Hello friends of Engage for Change and other passing visitors
Recently I decided that it was time to pull my Engage for Change website as our move to Dorset four years ago precipitated a gradual fall in consulting work and the realisation it no longer fully represented my new life in the Cerne valley in leafy Dorset.
That said I still respond to requests for engagement consulting when it is tightly focussed on involving people in strategy origination and execution. It’s extraordinary that when organisations initiate a strategy renewal so few ask themselves the question ‘who will add value to this exercise’ from around the organisation from the get go.
Fewer still ask themselves what role does the guiding executive need to have in designing the forward process and then challenging itself by considering which groups are qualified to contribute and challenge. Too often engagement in strategy is still seen as a communication exercise (dressed up as ‘colleague engagement’) once the plan is formed by an elite. In project after project where a properly thought through power sharing engagement process is employed senior managers who have had the confidence to conduct such a process see that the programme (be it strategy, crisis or change and transformation) sees faster, better results and enjoy a workforce that is much more motivated to deliver success for themselves and the institution.
In too many instances the strategy team, board or exec team go down a command and control road which once started takes on its own momentum with little and more likely no consideration who it makes sense to engage before the train leaves the station.
I act as an advisor utilising house staff – there are no legions of outside support staff. My focus is on diplomatic but disciplined facilitation of the C suite or lead group.
Additionally I have three advisory board positions including a long standing role with Creative Culture, a ten year old global advisor to global clients on rendering global marketing, promotion and advertising campaigns sensitive to national cultures, referred to as ‘localisation’.
Headquarted in Soho they have 2,500 ‘cultural associates’ all over the world. The firm is run by French woman Melanie Chevalier. Through her and her colleagues’ efforts the firm is growing at a phenomenal rate.
And two more. I’d like to add perhaps two more preferably in the west country. I take no fees other than travel costs.
I’ve had four books published with a fifth on the drawing board.
- Corporate Reputation – managing the new strategic asset (with Colette Dorward and Jerome Reback) by Century Business in 1992
- The CEO, the chief engagement officer, turning hierarchy upside down to drive performance by Gower in 2007
- The Velvet revolution at work, the rise of employee engagement, the fall of command and control by Routledge in 2013
- Female entrepreneurs, the secrets of their success with Ruth Saunders. Published by Routledge in 2020
A local Dorset publisher is interested in a book on both female and male entrepreneurs in the West country.
Having moved to Dorset four years ago I’ve run into many male and female entrepreneurs. The Dorset chamber of commerce have been very helpful and the entrepreneurs I’ve met are keen. Watch this space.
I do 95% of the cooking at home. It gives my day structure and I challenge myself not to repeat recipes more than once a month. We’re vegetarian five days a week – lots of chopping and peeling!
I worked in my late teens as a cook in one of the first burger cafes in Kingston on Thames. It was owned by a former American special forces officer and his wife who filled my head with the writings of Ayn Rand, a controversial author on capitalism including the title ‘Atlas shrugged’. I did all the shopping, cooking, serving and clearing up. It was an inspirational experience long before the rise of celebrity chefs. And I had to walk home five miles after last bus had left.
The two other walks of life I’d have considered were as a film director and chef.
Aside from that we’ve renovated a 300 year old cottage over the last four years. Manor cottage in Godmanstone has never been on the market. It’s set in 24 acres of lush pasture in the Cerne valley where horses and dogs roam.
Elder daughter Rosie is a self employed fashion stylist and Coco is on the edge of university to read Geography. She has worked a gap year working in a high end local catering company with adventures in Mexico and Guatemala, two of the most dangerous countries in South America.