The complexity of the working environment requires an integrated approach to developing people. A focus on innovation cannot be separated from, for example, a consideration of change or understanding dimensions of leadership. Both are necessary if an innovative idea is to gain traction. The right idea, depends on understanding the market and the business strategy. Achieving the right blend of inputs depends on the outcome being sought. The outcome you seek is our starting point. Our interventions take this, and the knowledge of current capability, skills and the culture of the organisational to deliver an improvement in individual, team and organisational performance.
Having spent many years helping people in business improve their personal and team performance through developing a range of skills be that goal setting, feedback, having the difficult conversations or others, we set ourselves a challenge. Could we, through applying the business skills we taught others, take on a sporting challenge that had defeated Olympians and succeed? It would require all the elements we knew critical to business success; the discretionary effort of lots of people, belief, great goals, teamwork, regular reviews, innovative thinking, project management and above all hard work. It would mean helping two average, amateur cyclists who had full time day jobs become elite level ultra-endurance athletes. If we succeeded, it would also demonstrate the suspicion we had that business has as much to teach sport as sport has to teach business. In 2015, after five years of effort and two failed attempts, we successfully broke the Lands End to John O’Groats Tandem record when Dominic Irvine and Charlie Mitchell completed the 842 miles (1355kms) in a shade over 45 hours, smashing the old record which had stood for 49 years by in excess of 5 hours. We don’t just understand performance – we’ve lived and breathed it. We know how to help ordinary people do extraordinary things.
Whether it’s the first step on the management ladder or a seasoned senior manager our aim is to help people improve the results they can achieve by being better managers. We do this by helping them become more effective through improving their self awareness and or evaluating what they are doing that is helping or hindering working with and through others. We also teach people the core skills of performance management, goal setting, time management, building effective relationships, employee engagement, change management and business transformation, feedback and communication. We help them understand how to change behaviour at an individual, team and organisational level. Above all, we do this with the end in mind – driving up business performance.
Despite the fact that change is a way of life for most people in business, if managed inappropriately it can stymie performance and lead to disengagement and frustration. We focus not so much on what you want to change – you are the experts in that, but on helping the managers and leaders in the business think about how they drive change and equipping them with the skills to ensure it is managed well and improves levels of engagement.
Our strength, is to design leadership interventions that help deliver the business strategy. “We need better leaders….” for what? Simply helping people become better leaders is like teaching someone to surf who never goes to the beach. It can be interesting, but delivers little real value. Leadership is creating a set of behaviours predicated on a set of clearly understood values that more efficiently and effectively drive organisational performance. The right leadership programme will depend on your business culture, your strategy and the gap between the leadership culture you seek and the current state. Sometimes this means designing everything from the leadership model to the programmes of learning and development that teach people how to become better leaders. Sometimes it means pulling together experts from a number of different disciplines to create a unique and one-off programme for the executive team. The right solution is the one that best suits your business and our first task is to come and listen and understand.
The trouble with innovation is everyone wants to be more innovative but few people know how to do it – whether it be working on a product development, improving a business process or creating a new approach to market. Innovation solves problems and loves constraints. Our approach is to start with the way things are; the limitations and restrictions that are in place and using a series of tools and techniques help people fathom out a way of achieving the business outcome they seek. We recognise that if innovation was easy, everyone would do it, but it’s not. It requires understanding about the way we think and how this both helps and hinders the process. Our aim when designing and delivering innovation interventions is to ensure people feel motivated, energised and confident in their capability to ‘do’ innovation, challenging the way they and others think.