Landing your dream job without leaving the house

We understand how tough the market is at the moment and if you find yourself out of work and looking for a job, we want to help you as much as we can.

We’ve teamed up with propulsion.life to offer 5 webinars that cover everything a candidate needs to be successful in today’s job market.

They are both strategic and practical with planning and wellbeing elements, as well as hands-on units giving real experience to candidates.

While the usual program starts at 40 interactive hours these 5 webinars will give you some amazing insight and a real head start in their search:

  • Resilience or ‘Put your own oxygen mask on first’.

How do you make sure you not only stay sane in these mad times but how do you move forward, grow and be positive?

  • Career strategies.

Know yourself and know your market.

If you’re changing direction – how best to do it.

  • Knowledge.

Your CV, LinkedIn profile, social media, job boards and how it really works.

  • Creating curiosity.

Creating a ‘Personal Brand’ that will make people come looking for you and how to build a supportive & productive network.

  • Execution.

How to really impress at every stage of the process.

If this is of interest to you, or anyone you know, you can register for your place here.

An introduction to the two fantastic people who will be leading these webinars:

Symon Hughes is a phenomenally experienced recruitment specialist:

He spent 5 years with Michael Page, the next few years working in European Search before moving in-house as one of the first Talent Acquisition Specialists. His career spans numerous brands and companies, from Disney to Vodafone, Barclays to Aviva and numerous tech & consumer start-ups.

  • 25 years’ experience getting people jobs
  • Read over 100,000 CV’s
  • Conducted over 10,000 interviews
  • 1000’s of LinkedIn searches looking for the perfect candidate
  • Managed 1000’s of hours of feedback to candidates & recruiters
  • Has an extensive network of recruiters and hiring managers in all industries
  • Has worked inside major global brands and really knows what happens to your CV.
  • Spent 18 years looking for jobs himself!


Simon North: one of the countries most respected career coaches

Simon is a Fellow of the CIPD, ex CEO, career progression specialist, and business coach. He has a background in HR and in general management. His corporate background includes working for:

  • PwC
  • KPMG
  • IBM
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Shell International

He speaks at some of the UK’s top business schools including Ashridge, Henley, Warwick and Durham Business Schools and is often asked to speak to various networks and alumni groups abroad. Simon features in the HR industry’s leading publications such as HR Director, HR Magazine, OnRec and HR Zone. He also regularly contributes to the national and business press including Management Today, Director Magazine, Recruiter Magazine, The Financial Times, The Sunday Times, Forbes and The Guardian.

If this is of interest to you, or anyone you know, you can register for your place here.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist.

Experimentation: innovation has to work in the real world

Our latest featured blog is a series of videos from Gavin Russell, with his tips on how HR practitioners can improve their ability to be innovative. With over 20 years in talent transformation, Gavin has helped businesses ranging from small start-ups to multinational corporations rapidly evolve their approach to talent.

He has led major talent change programmes at Skype, Microsoft, Foxtel and DTZ and is the author of ‘Transformation Timebomb’, a business guidebook for the digital age. He holds certifications in Mastering Business Models, Value Propositions and Business Testing, as well as Design Thinking. 

Gavin has given us his top 5 tips for HR practitioners on improving their ability to be innovative.

5. Experimentation:

Innovation has to work in the real world.

‘Making’ is a fundamental part of innovation, as it creates a tangible feedback loop to drive quick and continuous improvements.

Experiments reduce risks and uncertainty of innovation by producing evidence.

Try ideas out and invite others to respond. Testing your ideas early leads to creating happy accidents when you discover new things.

Communicate. Tell others what your innovation actually is and use their feedback to validate or invalidate your hypotheses.

Remember to show not tell.  This helps your audience to understand, so you can get good quality feedback and uncover missing details.

Develop a suite of experiments to test ideas in the real world – it doesn’t need to be big and complicated.

You can find out more about what Gavin does on his website here.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. Please get in contact with him directly to discuss any of these topics further.

Embrace absurdity: accelerate creativity

Our latest featured blog is a series of videos from Gavin Russell, with his tips on how HR practitioners can improve their ability to be innovative. With over 20 years in talent transformation, Gavin has helped businesses ranging from small start-ups to multinational corporations rapidly evolve their approach to talent.

He has led major talent change programmes at Skype, Microsoft, Foxtel and DTZ and is the author of ‘Transformation Timebomb’, a business guidebook for the digital age. He holds certifications in Mastering Business Models, Value Propositions and Business Testing, as well as Design Thinking. 

Gavin has given us his top 5 tips for HR practitioners on improving their ability to be innovative.

4. Embrace absurdity:

Einstein said, “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it”.

Absurdity accelerates creativity.

It’s a team sport – creativity is not a linear process. Some people’s crazy ideas will prompt other crazy ideas.

Include a variety of perspectives – working in silos will give you a limited viewpoint, which in turn limits your output.  

Truly share all your work with each other. You cannot afford to be shy or judgemental, just let the ideas flow.

You must prioritise quantity over quality: generate lots of ideas, some of them will be awful, some excellent. You’ve got to push through: It’s hard to break that habit but it’s well worth it.

You can find out more about what Gavin does on his website here.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. Please get in contact with him directly to discuss any of these topics further.

Design thinking principles

Our latest featured blog is a series of videos from Gavin Russell, with his tips on how HR practitioners can improve their ability to be innovative. With over 20 years in talent transformation, Gavin has helped businesses ranging from small start-ups to multinational corporations rapidly evolve their approach to talent.

He has led major talent change programmes at Skype, Microsoft, Foxtel and DTZ and is the author of ‘Transformation Timebomb’, a business guidebook for the digital age. He holds certifications in Mastering Business Models, Value Propositions and Business Testing, as well as Design Thinking. 

Gavin has given us his top 5 tips for HR practitioners on improving their ability to be innovative.

3. Design thinking principles:

Enterprise innovation comes from a deep understanding of your users real-world problems.

Don’t start with how to improve your current products/services – you’ve already narrowed your objective, which stifles creativity. 

You should start at the other end – your users experience of their jobs/pains/risks/gains.

Immerse yourself in their problem – soak it up without judgement, developing fresh perspectives.

Understanding your user’s problem/opportunity, from their point of view, creates a completely different framework within which to be creative.

Embrace the ‘small, quick and dirty’.

Solution often doesn’t need to be big, expensive and complicated. In fact, the best innovations are often small, fast, simple, focussed and frequent.

Don’t wait till it’s perfect – no solution is perfect. And remember, you don’t need to know everything to get moving.

You can find out more about what Gavin does on his website here.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. Please get in contact with him directly to discuss any of these topics further.

Make time to practise

Our latest featured blog is a series of videos from Gavin Russell, with his tips on how HR practitioners can improve their ability to be innovative. With over 20 years in talent transformation, Gavin has helped businesses ranging from small start-ups to multinational corporations rapidly evolve their approach to talent.

He has led major talent change programmes at Skype, Microsoft, Foxtel and DTZ and is the author of ‘Transformation Timebomb’, a business guidebook for the digital age. He holds certifications in Mastering Business Models, Value Propositions and Business Testing, as well as Design Thinking. 

Gavin has given us his top 5 tips for HR practitioners on improving their ability to be innovative.

2. Make time to practice:

Skills can be learned – like training a muscle – you get better with practice.

But you wouldn’t attempt to run a marathon without training. And innovation is the new marathon for HR, you need to deliberately train your brain to improve creativity.

Things to remember:

Do it regularly and don’t worry about whether your ideas are good or bad, it’s about getting comfortable with a new skill.

Create the right environment and find what works for you.

Always carry a notebook/digital device to record inspiration.

Be aware of unconscious bias: let go of preconceptions, judgments and long-held beliefs. You need to recognise when assumptions stop your creativity.

You can find out more about what Gavin does on his website here.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. Please get in contact with him directly to discuss any of these topics further.

Cultivate divergent thinking

Our latest featured blog is a series of videos from Gavin Russell, with his tips on how HR practitioners can improve their ability to be innovative. With over 20 years in talent transformation, Gavin has helped businesses ranging from small start-ups to multinational corporations rapidly evolve their approach to talent.

He has led major talent change programmes at Skype, Microsoft, Foxtel and DTZ and is the author of ‘Transformation Timebomb’, a business guidebook for the digital age. He holds certifications in Mastering Business Models, Value Propositions and Business Testing, as well as Design Thinking. 

Gavin has given us his top 5 tips for HR practitioners on improving their ability to be innovative.

Number 1: Cultivate divergent thinking:

Innovation is not some sort of hereditary gift; it’s actually the skilled application of knowledge in new and exciting ways.

Research shows that creative thinking is actually about making new connections between different regions of the brain, creating large scale neural networks.

That means anyone can evolve their creativity by changing their normal routine, stepping outside of their comfort zones and challenging themselves in new ways.

It’s accomplished by cultivating divergent thinking skills and deliberately exposing oneself to new experiences and to new learning.

Divergent thinking is not the same as creativity, it’s the capacity for creativity – what Edward de Bono called ‘lateral thinking’.

We all have the capacity for it – we just have to challenge belief systems built up that stifle it – it’s about breaking habits.

It’s also about exposing yourself to completely new experiences and learning. And I’m not talking about training courses, I’m talking about completely new situations/people/environments that you’re not used to.

The key here is to put yourself in a new space and be open to discovery.

You can find out more about what Gavin does on his website here.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. Please get in contact with him directly to discuss any of these topics further.

Demystifying automation

 

Our featured blog this week is from Francesca Valli – enterprise transformation delivery expert. She owns and runs a management consultancy called Chrys, helping organisations to change – without all the complexity. She has helped organisations deliver the transformation and secure multi-£m returns on IT investment. In this article we discuss automation change projects and specifically demystifying it.

So, tell us about your expertise in automation?

Recently, I have obtained certification from the London School of Economics and Political Science on ‘automation: implementation in business’. The course of studies explored the strategic deployment of automation technologies in order to secure business value. What I have learnt on the course aligns with my experience and two of the key teachings are – the implementation of automation must be aligned to business strategy and change management is essential for implementation and adoption. Both messages were supported, in the course, by a theoretical framework punctuated by the interventions of business leaders whose automation experience warned of the perils of disregarding both.

What do you mean when you say, ‘demystify automation’?

Automation technology is beneficial and inevitable, as digital increasingly drives economic growth and societal transformation – but in the final analysis, it is just that… technology. I will describe its key features in a simple way. Change is brought about by the collaboration between people, in projects, IT, business operations, with a common objective, supported by shared tools and practices that drive alignment and delivery. I will point, here, to those tools and practices that foster the collaboration making the path to change infinitely smoother. We make change so difficult. It isn’t and it shouldn’t be. Automation does not change this.

The automation technology world

The ‘automation of knowledge work’ is a technological development gathering speed under our eyes. It refers to the use of computers to perform tasks that require expertise previously belonging exclusively to humans.

Whilst we are familiar with the automation of assembly lines, with its futuristic robots populating manufacturing plants, what I describe here is not the automation of production but the automation of services

There are two service automation technologiesavailable to the enterprise:

  1. Robotic Process Automation
  2. Cognitive Automation.

Artificial intelligence, specifically the so-called ‘strong’ AI, a technology aimed at achieving parity with humans, in all its complexity of awareness, understanding, reasoning, decision, action, is not present in the enterprise and we may be decades away from it – if we were ever to get there. This is not just a theoretical debate. Amongst other things, knowing the difference between RPA, CA, AI brings the CXO to a level playing discussion-field with software vendors – and it enables them to support leadership and teams along the automation journey.

Robotic Process Automation (PRA)

RPA is the use of software to automate processes and tasks, in the enterprise, previously performed by employees. It is suited to high volumes of transactions of a low complexity calibre. It is the most appropriate – and fastest – at repetitive tasks.

‘Desktop’, ‘Enterprise’ ‘Cloud’ are the various types of RPA deployed according to enterprise scale and requirements. A ‘desktop’ RPA can be configured by an able user, its technology non-invasive and easily mastered. ‘Enterprise’ RPA needs to be configured and installed by IT professionals, given its likely interfacing within an existing IT infrastructure. ‘Cloud’ RPA is easier to deploy, maintain and scale, in line with cloud technology, plus, it can ‘learn’ from the other robots in the cloud.

From a data perspective, RPA uses, as input, ‘structured’, ‘labelled’, data (think data in a spreadsheet) and, according to pre-set rules, processes that data to produce an expected outcome (‘given A, then B’).

RPA is typically deployed in a back-office context. Think accounts departments’ employees checking payable or receivable balances and transferring the information thus retrieved to a different application. Think insurance employees processing premium renewals. All these repetitive activities, when not complicated by exceptions, can be processed by RPA. An RPA ‘robot’ then is nothing other than the software license needed to carry out these activities, nothing fanciful – or intelligent, in a human sense, there. Seen in this light, RPA technology frees employees to carry out added-value activities, whilst the robot carries out the repetitive, mindless ones, effectively ‘taking the robot out of the human’).

Cognitive Automation (CA)

 CA is the use of software to automate complex processes and tasks also previously performed exclusively by employees. Unlike RPA, CA is more appropriately suited to complex, low volume transactions.

From a technology perspective, CA uses algorithms, intelligent instructions to process both ‘structured’ or ‘unstructured’ data (images, voice) to produce probabilistic outcomes (‘B is more likely given A’). The main CA tools are computer vision (including image processing), natural language processing (NLP) – and more, by the day, digital development and imagination knowing very few boundaries. CA is suited to finding patterns among large volumes of data. Because of ‘machine learning’ capabilities built into the software, CA can ‘learn’ by comparing expectations to results, improving performance over time. However, whilst CA does interact, intelligently, with rules in order to interpret data and complete tasks, CA is still not an artificial intelligence system.

CA typical deployment context is the front-office. Think chatbot assistants deployed in those customer-facing environments we are familiar with, from our own online retail – or banking – experience, all underpinned by CA. Think the virtual agents, such as IBM Watson, Expert System Cogito, IPsoft Amelia, used to engage with customers and employees and that can respond to chats, adapt to detected emotions and execute tasks identified during the chat itself, thanks to memory capabilities (unlike Siri, our phone-residing assistant, who can only respond to simple requests (input) with simple responses (outputs), having no memory or understanding of context).

Where is automation in business heading?

In 2018, the combined service automation market was estimated at US$ 4.1bn, with a predicted rise to US$ 46.5bn in 2024 (8). In a Sep 2020 press release, Gartner predicts that, despite the economic pressures due to COVID-19, the RPA market is expected to grow at double-digit rates through 2024. Indeed, COVID-19 and the ensuing global recession have increased interest in RPA with 90% of large organisations having adopted RPA by 2022, as they look to ‘digitally empower critical processes through resilience and scalability while recalibrating human labour and manual effort’. CA is still a somewhat new technology, with organisations needing to make relatively novel decisions as to its applicability and role within the enterprise. A positive outlook on CA investment comes from IPsoft Amelia’s AI-Powered Telco report on how the telecom industry is using automation to transform operations, forecasting a market size of US$ 36.7bn, annually, by 2025.

And how do you avoid costly mistakes?

For an organisation to prosper in digital times, a CEO must put in place the two success elements for the implementation of automation, namely, strategy alignment and change management.

It is my profound belief, developed in two decades at the coalface, that change – of the extensive type brought about by a new target operating model, a new ERP, a new enterprise architecture – is ultimately about the collaboration between people, in projects, IT, business operations, aimed at a common objective, supported by common tools and practices that form a coherent structure aimed at achieving the transformation.

Out of the universe of change methodologies, I have come up with a combination of business-focused tools and practices, based on my best work. These tools and practices, practical, scalable, easily embedded in a project delivery structure, give the business operations teams a voice and create a collaborative, dynamic culture which, not least, will facilitate the understanding of the benefits and the useful application of automation. It is within this collaborative culture that people can be educated to operate in an environment where automation may be the norm and where people’s fears of losing their jobs to machines can be addressed.

Francesca helps organisations navigate change – she believes projects of transformation fail because business change practices are inexistent, governance is weak and the mechanics of the delivery malfunctioning. She has many years’ experience in transformation, so if you’d like to speak to her, contact her here.

For a deeper exploration of tools and practices for effective business transformation, download the playbook Demystifying Change.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. Please get in contact with him directly to discuss any of these topics further.