This is a blog and a website.
The blog is a space for my thoughts about the issues and areas that I am exploring in my work and reading. Since moving away from a full-time corporate role into a portfolio of roles in 2016 I have had the time and freedom to write a bit more, and much wider range of experiences to feed my thinking.
The non-blog part of the website gives me an opportunity to position my portfolio of activity to help the portfolio to grow, with people who don’t yet know me, or know me for one specific thing only. That part is a bit “sales-y” but I think it probably has to be.
Since early 2016, I have built and continue to develop a portfolio of activities, with organisations and people that I can relate to. I’m at my happiest when I’m making an intervention that has a lasting impact in quite short bursts of my input, whether as a non-executive on a board, doing a piece of very high impact advisory (such as a quick review which makes recommendations that improve the performance of an organisation for years to come), or as a coach, helping lift an individual’s performance in ways that benefit them and those who work with them and receive the fruit of their labours, for the future. So the underpinning theme of the portfolio is to achieve high leverage of my experience to date, to help people and organisations who do things that I care about.
I tend to be drawn to organisations who are improving public services, helping people at a point of vulnerability, civic entrepreneurs, those addressing environmental concerns, and those who see the transformative power of education, art and science for raising the quality of human life. I don’t mind if the people doing those things are accountable to shareholders, their own staff, or some other group – so long as they are focused on the service user. I do like it when they are not too far away from accountability to elected people, because that’s usually a sign that it’s important, and meaningful.
I am fascinated by the fact that people come together in order to do things, how they organise in order to do so, and how the emergent complexity is managed. I am especially interested in how this plays out in the particularly complex stakeholder environment of the public sector. The place where these issues are most pronounced is usually when organisations come together in cross-boundary or cross-sector working.
I’m fascinated by the role of evidence (especially quantitative evidence) in decision-making. We’re at an interesting time when the “tools, culture, processes, business models and technology of the internet-era” are making themselves felt in ways which are new to those who (like me) developed our organisational thinking during the 20th Century, and I have really enjoyed learning more about these and thinking about how we need to adapt to adopt the new approaches. I enjoy getting hands-on in working on some of these issues with people who live the reality of them.
In terms of what I have to offer – I’ve been very lucky in the breadth of my career and the opportunities I have been given (or been able to create). In more than thirty years I have not suffered from a situation where some years have been a near-repeat of previous ones. It has definitely not been the same year repeated thirty times. My roles have spanned public, private and voluntary sectors. I’ve operated in senior top team executive roles and non-executive ones. I have had “hand to hand” change management operational roles and very strategic, advisory ones.
I’ve been commercial development director for a large financial services organisation, deputy chief executive of a county council, MD of a 120-person management consultancy, chair of an arts charity, senior executive headhunter for a major firm, chair of the finance and commercial committee of an entrepreneurial public sector organisation, director of culture change in a london borough, audit chair for a world-class agricultural research institute, board development adviser, team facilitator, a paid coach and unpaid mentor, local government sector strategist and market adviser for a top service provider, member of HMT/DCLG appointed independent service transformation challenge panel …
… underpinned by formal training – a BSc in Maths and an MSc in Operational Research, a London Business School MBA, a PGDip (Art History – for fun), Cabinet Office Top Management Programme alumnus, and executive education at Harvard’s Kennedy School, the Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, and at Ashridge. I’m a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, the Institute of Directors, the OR Society and the RSA.
That’s the base from which the portfolio began. The portfolio is growing in these ways:
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