14 August 2019

For our next 'leaders in the spotlight' article we get career tips and talk vikings with David Armstrong at Flagship Group.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into the housing sector.

I’m the CFO at Flagship Group and have been here almost 10 years (the longest I’ve ever worked in one place). I joined as the Head of IT, looking for a new challenge after a long career in financial services. I saw the advert in the local press and had to Google what a housing association was. It really sparked my interest, but to be honest I was worried it might be slow and risk averse – I couldn’t have been more surprised and delighted!

2. What do you like most about your job?

To be honest, everything! I love that there is scale to invest and experiment, and that we can see results quickly. It’s an exciting, dynamic place to work with great people – engaged, energised and constantly improving our service. I don’t think we recognise this enough in the sector. There is a tremendous amount of activity, all geared towards delivering outstanding customer service and solving the housing crisis. What I love most is the sense of purpose, knowing that our profit helps to provide homes is a very powerful motivator.

3. And what do you find most challenging?

As fast as we want to go, you always want to go a bit faster. And as a sector, we’re sometimes still shy about what we do.

4. The tagline for the event this year is ‘lead from where you stand’. Have you got any tips or words of wisdom for the leaders of tomorrow on making an impact in their current role?

It’s important to remember that leadership is about being ambitious for the company. You don’t need to resolve every problem or identify every opportunity. It’s up to you to create an environment to try new things, challenge ideas (disagreement is not disrespect!) and take the time to reflect.

5. Tell us about fictional character from a book or film that you admire and think demonstrates great leadership skills.

Ragnar Lothbrok, the King from ‘Vikings’. Ragnar recognised the need for change. He wasn’t afraid to take risks or challenge the status quo. He was inclusive and understood the need for different skills; not just warriors but the boat builders, navigators and farmers. For a time not renowned for its diversity, he saw female warriors as equals on the battlefield, freed slaves and welcomed new religions. Who you were and where you came from didn’t matter – what you could contribute, was all that counted.

Find out more about joining the next Future Housing Leaders cohort.

David Armstrong

David is CFO at Flagship Group

In addition to his role on the Flagship Group Board, David is Chair of the Flagship Housing Development Board, Director at the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, a member of the NHF Finance Policy Advisory Group and Chair of the Eastern Region Finance Directors forum.

Leaders in the spotlight: David Armstrong