about me

When I was young, my family owned a convenience store, where I had to work most evenings and weekends, when I’d much rather have been playing football, tennis or going for a bike ride.  Although I didn’t take my school studies too seriously, I did well enough in my A-levels to go on to study for a BSc in Physics. Why Physics? Well, the natural world always made so much more sense to me than anything man-made, and I always got a kick out of understanding how things worked. After my degree, I had a choice:
i. to join KPMG as a trainee accountant
ii. to go on and do research in Physics
I chose the latter.
A couple of years into my PhD I realised that I wasn’t good enough in Physics to pursue it beyond my research project, so I started exploring alternatives. Aged 27, I pursued the only other area that really held any other attraction to me: the international business world.
I joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in the Change Management practice of their London office. I was very much attracted to AC’s policy on professional development – in those days, they’d invest 10% of revenue back into PD for their staff – and boy did I need developing beyond my physics background. I also felt that joining an IT consultancy would be easier to adapt to than going straight into a strategy consultancy. At AC, my role on projects was to ensure that the large IT systems we were implementing would result in not just a ‘technical success’, but a ‘business success’ too. This meant getting end users to actually use the systems in the way they’d be designed. I developed a specialisation for delivering usability workshops and end-user training programmes.
After 3 years at AC, I joined another consulting company, AT Kearney, in the Enterprise Transformation practice of their London office. In the mid-90s, AT Kearney had a very good reputation as a ‘high-value-add’ consultancy. They had just been acquired by EDS the year before I joined, and were running full steam ahead. My role at Kearney was to ensure that employees would take ownership of the changes that we were helping clients to implement on large-scale business process redesign projects. This meant encouraging employee participation and engagement throughout the change process. I developed a specialisation for facilitating challenging change management workshops and executive/key-manager training programmes.
A year or so after I joined Kearney, I attended their in-house, two-day presentation skills training, called KRISP (Kearney’s Rational and Incisive Speaker Program). In those days, most KRISP trainings in Europe were delivered by an old-time Kearney Partner called Hans Naumann, who had been head of Kearney’s Paris office for most of the ‘70s. I was simply blown away by Hans and by the training itself, and became a KRISP trainer myself. I was fortunate enough to be able to deliver a couple of trainings a year with Hans, in-between my client commitments. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to apply and hone my presentation skills ‘for real’ in a whole host of mega-challenging client boardroom situations.
As well as having a natural aptitude for presenting, I also found that I was particularly effective as a workshop facilitator with clients, and became renowned as ‘the workshop guy’ in Kearney’s London office. Whenever there was a potentially difficult workshop with a client, I would be called in to facilitate – I’ll never forget a workshop I ran at Lindholme prison near Doncaster in the UK… fortunately with prison officers and not inmates!
After 3 years at Kearney, I decided to leave and set up as an independent facilitator and coach. At this point in my life, with a number of years of ‘hard’ consulting experience under my belt, I felt I had a good idea of:
i. what I was passionate about
ii. what I had a natural talent for
iii. how I could make a living by adding real value to clients
I later added another string to my bow in the way of a diploma from the Academy of Executive Coaching in London.
It’s been quite a journey, and one that I still very much relish and enjoy.