Leaders in Conversation with Anni Townend

Anni Townend in Conversation with Dougal Fleming, Sustainable Business Leader

November 17, 2021 Anni Townend and Dougal Fleming Episode 27
Leaders in Conversation with Anni Townend
Anni Townend in Conversation with Dougal Fleming, Sustainable Business Leader
Show Notes

For episode 27 of the Leaders in Conversation podcast, Anni talks to sustainable business leader, adventurer and proud family man Dougal Fleming.

Dougal talks passionately to Anni about sustainable business and manufacture practices and how his family and community values, alongside a love of the natural world, have shaped his leadership. He also talks openly about the evolution of his professional identity, and why he is keen to empower other business leaders.

Background and philopsophy
Over the past six years, Dougal has been the public face of Alistair Fleming Design, an award-winning bespoke kitchen design consultancy based in Lewes, East Sussex. Working alongside company Director, his father Alistair.

Dougal is passionate about sustainable design and fostering sustainable business growth practices aligned to the circular economy. Having been trained by the MD Hub in Business Leadership, he is now presenting and facilitating Business Model workgroups to introduce circular principles and profitable, environmentally-conscious additional revenue streams.

The circular economy, he explains, is a way for business leaders to “unleash [themselves] from the commonly accepted linear economic model” towards a more eco-conscious way of working, and way of producing. This is achieved through a three-pronged approach that considers: 1. Design out waste & pollution. 2. keep products and materials in use. 3 Regenerate natural systems.

Nature connection

Dougal’s desire to be in sync with, and of benefit to, the natural world comes from both his family’s deep-rooted connection to nature and his personal experiences. As an avid adventurer and traveler, Dougal has rock climbed, kayaked, sailed, skied and cycled his way around Europe and South America as an outdoor instructor. 

When he’s not with client’s in the Alistair Fleming studio, he offers rewilding adventure tours in the Sussex Downs. His tours give people a chance to “re-wild their instincts” and tune in to the “conversations” of the natural world. He is also a proud partner and father to his young family, and is a coach at a men's football team in Lewes.

Commenting on how he divides his time, he tells Anni it “takes a lot of energy”. This zest for life is something he has inherited from his mother in particular, he reveals.

Finally, Dougal shares some tips for leaders and business, including “peer to peer listening” because “sometimes being an MD, or being a leader can be a lonely place.”

Listen to the full episode to discover 

  • Family dynamics and the impact of family heritage and family values
  • How personal identity can shift and evolve
  • The importance of partnerships and collaboration in the community
  • The circular economy and butterfly diagram as a means to achieving more sustainable production and business practices 
  • Adding cyclical loops into your business model to generate more revenue
  • Why businesses and governments need more leaders who speak the language of nature 
  • The power of taking business conversations outside
  • Nature connection as a force for good and how rewilding can reawaken the senses 
  • Using outdoor sport (football) as a way to break down barriers and build friendships and healthy competition

Find out more and connect with Dougal

 Discover more at alistairflemingdesign.co.uk or connect with Alistair and Dougal on instagram @alistairflemingdesign. You can find Dougal’s rewilding tours under @rewild_adventure