Established in May 2005 as an executive search consultancy, we decided to embark on an ambitious programme of strategic and organisational change in September 2013. I highlighted our thinking and plan in a previous but in summary; we were a very successful generalist executive search consultancy working with clients in the UK and internationally across a hugely diverse range of industries and recruiting roles at all hierarchical levels. We were achieving double-digit revenue growth every year but realised that money wasn’t everything and, as a team, we weren’t really enjoying ourselves as much as we perhaps should be. The following were key considerations in our change programme:
- We had no vision for the future.
- We didn’t have a set of core values or understand our reason for being (our purpose).
- Our value proposition only involved recruitment.
- We were working with anyone, rather than focusing on who we wanted to work with. (We realise now that a good 40% of our historical client portfolio are aspirational clients and as a result, we have strengthened our partnerships with them).
- Our consultants were passionate about specific industries but couldn’t solely work in them due to a lack of sector focus.
- We weren’t always able to pass on our expertise as trusted advisors and a lot of our client relationships were purely transactional.
- We didn’t consider what our employees wanted to do in the future and how we could develop them and their career.
So as you can imagine a lot has happened since September 2013 and our financial year running from April 2016 to March 2017 has been by far the most fulfilling and we can now firmly say that we have transformed our business and are living and breathing the purpose and vision we set for ourselves. It has been a very painful journey, any significant change is, but hugely worthwhile and we are now a very proud team at Collingwood.
The turning point
With the help of Bryan Adams, CEO of Ph Creative, we invested time to explore what would make us jump out of bed on a cold, wet, miserable Monday morning. We considered the clients we'd love to work with and the projects that we would be proud to be involved in. At the outset of our transition, we set our measurement; in the pub on a Friday night would we be really proud to tell our friends what we do, talk about the clients we'd worked with and the projects we'd delivered?' In September 2013 I can say that we would usually avoid this conversation in the pub (we did have some great clients and it wasn’t all bad!) but we asked ourselves this question at our 2016 team Christmas party and the answer was a resounding yes, we love sharing our story now and so we have succeeded!
So what is different about Collingwood in 2017?
- We are no longer exclusively an Executive Search firm. We are now a Strategic Business Consultancy that works with boards to develop and align a robust people strategy to deliver their business strategy. We have added several new areas of expertise to Collingwood including strategic leadership consultancy which enhances our executive search services but also works very separately to any recruitment agenda. This has been transformational for us. We have also added talent pipelining to our executive search proposition and so can support our clients build talent pipelines for the future and not just recruit roles that are vacant now.
- We are no longer “generalists” and now specialise in a select number of industries. We have built enviable expertise in our team which adds huge value to our clients. The journey to achieve this has been fantastic and allowed our consultants to immerse themselves in their industries through conferences, seminars etc… through which they have built robust networks of senior-level contacts in each.
- We have a set of guiding principles that describe what an aspirational client looks and feels like. This has, without a doubt, led us to identify and work with a portfolio of clients who share our values and want to build a robust trusted advisor led partnership for the long term. Clients now engage with us for advice about all sorts of different problems in their businesses. They trust us, our expertise and opinions.
- All the team are heading in the same direction, delivering a consistent and outstanding level of service to our clients through robust processes.
So our Friday nights in the pub are now filled with inspiring stories of our clients, team Collingwood and the projects we are delivering. Here are just a few headlines for you to explore and feel free to call us to find out more;
Strategic leadership consultancy
- Lloyds Banking Group - Executive Benchmarking and Development
- Peel Ports Group - Sales Leadership Development
Other projects include;
- Alstom - Purpose Led Strategic Change
- Money Supermarket - Executive Benchmarking
- ITW - Sales Leadership Benchmarking and Development
- Fetim - Leadership Transitioning - Managing Director and Outplacement – Finance Director
- Country Manager, DACH - Consumer Products
- Global Key Account Directors - Technology
- Head of Facilities Management - Local Authority
- HR Director - Legal
- International Commercial Director - Rail
- Marketing Director - Building Products
- Medical Director - Healthcare
- Property Development Director - Local Council
- Sales Director - Building Products
And from here...
So from being an Executive Search Consultancy serving everything and everyone and measuring success as revenue, we have transformed the business into a strategic business consultancy that is aligned to people and companies that we love working with. Our team is happy, our clients are happier and strangely enough revenue has also increased!
We have created a solid foundation on which we now plan to kick on, dive deeper into the industries that we love working in, provide a greater breadth of solutions to our clients and establish Trusted Advisor partnerships for the longer term. The days of mere business transactions have gone!
If you would like to hear more about our story or if you would like to discuss any organisation transformational pain you are suffering then feel free to call Doug Mackay on 01829 732374.