A third generation owner, whose philosophy is “care about your team and demonstrate it daily,” pulls his leadership style and core values from the two men who came before him. Sean Horsfall gave us some insight into how Lens Cove Marina, located in Portland, Ontario, continues to provide exceptional service to their customers.
Q: You are a third generation owner. At what point did you know that you wanted to continue in the family business?
Horsfall: I started on the docks when I was 13, back in 1987. I had been a “marina rat” for years before that. Most of my childhood friendships started there.
Although I always loved it, there was a part of me that thought about other things. For a while I wanted to be an architect, and then in banking/finance. In my third year of university, it clicked – I wanted to go back. I started seeing what I was learning could help and be applied, and I missed home.
Q: What is it about the values of your family business that you can rely on to help you find success?
Horsfall: My grandfather Len was a caring social butterfly. My father is the hustler, “get stuff done” type. I try to look at both examples and draw from the best of them whenever possible. Ultimately although we have many core values, they all point to one thing: make it right, and everything else comes naturally.
Q: What is the most interesting decision you’ve made while in the boating business?
Horsfall: Interesting is likely one of those “eye of the beholder” questions. What I have found interesting is how to look at a sore point for a consumer, and turn it into an opportunity. Transitioning the risk from them to you was a move that no one that I know has followed. That was the antithesis of the Len’s Cove Assurance Plan.
Q: You’ve demonstrated yourself to be an industry leader when it comes to employee development/training to fuel the success of Len’s Cove culture? Tell us about your philosophy here, how you developed your thinking around this, and how it has worked for you.
Horsfall: My philosophy is simple: Care about your team and demonstrate it daily. Simple communications and honest praise and a genuine caring for them as humans firstly gets your foot in the door. Once there, give them feedback and candid criticism. They may not want to hear it at first, and it may be tough to honestly give sometimes. However, if they know you are coming from a place of caring, then they will accept it and ultimately appreciate it.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your position?
Horsfall: Seeing families on the water having fun because of our efforts is really what brings it home for me. That and doing the same thing with my family all summer long and seeing the blending of work and leisure work to my advantage. When you can take your son and daughter surfing while a customer sees that for the first time and you end up selling a boat because of it = magic.
Q: What are 5 things that people may not know about you?
- I am a diehard Dallas Cowboys and Ottawa Senators fan.
- I live on an island all summer and get to luckily commute to work every day by boat.
- My wife is my rock, and as a Principal in a public school is an amazing sounding board for leadership ideas and how to get buy in from all stakeholders.
- I love to read…between paper, kindle/digital, and audiobooks, I likely get through about 25-30 books a year.
- No country music please. I’d sooner listen to nails on a chalkboard ;-)
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