Work with me.

I have over two decades of experience as a VP in HR and Engineering, as well as coaching, training, lecturing and consulting with businesses around the world to help them cultivate amazing places to work - where value is being shipped.

I look younger than I am.

Get in touch

If anything below looks interesting then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

hello@cultivatedmanagement.com

Release Agility

 

Hi and welcome.

I specialise in helping companies release business agility whilst retaining their great staff by building amazing places to work.

I bring together effective management, high value HR iniatives, solid and effective communication and a heavy dose of creativity to build epic teams.

I have decades of experience growing high performing teams that ship value. My HR team was once described as the “least evil HR team ever”, which I am taking as a compliment.

Our Engineering team was once described as “frighteningly agile”. We won best companies to work for many years running, had high engagement and if you’d like the same – let me help you.

As an experienced leader and manager in tech and HR, I can help you build amazing teams that get value shipped.

Do you want to:

  • Release Agility in your organisation?

  • Grow and build your management team’s capability?

  • Understand your company culture better?

  • Bridge the gap between HR and management?

  • Improve the communication skills of your leaders and managers?

I tend to work on a simple day rate which we agree in advance, with clear outcomes and deliverables. If you’re interested in exploring how I can help you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. hello@cultivatedmanagement.com

 

If you’ve seen any of my content, or read my books, you’ll appreciate that one of the first questions I will ask is “what problems are we trying to solve?”. 🙂

Cultivate Communication

 

I often say that 99% of problems within a company are due to poor communication. I must be very close to the truth with that statement.

Lack of direction, conflict, competing goals, poorly articulated requirements, lack of empathy between employees, Water-Melon reporting (green on the outside, red in the middle) and a lack of evidence based decision making – all results of poor communication.

You will hear people say “over-communicate” or “more communication” but these are only helpful if the underlying communication is effective. People try to be efficient with communication at the expense of being effective.

And communication is a two way thing – and it always happens in the head of the listener. And yes, we’re always communicating, even when we say nothing at all.

If you’d like to learn the science of communication, how to bring this science to life and core principles I deploy in work (and my own life), then I have two wonderful options for you.

Option 1 – The Communication Super Power workshop – now online in a self-paced course. Check out this page for prices, how to enrol and more about the course.

Option 2 – Bring the in-person Communication Super Power to your company. Check out this page for the content of this in-person (may I add, award winning) workshop.

Price is ÂŁ6000 (plus travel expenses and venue hire, if not at your office) and is capped at 40-50 people (minimum 10 people to get the best from the interaction). Good value per person, for sure.

Releasing Agility.

I help companies release agility.

Release = Set it free.

Agility = Moving smoothly and quickly towards your business goals.

Agility belongs to management

Are your managers preventing agility from being released in your organisation resulting in slow, bumpy delivery?

By combining high-value HR initiatives with high-value management behaviours, you can help your management team release agility.

And as a side effect – you’ll get high levels of employee engagement for free.

I offer this as a day-rate engagement – agreed with you and your team. Simple, clear, honest.

It can be hard for managers to move from maker to manager. It can be even harder for many managers to develop good communication skills, commercial awareness and trade-skills – the very skills required to mature and grow a successful business.

And when it’s hard to achieve these things you see the fall out.

There’s a lack of direction, unclear career growth for your people, a rising amount of failed work, a slow down in delivery, frustration at changing priorities, a lack of succession planning and a series of hard conversations that don’t happen.

It’s likely your well-intentioned HR team are getting overly involved in hiring, retention, day-to-day management and training. This further compounds the issues and a lack of agility either creeps in, or continues to grow.

You already have agility in your business

Agility – “the power of moving quickly and easily towards your goal or purpose”

— You just need your management team to release it.

Release – “to free from confinement”

— This is done by managers studying the work and improving it, whilst working to truly get the best from their people.

I use a simple 5 step thinking model to understand where to focus.

Step 1-3 are foundations, yet most executives and managers are dabbling around at steps 4-5 – and not surprisingly seeing little traction.

One company I worked with spent ÂŁ24million on agile coaches (working at step 4) – only to move nowhere nearer to releasing agility. It wasn’t the coaches faults – they were good – it was because they didn’t have steps 1-3 nailed (and yep – steps 1-3 belong to HR and Management).

If you’d like me to help you release agility in your team then drop me an email hello@cultivatedmanagement.com to organise a free chat about what problems you face.

If you’re not ready yet and want to learn more then please read on – and check out the videos I’ve created that explains more about this approach.

The 5 Step Thinking Model

Releasing Agility follows a simple process :

  • Step 1 – Do you have a Painted Picture of the Future?

    • Why are you doing what you are doing?

    • Does everyone in your team know what this bright future looks like?

    • Are people aligned and energised to be working on this amazing bright future?

  • Step 2 – What obstacles are stopping you achieving this future state?

    • If this bright future is so amazing, why are you not already there yet?

    • In other words, what obstacles and problems do you need to work through?

    • Is there a strategy explaining the bright future, the current reality and a plan to overcome these obstacles?

    • This requires studying real problems; not myths, rumours, opinions and conjecture.

  • Step 3 – Build the team to get it done

    • As a manager or leader you should be able to look at your team and say with confidence that “This is the team to get it done”.

    • If you can’t – you have some work to do – is that work being done?

    • Your team needs a plan – and this is where strong HR initiatives and competent management is crucial.

  • Step 4 – Define the behaviours, habits and routines for success

    • Your culture is nothing more than group habit – it’s the sum of everyone’s behaviours.

    • Do you know what behaviours you want? Which one’s you don’t want? And are your managers working to nudge these behaviours in the right direction?

    • Are your managers role modelling these outstanding behaviours?

    • This is also about “System of productivity”

    • Are you adopting an off-the-shelf framework designed to solve problems you likely don’t have?

      • No single methodology or approach is the right one for all – the best approach is the one that solves your problems

      • Please don’t adopt an Agile Methodology unless you know for certain it solves the very problems you have identified – the chances are none of them will…..

  • Step 5 – Iterate, learn and improve

    • Instigate on-the-job-training

    • Make learning a core part of every conversation

    • Conduct root cause analysis

    • Get better – always

Side effects

As a side effect of releasing agility in one company we obtained:

  • 3% Churn Rate – good people didn’t leave very often – when they did – they often came back!

  • 8% Recruitment Costs – as a blended rate of recruiters, self sourced and referrals

  • 10 Day Hiring Cycle Times – the elapsed time from first application to a decision (post interview) for candidates

  • CONSISTENT and PREDICTABLE delivery of work – every week, every year – economies of flow – not highs and then lows that happen with economies of scale.

  • RAVING FANS – People who didn’t get hired would go and tell others how great the company was!

Don’t waste your money

Don’t throw money at agile coaches if your foundations aren’t in place. (values, management, career development, HR, rewards, people management, process improvement, remunerations or hiring).

Many agile consultants only know how to address tactical issues around theory – step 4. This is brilliant if you have strong foundations and effective management. If not, it could be a genuine waste of time and money.

There is only so much a coach can do if managers are not behaving as expected, aren’t setting high standards, are not giving people feedback and are not utilising HR initiatives in the right way.

I worked with a Bank who had spent over ÂŁ20million on Agile Change Management and were no nearer to smooth and fast delivery than when they started.

Why? Because the very foundations of the culture were not set up to support agility.

Save your money. You cannot buy or force agility – agility must be released at a pace and rate that your business and team can sustain. This is often not what Executives and Managers want to hear.

Agility comes from having strong foundations in your culture, brilliant management, HR strategies that support your teams and very clear communication from leaders and managers who inspire.

Agility is nothing more than removing friction towards a purpose, through co-operation and clear communication – but these skills are often in short supply.