Independent Consultant Spotlight – Interview with Craig Gilham

Craig is a transformation leader with over 25 years’ experience in the effective design, planning, resourcing and execution of complex enterprise-wide transformations. He has a wealth of experience in helping organisations deliver sustainable profits through technology and business change and has been involved in many projects covering strategy formulation, customer experience & propositions, major re-platforming / outsourcing, TOM design & delivery, organisation-wide cost reductions and regulatory compliance. His clients range from Financial Services, Utilities and Professional Services, and spans start-ups, global corporates and business turnarounds.

 

 

Harry Wimborne, who is responsible for building Sheffield Haworth’s Consumer & Alternative Finance Practice within Consulting Solutions, interviews Craig to find out more about how he helps organisations navigate change and transformation initiatives.

 

How can organisations look to ensure that their change agenda is effectively aligned to their long-term strategic goals?

I would always propose a sensible first step has been to galvanise and agree a plan. It’s important to review what priorities and investment decisions have been made in an attempt to create a transparent strategic roadmap and supporting plan.

Aligning these plans to strategic goals is often overlooked but I’d suggest essential to measure overall performance and keeping a careful track of benefits realised.

 

When taking on a new assignment for a client leading a large change agenda, what would the first couple of weeks look like for you?

In the first couple of weeks, I would engage with the wider teams as quickly as possible and review the already baselined change agenda.  A supporting due diligence on the financials, product, technology and people related areas should also help determine some immediate opportunities for improvement.   In support of this I would always advise to assess the documented risks and issues to help establish further clarity on the critical path.

Finally, I would always try establishing weekly communication forums that help provide people the ability to contribute towards the change agenda.  These are often great mechanisms to improve employee engagement and often capture some useful insights.

 

Do you have a view on who should own change across the business?

At the end of the day the success (or failure) of change delivery will fall on the CEO and his leadership team.  Sharing accountability across this team will often drive the right behaviours and shared commitment goes a long way to getting people across an organisation supporting the delivery of the strategic intent.

 

In your experience, what common mistakes do organisations make when embarking upon significant change?

Often a lack of prioritising against the strategic goals will lead to poor investment decisions. In these situations, companies can benefit from a fail fast and adjust quickly approach.

Another common mistake, I’ve often witnessed, is the lack of true working ‘partnership’ between technology and business areas.  Complex change projects will often include significant aspects of technology, business process, operations and people change – only by working together can optimal outcomes be achieved.

 

How can they mitigate risk of change failing?

Invest in the cultural / people side of change.   Today’s technology advancements are often driving significant business change with employees remaining ill equipped to leverage.  It will often be this under-investment that will deem a technology implementation a failure.  People should always be an organisation’s no. 1 asset …………. seek out your change champions from across the business, involve them in the process to ensure change is being delivered to a more receptive audience.

 

What advice do you have for anyone entering a business as an interim to quickly build trust?

It often equates to doing right by people. You need to treat staff well no matter the situation. You get stakeholders committed by making it clear your primary objective is doing right by the organisation.  Make it clear you have no personal agenda.

 

To what extent does your formal consulting background help you in your career operating as an interim?

My consultancy background has provided me the foundations for my career – the tools, disciplines and techniques to tackle, often complex, situations with a high degree of rigour and focus in creating positive outcomes for companies. It’s akin to putting down solid foundations for a house, it provides the grounding for a successful outcome.

 

How do you go about finding the right time to transition out of a business once the benefits are being realised?

I would always try to agree a set of outcomes that provide a logical checkpoint to transition from a business.   These should be reviewed on a regular basis with your sponsors as a means of ensuring the business is ‘setup for success’ in the event of leaving the organisation.

 

To learn more about our Consumer & Alternative Finance Consulting Solutions Practice or for a confidential discussion about your organisational challenges, please contact Harry Wimborne by emailing wimborne@sheffieldhaworth.com.

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