Pic Picot is the Founder of Pic’s Peanut Butter and an Owner Manager Programme alumni.
This Kiwi Business Story is based on a podcast from 14 September 2023, and all figures quoted are from that time. You can enjoy the complete podcast here.
In the podcast, Pic discusses everything from the early days of Pic’s Peanut Butter to climate change and succession planning, plus the foundation of The Food Factory and his personal experience with macular degeneration.
What motivates you as an entrepreneur?
I like to be challenged, I like to exceed what I think I can do… My eyesight’s been deteriorating, but I find the challenges that that throws up are immense, it's fantastic. So I can never get too smug about any of the stuff I do.
I can figure out ways to work around things. So I think that [with] those challenges, and a bit of just sort of dumb confidence, I could give something a crack and have a good chance of it working out!
Has your health affected how you delegate and lead?
The delegation thing… was one of the things I discovered when I went to The Icehouse. I had a unique advantage over a lot of the other guys who were trying to do everything and I had already begun delegating frantically because of my eyesight.
I was very fortunate in that because of the condition, I was actually forced to delegate, so I really didn't have a lot of choice for a lot of the things that I had been doing in the past. I also think that having a bit of a disability people feel they want to look after me!
Because I do have to put a lot of trust in people, I think people rise to that. The more you trust people, the more trustworthy they become. That's been one of the neat things that my vision issues have taught me.
Do you have a leadership style?
I just want to be everybody's friend! I have an awful habit of, if somebody does a bad job, I'll just sort of look as disappointed as I possibly can and hopefully they'll get the idea that they didn't do very well!
… most people, if they're given a good environment to work in, if they're given support, and they're given good people around them – a rising tide lifts all boats – and so we can do a lot for the people around us by giving them support and the like.
What motivated you to do The Icehouse Owner Manager Programme?
I did OMP 32. I felt the need for some sort of training, because I realised that I knew nothing about managing people. In all my businesses in the past, I maybe had one or two people working for me… so I really had no clues, but actually watching [people like] Stuart [Macintosh, General Manager at Pic's Peanut Butter] working – a really skilled manager actually getting the best out of people – I realised that I had a lot to learn.
What were your biggest takeaways from OMP?
I remember [on OMP] so many people suggested that if all of you encourage your people, they do amazing work. I thought you just needed the right people, we've got the wrong people now… as soon as they've gone, we’ll get some decent people and this department will be amazing. I came away from that block thinking, ‘well, I need to try this.’ And everything just changed!
Everybody just started getting totally engaged with what they were doing. You could see the productivity go through the roof, just because people were happier, and I was saying ‘well done, good work’. It was amazing. I couldn't believe how blind I had been not to see this, because I suppose I'd never really worked with a group. I'd always been working on my own… so I had really no experience of what it was like to be patted on the back by the boss.
How else did OMP impact your business?
One of the things I would like to acknowledge about The Icehouse was the level of commitment that we all made to each other on that course. 15-20 incredibly busy people, and we had family commitments and things, but every six weeks, we were going away for a long weekend. Anybody could have not gone because they had a family thing going on, kids’ birthdays, crises at work, but people were still turning up. And the reason we did it was for everyone else in the group, because we'd made such a strong commitment to each other. So that was very powerful.
[On the difference between friends and business owners] You can't really talk about what it's like to deal with millions of dollars. It’s not a thing you can talk about with everybody, they don't quite get it. You can talk about it with your accountants and your lawyers, but they've got such a different lens.
When you're talking with people who actually get it and are in the same sort of boat as you, it's a very different thing. I very quickly realised that we all had very similar issues… the similarities are much more powerful than those differences.