The septuagenarian head of a 100-year-old family-owned company has urged business leaders to maintain some boundaries between work and personal life, saying that it can be “lonely at the top”.
Geoff Richards, the managing director of garden products and fertilisers manufacturer Richgro, suggested that the increasingly blurred lines between socialising and networking can in some instances do more harm than good.
“In spite of what everyone says, in many ways it's lonely at the top,” Mr Richards told My Business.
“I think a lot of people get confused between socialising and business – there are people that get that confused to the point where their business suffers.”
According to Mr Richards, the complete breaking down of barriers between the two aspects of life can create unwanted and unnecessary complications.
“I'm a firm believer that you can still socialise and relax and have friendships, but don't bring business activities into it: I think that adds a level of confusion that is not really needed,” he said.
“I think you have to be disciplined to be able to separate that if you really want to stay focused on your business.”
He added, “I don't hold myself up as a beacon on how things should be done or shouldn't be done, but I suppose at 70 years of age I can afford to suggest: that's the way we've done it, it's worked for us. But that doesn't mean to say it will work for everybody else.”