Would I recommend him to my competitors? No. Would I recommend him to somebody who’s not in the same industry as me? Absolutely. Steve Watkin | Managing Director, hameln pharmaceuticals