Henry set up Happy Computers in his back room in Hackney 20 years ago. Today he is CEO of Happy Ltd, and in 2009 the ‘Guru Radar of the Thinkers 50 list’ proclaimed him one of the most influential business thinkers in the world.
So how on earth did he do it?
In early 1987, Henry Stewart was finance officer for The News on Sunday, a left-wing tabloid newspaper that successfully raised £6.5m from trade unions and Labour local authority pension funds. Six weeks after launch, the publication was bankrupt.
“The problem was not the talent or dedication of the people,” Henry says. “It was the working environment. We weren’t trusted, there was a strong ‘blame’ culture and we weren’t given the freedom to do our jobs. As a result, is was nearly impossible to get anything done”.
Determined to learn from this, he set up Happy Computers in his back room a year later. From a combination of experience, revaluation counselling and a few helpful tips from Richard Semler’s ‘Maverick’ book, he drew together the key principles of training and work that continue to form the backbone of Happy today.
As Happy Computers continued to grow it gained respect and recognition by the industry. Henry realised that in creating a great place to work, there was a new opportunity to tell other organisations how they also could create a similar working environment. Happy became a brand, to encompass not just IT training, but management, customer service and personal development.
In 2009, Henry was listed as one of the top 50 most influential business thinkers in the world by the Guru Radar of thinkers.
If you want to to talk to Henry on anything you’ve read, contact him.
Henry is available to speak at your event.
You can also follow Henry on Twitter @happyhenry.
Outside of Happy, he lives in Stoke Newington, is Chair of Governors of his local comprehensive school and enjoys Saturday mornings sipping hot chocolate in Clissold Park cafe.
A keen cyclist, in July 2008 and 2010 he cycled the Etape, the public stage of the Tour de France – consisting of 105 miles through the highest mountains of the Pyrenees. Read the full story