Episode 1: Jim Stevenson

EPISODE 1: JIM STEVENSON

Practicus Digital Transformation Podcast

We interview Jim Stevenson, CEO of the Bletchley Group and someone who played a role in digitally transforming organisations such as The Guardian, Marks & Spencers, BUPA, Selfridges and Scout24.ch. What does digital mean to him? And most importantly what lessons has he learned?

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James Rowson  0:00

Hi everyone, I’m James Rowson.

 

Dave Kemble  0:02

Hi, I’m Dave Kemble. And this is the Practicus…

 

James Rowson  0:06

…digital transformation podcast!

 

So welcome, everybody to the first in our series of digital transformation podcasts. We’re delighted to be joined by Jim. Jim has over 20 years experience in organization transformation, turnaround and growth. He has a passion for building businesses, especially during complex, challenging and uncertain times. Jim is also the founder and CEO of blatchley growth consultants Group, a boutique international strategy and transformation consultancy. He’s also an experienced Chairman, board advisor NPD and leadership coach. Welcome, Jim. So the first question, Jim, which we’re all very keen to hear the answer to is, you know, what does this mean to you?

 

Jim Stevenson  1:05

Nice to meet you, James. David. It’s a great question, because I think it’s a question that most people don’t quite understand and don’t think to ask. The two extremes are people treat it like it’s digital as a traditional programme of change, and don’t actually truly understand the benefits of it. Or they treat it like it is Agile, they’ve read the book. And they jumped straight into doing stuff without actually having any level of governance or structure to what they are doing. In real practical terms, what that truly means is that there’s a confusion. When someone says I want to go digital, I want to do a digital transformation. That could be as blatant and as simple as we want to work more digitally more collaboratively, in which case, move to Google Docs, and the job’s done, and move on with your life and you’ve done your digital transformation. Or I’ve seen the other extreme, where you want to engage your customers more digitally, in which case what they actually are doing is a website, refresh. And that has its own challenges.

I worked with a company who wanted to do digital transformation, didn’t really ask themselves what digital transformation was. They decided by default, it was a whole new web platform that would engage their customers better, which meant they built a web development team to go away and redesign the website for them, which was great. And but ultimately the Transformation Programme failed, because they hadn’t actually understood what they were trying to achieve. So for me, for digital transformation to have its biggest impact, you need to look at the business’s culture, you need to look at customer service, you need to look at its value proposition, you need to be much more customer centric, you need to be data driven.

Agile is a very much overused word of the moment, but use the literary context it is great. Lean, another methodology. So for me, transformation is a big word. And it means that at least in my mind, organisations have to be much wider in their thought process and their ambition of what a digital transformation program is. So the transformation for me needs to be aligned to the business objectives, and ideally, to the vision and its purpose. It needs to go much wider than websites in Google Docs, or slack or any of the individual technology and collaboration components that you would have. And you need to be looking at that wider impact to your company. And what the company is trying to achieve. So that actually you’re creating a digital company, as opposed to a traditional company that does a little bit of digital alongside.

Dave Kemble  3:56

How do you make sure that everyone’s aligned them with their interpretation of digital?

 

Jim Stevenson  4:02

Yeah, again, another thing that most organisations miss. One, I think that the understanding needs to be at board level, as well as the grassroots level within an organisation, the board needs to be very clear on what it is they’re doing, how they get there. And possibly the analogy of that is, you’ve all heard the analogy of you’re trying to change the tire on the wheel on a car while the car is moving. The reality is with digital transformation, you’re actually trying to change the tire on a car while you’re heading down the motorway accelerating and so the company needs to be bought into the entire thing from a board level down. And the easiest way to understand how that looks is to be very clear on what it is you’re trying to achieve. Quantify it with metrics. We will achieve the digital once we have achieved X amount of customer growth X amount of customer satisfaction in the organisation internally has a much better employee engagement. Employees are happy to come to the office, but also then define in terms of structure and cultural behaviors. So that actually you’re empowering people, people are actually feeling competent to approach the leadership team and say, I don’t quite understand why we’re doing this and how we move forward.

 

Dave Kemble  5:25

And that’s interesting, because so you’re measuring the success isn’t purely financial, there’s so many different variables that you can look at to actually ascertain whether that transformation has been successful then?

 

Jim Stevenson  5:38

Yeah, absolutely. Finance. In any typical startup, you always expect startups to say, we’re not looking at the money, we’re looking after the customer. And the money comes later. And it’s a symbol of big companies. And the finance is always there. But it can’t be the overriding metric, because it’s the end result of what you’re doing. And so you need to focus on the customer. And in most organisations, the only person that adds money to your company, other than investors is the customer. So if you want to get more money, you need to satisfy the customers, keep your customers coming back, and have them coming into the organization in a way that makes sense for them. So if you focus on the money, you’ve lost focus on your customer, ie focus on the customer, the money will just come. But there’s a quote that I love when we’re going through transformation piece, and it’s an Einstein called, which is you can’t solve the problems that you have with the mindset that you use when you created them. The transformation needs to be a whole change in the mindset of a company. At the Guardian while I was there, the genius move was we recognized that our competitors set wasn’t the Times it wasn’t the Telegraph, it was Facebook, it was Google, it was Twitter. They were distributing way more content than any news organisation was. And because of that, we actually fundamentally changed the matrix that we were measuring, we changed the way the company was structured. And it suddenly became very much relevant to what we were trying to achieve in the success we were trying to achieve. Because Facebook was huge. I think at one point with the Guardian, we partnered with them on their first F8 event. And the Guardian became the largest English speaking news organisation in the world for a while because of Facebook’s distribution channels. Very relevant in the current conversations with Australia fighting Facebook.

 

Dave Kemble  7:44

Ah yes, I read that this morning.

 

James Rowson  7:50

Going back to the point earlier. Once everyone’s aligned in terms of understanding what they want to achieve, how do you go about achieving it? It can’t be as straightforward as just pressing a switch?

 

Jim Stevenson  8:00 

Oh! If only it was just pressing a switch, that would be lovely wouldn’t it? No, it is one of those challenges, and every organization is different. It’s kind of like, if you want to get from here to there, you wouldn’t start where you are today, you would start somewhere else. But with organizations, you need to start where you are. And for me, the first thing that you need to do in that journey, is you need to engage all of your employees, they need to be engaged in a meaningful way so that this doesn’t feel like it’s something that’s happening to them. It’s something that they are involved with. And they need to be inspired. And the shareholders are the one that’s making all the money here, people getting a good salary and all the benefits they get. But if you’re not inspired, then you can show up and just go ‘it is another Transformation Programme. We’ve been here we’ve done it before. Yeah, it doesn’t really make anything..’ So you need to engage them, you need to inspire them, you need to show the ways that their life will be better, you need to make it more personal for them. And they will be happier, they’ll be more empowered, their results will be better, they will go home feeling fulfilled. And they’ll have a much better work life balance or whatever it is. But you’ve got to keep in mind the business goals that you’re trying to achieve there. And then after that, you need to go through our planning process. But that planning process needs to be collaborative and engaging as well. So workshops to define the new ways of working so that the employees actually feel that they’re controlling their future, what’s happening to them and how things move forward. And you can’t you can’t forget governance. You can’t overlay a traditional governance level on to this new way of working. But equally, you can’t go into the wild, wild west of new governance at all. You need the appropriate level of governance. So I was working with a company in Switzerland, and the first thing I asked them was, ‘How many projects that they have on the go?’, and they couldn’t tell me the genuine can tell me. They had so little governance that they couldn’t actually tell me what we’re working on, who is doing what, and therefore they have no understanding of what they’re spending in saloon.

 

I spoke with another large company, a large insurance company. And ultimately, I walked away from them. I spent a bunch of time, a few hours going through with them, this new way of working, how you empower, how you work collaboratively, how you change the organization structure. And having spent that time to go through with them, they then came back to me and say, ‘But we really need a Gantt chart with timescales and milestones on it. And it’s like, you’ve kind of missed the whole point here. The point is to engage your employees to your transformation. And some of your employees will get it within an hour, others will take three or four weeks, or five or six months, some just will never get it. I worked with a retailer. And there was half a dozen people just didn’t get what we’re trying to do. And then two years later, I met one of the guys in a conference. And he went ‘Ah Jim, how are you doing? I finally got it and I did this’ and there was excitement and passion. And I assume it didn’t take him two years to get it. But it was two years later. But it’s that you can’t apply the traditional logic to what you’re doing. In this new world of digital transformation, for me, it’s more about focusing on the customers. It’s about prioritizing what you’re doing, as opposed to, we need to do something in two weeks. Because if you put that level of timeline on it, then you’re going to get something in two weeks, but it might not achieve the outcome that you want. So what’s better for you to achieve the outcome in three weeks, or get any kind of outcome and done in two weeks but actually, there’s no point in doing it.

 

Dave Kemble  11:46 

That’s interesting. So I think a lot of companies purely look at digital transformation as an internal thing. But actually, it’s about much, much more than that, you’ve got to look externally first to understand, I know, when we’ve spoken in the past, you’ve talked about transformation with purpose. And that’s what really rings true here. So you’ve got to assess what it is your customers want, and then react accordingly to do that transformation internally. Is that right?

 

Jim Stevenson  12:21 

Yeah, that’s, that’s perfect. That is exactly what it is, at least for me. And that’s why changing over from your existing systems to Google Docs to be more collaborative isn’t the answer. And your customers don’t understand that you use Google Docs or Microsoft or anything else. Your customers want you to engage with them in a whole new way that is easy for them, works for them. And therefore you need to align your organization from the board time into that, what does the customer need from us? What can we creatively supply to them that fulfills that need, that means easy for them, and then you structure your organization round that structure. So having a sales and marketing team or a brand marketing team or a performance marketing team is great, but that’s just the first contact the customer has with your product. If suddenly you go from that into an entirely different organization, which is the order fulfillment, and then you go into customer service, and they’re not joined up to make that customer journey, the best customer journey it can be, then you’re mismatching your objectives. And it’s very common in organizations, that your marketing team will be driven by one sale matrix, your order fulfillment will be a separate set of metrics, your customer service will be a separate set of metrics to show them actually connect with each other. And you’ve got this mismatch in your organization structure, which is, which is why structure is so important to the transformation as well.

 

Dave Kemble  13:51 

Interesting. In your experience over the last year with the pandemic. Has the… that siloed approach been more prevalent? Or do you think it’s no different from the silos that you mentioned within organizations? Where marketing do marketing and sales do their own thing? Have you experienced the change, ashift?

 

Jim Stevenson  14:15 

I don’t think I’ve experienced that change in the sales, I think they are still pretty much the same way they are. I think what has changed is that people are now becoming much more nervous about their roles and their jobs. You’re seeing people have gone on, furlough, and I know a couple of organizations where by they’ve furloughed a significant number of their staff. And actually, they’re still performing. And it’s hang on what were those staff doing before that

 

James Rowson  14:41 

It does seem as though in order to get truly integrated change across the whole organization, what it sounds like you’re saying is that actually empowerment is is quite sounds very simple, but it’s actually you know, once everyone’s bought into what they’re trying to deliver, then the whole end to end transformation could become a lot more simplified.

 

Jim Stevenson  15:01 

Yeah, absolutely empowerment is a word I love. Empowering employees i think is fantastic. It helps employees to be driven, to feel satisfied, to want to come to work in the morning to wanted make things better, to help the customer experience. And so empowering your teams and your individuals is is a huge, huge thing. But it’s not all about the empowerment. And there’s no point having teams and individuals who are empowered. But then the rest of the organization isn’t accommodating of that. So the permanent part you need to allow them to feel and will be difficult for most organizations, you need to allow them to learn and to grow. But equally, you need a mechanism that allows that learning and improvement actually work. If you’re just feeling and you’re you’re saying these are the these are the reasons we failed, but they don’t have the empowerment guys to go in, change the process and prove the process and prove what they’re working, actually just becomes failure, because you’re not learning anything, you’re not implementing the learnings that you’ve got. So companies need frameworks, whereby that learning and that empowerment, actually allows people to make genuine changes to the systems and the processes, so that the learnings and the from the failure they can then re implement those further into the system. But equally, if you’ve got one department who’s working in this way, and another department that’s not, what you then get is a mismatch of the actual operating model across the business. So one department just sees be these agile guys, these digital guys constantly failing, not delivering, they’re just causing the problems and it creates that negativity and that frustration. So you need the organization as a whole to be aligned. Otherwise, what you just have as a bunch of Mavericks, who are seem to be the spatial guys, they’re feeling constantly, they’re not delivering anything, and actually just making my life harder. So you need that framework to allow the empowerment to work. And the framework needs to be strong enough that people are empowered to meet changes that are real changes, it can’t be, I’d like to make a change, if I need to go to my boss, he needs to get his boss he needs to go to the board member will decide something in six months, that’s it needs to be much more fluid than that dallo the empowerment guide to the peak, please, and to genuinely empower people to to move forward.

 

Dave Kemble  17:23 

So that’s that’s a huge cultural shift then for most organizations. So the cultural piece is often the hardest element from what I understand of all transformation programs. It’s it’s that adoption rate from the organization is the people that are going to drive the transformation and help it stick. So what’s your experience with being able to change the culture of an organization from where they are, from day one to a year later? Two years later? How do you go about doing that?

 

Jim Stevenson  19:18 

But but it’s very true. If you’ve got the right culture, the team will overcome a bad strategy. If you’ve got a good strategy and a bad culture, the team’s not empowered to get over the bad culture they have there. They’re just working to the strategy they’ve got. And it is never as successful as it should be. Or it could be. So culture is key for everything. But get more practical about the cultural change. And culture actually, for me is incredibly simplistic when you break it down. The culture is your values, what you’ve designed, what you want your company to be, and then the behaviors that you live by. So culture equals values plus behaviors. And it’s incredibly simplistic. The challenge for most leaders in that is that the very tenacity that made them successful, then becomes the behaviors that will actually stop them growing and actually changing and becoming much more digital, much more empowering, and getting the culture that they need to scale and grow their business. I was working with a company in Switzerland A few years ago, and I was speaking to the guys there. And I do I still speak to the vast majority of my clients. But one of them is seeing that the company has evolved significantly for when I left it, and that, for me is great, because they understood what they were trying to do, they understood the reason they were trying to achieve it. And they found better ways of doing it. But equally, the culture and the environment, their customer culture of what the customer is expecting, has changed as well. So they needed to evolve, and to make this work, and it’s fantastic. It was great for me that when you actually said they’d come across a problem and went to one of the documents I prepared for them five years ago, answer was there. And it’s like they’re so the basics are still there. And the basics are still relevant to anything that you do. But driving that culture, creating the values that you want new business, living those those behaviors, and very often some of those behaviors, and you see it from the old days of when Google was created. Yeah. And some of those behaviors should be alone to challenge management. I don’t understand why you’re making that decision. Why did you make that decision? Because for me that that means that your companies is feeling confident to challenge you. But equally, if they’re not being good at communicating what you’re doing, and that that’s something that that needs to challenge.

 

James Rowson  21:42 

So there’s a lot in there that you can actually do, it must be so rewarding when you speak to your previous and old clients. And they you know, they’ll either implement the changes that you’ve helped create, or that it’s visible, and it’s obvious that the transformation is kind of long, lasting, you’re sort of tenured so to speak, are there things that you can kind of, you know, put in place to guarantee? Or how do you go about ensuring that the transformation lives on after your initial engagement was

 

Jim Stevenson  22:08 

finished? Yeah, there’s a lot you can do in there. I’m not sure about guaranteeing it, but there is a lot you can do in there. I’m full of seeing as to the and the classic seeing is if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for the day if you teach him to fish to eat every day. And it’s the same with business change.

Jim Stevenson  22:31 

For me, it’s really true. And so once you’ve once you’ve gone into this, this transformation program is not about doing it for companies, it’s about helping them do it for themselves. And I very often see, as a consultant, I’m a great coach. And as a coach, I’m a great consultant. Because it’s a combination of both. For me that works. Sometimes they need companies need you to redesign their organization structure, because they’ve never done it before. Most companies haven’t. And so they need help to redesign the structure, they need to help them to recreate their ways of working and how they operate. But then once you’ve got those things in place, that that would be a bit of the consultancy work, you then need to show them how it works, you then need to explain to them why they’re doing it, or they need to explain to them, what parts are important, what metrics they’re impacting, by doing it this way, and which other ones. And then you’ve also got to get the culture around about it to actually help them get into the mindset of his customer. First, we need to be customer focused, because that’s what does. So if I’m doing these processes, and it’s only an internal part, is it really needed, that I really need to tell these other three people about this part of the process, or Can I just go away, feel empowered, deliver the customer, what it wants, what the customer wants, and then come back into the organization and let everyone know what’s happened. But there’s lots of there’s lots of ways of making that happen. But the best part for me is when you actually start empowering people, giving them the tools, giving them a framework, showing them the reason why they’re doing something rather than just seeing do this, we do that way. But then then we come all the way back room to the start of the conversation, which is all about empowering, being very clear your business objectives and having the metrics in place that allow you to test whether you’re making progress or not.

 

Dave Kemble  24:25 

Out of curiosity, then technology clearly pay plays a huge part. Now for most organizations, how important is that decision on the technology that you choose as an organization?

 

Jim Stevenson  24:41 

It can it depends. I have a very simple philosophy over technology and I used to work extensively in technology. So this isn’t me and dismiss dismissing technology and the importance of it. But for me, technology should enable your business. And when you think about technology is an enabler for your business. What you really, what you’re really saying is, your business has two fundamentally different parts to it. One is the customer part. And the other part is your internal processes part, the internal processes, part, technologies, just technology, you want to as cheap as you possibly can, you wanted to meet the requirements, you have the service levels that you need. And because the customer wants you, and it just keeps your operation going. So it needs to be efficient, it needs to do everything you needed to do. But when you get into the customer part, what’s much more product development, customer facing, that needs to be a revenue generating part. And for me, if it’s going to be revenue generating, what you actually need, is you need to be able to differentiate your company from your competitors. So simplicity is if it touches a customer, and this is a way of differentiating you from your competitors, you build it yourself. And it’s key. If it’s a cost center, if it’s having PCs on desks, printers and offices, not that we’ll be doing that much more anyway, your broadband connection between two offices to reduce doors, those those are just functions that are expected within your business. So you want the service level you can vary ship as you possibly can. But it’s not a differentiator in any way.

 

Dave Kemble  26:23 

Do you see most companies now having some representation from technology having a seat at the top table? Or do you still find certain companies or there’s industries where technology isn’t seen as that strategic business enabler.

 

Jim Stevenson  26:41 

And it very much depends on the maturity of the organization. And one large retailer I used to work with. The CTO was not on the board. But he reported into the finance director. Yeah, which was a bizarre choice. For me, it was almost viewing as an internal function as opposed to a differentiator. And equally though, for me, I think technology, if we believe that technology is an enabler for your business, then I’m not sure technology should be at the top table anymore. I think what should probably be the top table is your Chief Product officer. Because that’s the customer facing part. That’s the part that the customers gave as a partner strategically, you can drive forward. And yeah, it’s not to dismiss technology is not to dismiss the importance of technology is to understand the technology enables the entire business to work. But your Chief Product officer, your marketing teams, they are the bits of opening differentiate your business in the marketplace, technology, as opposed to treat treating technology in the same way as our chief operating officer. Yes, they shouldn’t be rubbish, they’re important to the organization. But they’re not that differentiator is going to drive growth.

 

James Rowson  27:54 

Tobacco, your your earlier point in the very first thing we discussed, I think, and you need to to again, there is the business strategy, and getting everyone aligned to it does seem to be the most critical part of any digital transformation, or any transformation in general, really. And he said that, you know, technology strategy, and business strategy, you know, often best case scenario is they’re very heavily intertwined. Because the second that one strays from the other, it can be very, very difficult to pull them back on track, so to speak. So I think you’re right, getting everything, you know, enabled upfront signal seems to be pretty critical partner

 

Dave Kemble  28:30 

completely. With that in mind, then just building on adjacency, who’s the best person to drive a transformation then within an organization? If they’re going through a digital transformation? Do you see a common job title bit owning that transformation.

 

Jim Stevenson  28:48 

And I see a common job title owning, I’m not sure it’s the right. Go on to pitch. Normally, the transformation of any kind, is lumped under technology, because technology underpins everything that the company does. And therefore if you’re going to change a process, generally you need to change a system or a piece of technology to accommodate that change. So you have generally the CTO, the CIO, the technology, people are the people leading the transformation. But it’s a bit like the tail wagging the dog. It’s like we’re gonna change this technology, and then we’ll train the business to use the technology. And surely what you need to start with is, what is the driver for that change? Is it truly strategic isn’t going to start helping us grow? And because you’re starting from a systems point of view, as opposed to let’s just Dziedzic and customer point of view. Very often what you look at is internal efficiencies, as opposed to bringing in a candidate mindset that says, if we throw away everything we have to do will be designed to date to accommodate or customers need. And very often, that’s not where you start. That’s not that’s not what you have today. But because people are restricted Because people don’t feel empowered, there’s a really bad seeing. I heard this from one of the guys in Bacardi when I was there. And I love it. But if you’re I have a dog. I’m a dog lover, but it’s called shooting the puppy. And it’s essentially doing the unthinkable. And if you were to throw away all of your IT systems today, what would you start? What would you create, and no one feels empowered to do this very often not even the CIO or the CTO feels empowered to do that. Because we know find the board is never going to sanction it, they’re never going to get the funding to do it. But it’s a thought experiment to run through which parts of our system are still valid today, and which parts do we need to start working on? This is an impressive and incredibly powerful mechanism to actually go, are we truly servicing our customers that we our customers want to be serviced? Or are we servicing the customers based on our existing technology and what we’re capable of doing? And the two very different outcomes.

 

Dave Kemble  30:57 

If you think of the most successful companies, they’re constantly evolving, are they there, they’re always looking at what else they could be doing for their customer base.

 

Jim Stevenson  31:06 

Yeah. And that was the point I was making about organizations and embedding in the organization, the change process, the change should not be regular have done it, you brush your hands off, that is done, we’ll come back in three or four years, and we do another change program. We’ll know in a world where by change, you’d be a constantly evolving process. And he should just always be happening. Your customer expectations are changing day to day, week to week, they’re not changing every five years. And there’s very few industries whereby your customer expectation is the same in five years, as it is today. And we’re alone in a month, two months time customers are always demanding more, there will be a small little startup that will create a whole new different customer experience, and use a legacy player in that space. You need to keep up otherwise, actually, why is your customers coming back?

 

James Rowson  31:58 

So many good points.

 

Dave Kemble  31:59 

Just to sum up here with with the the world of transformation, you touched on it earlier that there’s perhaps sometimes the wrong person is, is asked to drive the program forward. And I, I have an element of sympathy for people that that get lumped with, right? You’re owning that because you think Well, hold on, you must have a day job, you probably you’re not sitting there twiddling your thumbs, and then suddenly, oh, just do that as well? Would you? In your experience? Is it more beneficial to have someone external to come in and support a digital transformation? Or can it be done purely internally? Or is it best to have a mix of the two? What’s your thoughts on that?

 

Jim Stevenson  32:43 

You’ve just reminded me I didn’t ask you answer your question of who should lead it. And I say that shouldn’t be the CTO. I actually think that the CEO should take responsibility, because it’s a fundamental change to the business, it can be changing the operating model, it can be changing the business model, the revenue models, I think it needs to be laid from the CEO. Write them down? Absolutely. Should it be external? I am an external. So you can take it with a pinch of salt. But yeah,

 

Unknown Speaker  33:18 

always,

 

Jim Stevenson  33:19  

I absolutely believe that you, you can do it internally, but it’s never quite as beneficial to the organization, you never quite get the results,

 

Dave Kemble  33:28 

again, is that because you get you will get a more objective view from an external resource where there’s you’re not mired in the politics?

 

Jim Stevenson  33:35 

Exactly. So if we go back, if we go back to the court, you can’t use the same thinking that you created a problem to solve the problem. Very often people internally work within the constraints that they’ve always experienced internally. And what you really want is someone to come in externally and say, why is that constraint at all? Why do you have to do that we will use it that that’s a constraint. And so you want someone to come in and challenge those constraints, Jones’s ways of working, bringing in new ideas, bringing an idea from a tech company into a retail company from a retail company into a medium media company, and cross cross fertilize those ideas and those innovations. And it’s very rare that you get that within one organization. But equally, you’ve then also got the whole if we do that, it will cost those eggs when the reality is if you bring in a fresh mind, say from a startup environment into a big corporate, then actually costing eggs is actually costing a 10th of eggs. Let’s just get over it. Let’s do it quickly. When I worked with Martin Spencer’s, I worked with, I think it was six of those guys over the weeks. And we just broke all the government rules within the organization. We were a little strong towards him on the side, and we just achieved stuff. And suddenly the whole organization went Wow, you can do that killer stuff. And it made them reassess some of their thought process some of how they operated. Do we need to In the same way as we have by showing them that you could do it differently and you could have success different. I think that’s

 

James Rowson  35:05 

one of the benefits of not just using externals, but actually you being an external as you do bring with you, you know, a hell of a lot of, you know, hindsight from and lessons learned from previous engagements where it’s gone really well, or we tried this here, it didn’t quite go to plan. So let’s definitely not do that here. That kind of stuff, I think it’s very difficult to only use internals is what I’m hearing, because you’re only going to get what you’ve kind of always got before so to speak in terms of experience.

 

Jim Stevenson  35:28 

Exactly. It’s the main set of and I’m not, I’m not dissing anyone who’s an internal, I’m not dissing anyone who does business, as usual, is the vigil. And I think there’s a mindset that comes with that. And it suits a lot of people and the comfort and knowing of, of that, that consistency of what we’re trying to achieve is wonderful. And for me, it’s just not how I’m wired, I much prefer the complexity of the challenge of actually taking something that is good and making it better taking something is broken and making it good. And that’s a different mindset. And that mindset generally gets squashed, if you’re internal if you’re in an organization for too long. And so you need that flexibility to actually work with multiple organizations. I’m working, I’ve worked with companies that are 10 billion, the companies that are 1 million, I worked across a number of sectors. So I bring with me all of that knowledge that goes, if you want to be data, then actually there was a little company that was turning over 1 million that was fantastic for data, the revenue model and had other challenges, but the data power of it was fantastic. let’s implement that thinking in a big corporate and then suddenly, you’ve got that innovation coming in, oh, we’d never thought to do that. Because we’ve got all of this data, how can we do it this way. And that, for me is a change agent, which I’m not overly happy with a term which is a change agent coming in, and we resetting the mindset. And then the mindset goes with the culture and the culture goes with empowerment. And you get into this big complexity of if you’re going to do this and make it really valuable to the organization and see the true realization of the transformation, then all of these bits intertwined. And you’ve got to get them all in training at the right point at the right stage, with the company coming with you with all employees coming with you. or most of the employees coming with you go to the drive that level of change, and make it successful,

 

Dave Kemble  37:21 

says yeah, it’s the perfect blend you want you want some, of course, it’s driven internally, and it’s going to the legacy is going to be that the organization feels empowered that culture has changed, the people change with you, but having some external support that has a completely objective.

 

James Rowson  37:43 

Mind. Independent is a good word here as well.

 

Dave Kemble  37:46 

It keeps you honest to what you’re actually trying to achieve. And I would imagine it allows you to go back to the basics of what are we trying to achieve here being clear on the objectives as you started out, saying,

 

Jim Stevenson  38:01 

it’s really good you be clear on the objectives, be clear on the vision you have for your company and the purpose that you have for your company, make sure that it’s aligned to your customer. And then everything flows from that.

 

Dave Kemble  38:12 

Thanks so much for coming on to the show with us, Jim. Thanks, guys. Pleasure. I think that’s been really, really insightful. And I hope we’ve been able to give some lessons there. And please do get in touch with us. If you have any questions either for us or for Jim, you can reach me at Dave Campbell, a practical stock code at UK.