Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Importance of Being Earnest

Brexit, Trump, Leicester winning the Premier league, the passing of musical geniuses – the list goes on.  Let’s face it, we have had everything thrown at us in 2016 but there’s one thing that remains certain and that’s change.    We are living in uncertain times and this will inevitably affect the decisions of organisations and their appetite to forge ahead with plans.  This uncertainty is creating the need for change on the one hand but paradoxically is leading to inaction on the other due to an over cautious approach.   It would be a huge mistake for organisations to do nothing with the risk of  market share loss, acquisition targets slipping through the net and losing key talent to name but a few.   

Leaving the EU is a mammoth task.   The globalisation of the UK is firmly on the agenda and although it will take years to go through this messy divorce, hopefully the UK will be stronger for it.  But what happens in the meantime?   It’s the uncertainty that will create problems as ‘projects’ are put on hold.  Clearly for businesses in crisis, something has to be done urgently but the need for an interim isn’t always for reasons of crisis management.   

Organisations in need of transformation, restructuring, project / programme management, business improvement or anything that results in change continue to need people to help drive them forward without distraction.  What has become prevalent  is the need to put a compelling case forward firstly as to why interim is the right/best solution and then it’s down to the interim to provide reassurance and a convincing pitch as to why they should be selected with some quantification around the return on investment (ROI). 

It matters now more than ever to make a difference but how can an interim executive ensure they make a ‘real’ difference and deliver in a way that meets with expectations? There are a number of skills, competencies and personality traits needed to succeed as an interim.  Here are a few;

Honesty – providing an open and honest account of the findings.  Interims are able to do this (on the proviso it’s delivered in a professional way) without fear of job security, weakening promotion prospects etc.  The value to management, shareholders, stakeholders and employees is immeasurable. Quite often the day to day gets in the way and organisations can’t see the wood for the trees.

Delivery – hugely important and ultimately will be the basis of measurement of how successful the assignment has been.

Speed – expect to be parachuted in to new environments, grasp what the business does, build relationships often with customers, suppliers, and subcontractors and address the issues causing the challenges.  The problem should be solved and solution implemented as quickly as possible.

Objectivity – an impartial view of analysis undertaken provides the leadership team with a balanced, honest opinion without the person delivering the message having another agenda. 

Coaching / Mentoring - this is always part of the brief whether or not it’s been clearly defined.  This can be for members of the leadership team, management team or just generally a style that should be adopted when leading people for the short term.

Engaging with stakeholders – interims often find themselves in quite complex scenarios with multiple stakeholders that have to be taken on the journey.  Building relationships is part of the remit.

Communication – can’t be emphasised enough.  Any change programme’s success is dependant on how engaged the people are. 

Don’t get drawn in to BAU issues – the reason the client has engaged an interim in the first place is because they don’t have the internal capacity or capability to solve the problem.   If the interim finds themselves in a firefighting situation, they are likely to take their eye off the ball from the original set of objectives.

Confidence and gravitas – the fact that someone has embarked on a career as an interim is borne from having achieved and delivered during a corporate career at board, functional or in a business leadership capacity.  This knowledge and experience should enable the interim to tackle challenges with the necessary agility and be chameleon like in approach.  

Managing the exit – once the agreed objectives have been delivered it’s important to manage an exit at the appropriate time.  The interim should avoid hanging around unnecessarily as this will quickly diminish the value created from the good work undertaken. 

Leaving a legacy – be remembered for the right reasons.

This is all underpinned by the raison d'ĂȘtre of adding value, making a difference and ensuring a return on investment.   It’s the little wins that can make the biggest difference and mopping up the unexpected problems where the interim can go the extra mile.

In order to ensure a successful assignment for all parties it’s important to be honest and how this is delivered will determine the added value in the long term.  After all, the results of this assignment will determine the reference received and how quickly the next one is secured.


For further information or a confidential discussion about how we can help please contact Steven Wynne on 01423 704153 or email steven.wynne@macallaminterim.com

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Do you decide to recruit Internally or Externally?

Picture the scene – a key member of your team has resigned and they can’t be persuaded to stay. You know you must replace – the dilemma is whether to “play it safe” and go with an internal candidate or look externally.

Internal promotion can be seen to encourage loyalty, build morale and send out a powerful message about career prospects – assuming, of course, that the internal candidate has the right skills  – but the drawback surrounds the missed opportunities of bringing someone new into the organisation.

Many companies are adept at creating internal pipelines of talent recognising the need to retain good people and provide business continuity. These businesses strive to offer people a vision of where and how their careers may develop, instead of having to leave to move upwards. Furthermore, the creation of continuous development opportunities for home grown talent sends out a strong and powerful message.

Some companies always promote from within first only bringing in new people at junior level. By doing this, they tend to have good retention at lower and middle levels and keep recruitment costs low. Employees can rise from junior ranks fairly quickly before progression slows due to a mix of limited opportunities or their inability to progress further.

Succession planning runs through the talent management process from recruitment to how employee performance is managed and building a culture of internal promotion gives people aspirations. However, it is critical that expectations are managed and when an internal candidate is unsuccessful for a role, they deserve honest feedback so they can re-set their goals and aspirations based on reality. 

However, if the business is venturing into new markets or sectors, the likelihood is that the required skill set will not be available internally. Also, there are benefits to be gained by bringing in a fresh set of eyes with best practice knowledge and skills gained elsewhere. Rightly so, much is written today about the value of transferable skills and skills can transfer successfully between industries, sectors, markets and functions.

Whilst it could be perceived that external recruitment stifles the development of internal staff by cutting off promotion avenues, the counter argument is that promoting internal talent prevents the opportunity to inject fresh ideas into the business. Conversely, recruiting a manager from outside may mean that talent is unearthed in the business that the previous management had failed to identify or chose to overlook and new management gives these people new opportunities.

New blood into an organisation, specifically at senior level, brings new ideas, innovation, creativity, and different ways of working. It rarely comes without pain because new senior managers will challenge the status quo, ask pertinent questions and shake people out of their comfort zone by getting people to up their game or leave.

Business growth can also be a factor in the internal v external recruitment debate. Some employees are ideally suited to smaller businesses (invariably these are family based) and as the business grows and possibly the family influence begins to take a back seat; there is greater need for formalised management structures, process, procedure, controls and disciplines. Some people will find the growth transition uncomfortable and in simple terms, the business out grows the individual and a new/different skill set is required.

In these situations, bringing in someone new will bring much needed ideas, energy and vision whilst challenging those that say “but we’ve always done it this way”.

If it comes down to cost, on paper external recruitment will cost more and external recruits will need to be given an on-boarding process to familiarise them with the business. However, over time the right candidate will be able to make a significant contribution and make a step change for the business through new methods of working, accountability and the identification of new opportunities. Inevitably, change and improved performance are what all companies are looking for!

Every business needs to manage the balance between internal and external recruitment but at senior level, sometimes it takes an outsider to come in and make that change happen.

Written by Adrian Berwick. 

Adrian is an experienced HR Professional who works exclusively with Macallam on the delivery of their Personal Career Transition service.




Friday, 23 September 2016

Brexit and the Circular Economy



Having attended the RWM / Energy event last week, I was interested to update on latest developments with the Circular Economy, Energy from Waste and Recycling / Reprocessing / Waste sectors.   What became apparent is that whilst the UK is pushing to develop a circular economy there are huge opportunities in what is now becoming the Global Circular Economy.  This got me thinking.  Will Brexit (whatever Brexit means) have any impact on the objective of achieving a world where we reduce resources and extend the lifecycle of what we use and recycle as much as we can if we leave the EU?

For those unfamiliar with the terminology the circular economy is a modernised version of the old ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’ mantra with the objective of stripping out waste, streamlining supply chains and converting what we can into energy.  The market opportunity is huge and with the changes afoot the Global Circular Economy could be a $1 Trillion opportunity.  In the UK alone this could equate to £3-6 Billion and the creation of 50,000 jobs.  

All the respective sectors and businesses within those should all be contributing.  Ultimately we need to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and I believe any businesses producing waste of any description has a duty to fulfil.  This then extends to the domestic world and peoples behaviours in their homes, buying habits in terms of purchasing what you need not what you think you need and everyone contributing to a less wasteful existence.  These behaviours are interchangeable as habits become the norm if practised often enough and what might be a move to reducing the weekly shopping bill at home can actually extend into achieving resource efficiency in business.
Education, Legislation and communication are key and it takes the leaders of business, Government (central and local) to push this down from above.  After all there are money making opportunities from the renewable sources of energy that can be created, the cost savings in reducing materials spend and reducing waste;  so why wouldn’t you?

It is more important than ever that we work together what with an ever increasing population, rising commodity and material prices and working through global supply chains to reduce firstly what’s purchased and then secondly what we send on a journey.  Making that process as efficient as possible is imperative in order to attain the goal.

What can be done when so much change is needed?  A start would be to ensure the best and right talent is being utilised to full effect.  Engaging experts in the field that can drive forward the agenda within companies seems to me to be a hugely important part of the achieving the goal.  Individuals without the distraction of day to day BAU that can push the difficult tasks and drive a cultural change within the business.  Additionally those responsible for the corporate social responsibility agendas in businesses have a great opportunity to drive a zero- waste and re-use culture which in turn will result in improved efficiencies and more profitable operations.   

There are of course many businesses now involved in the resource efficiency market from those involved in building and operating Energy from Waste plants, Recycling, Renewables and so on that are all running businesses and making profit from this. Waste has become a valuable resource and although we should all try to minimise it, it’s hugely important that it’s dealt with in the right way and in the right place.
The Waste sector has been driven by EU legislation for quite some time and it’s vital that the UK does not lose ground.  We need more progress.  Europe’s economy has created vast wealth in part attributable to the trend of improving and re-using resources.  Sub industries have grown and flourished and can go further across Europe and indeed globally.  It was in fact the UK that was an early adopter and leader in the EU of addressing environmental issues with the introduction of the Control of Pollutions Act 1974.  Whether or not Brexit will have any impact on this remains to be seen but it seems to me that as part of the mammoth task that lies ahead in terms of managing an exit (possible) from Europe, we need new legislation in place to reach our goal of attaining Zero waste businesses and ultimately cities to co-exist with the ensuing trade agreements that are going to follow.

Steven Wynne

For further discussions please contact Steven Wynne at steven.wynne@macallaminterim.com or telephone 01423 704155




Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Brexit, and the future of European resourcing….

Martin Sorrell of WPP suggested the Remain campaign was out of touch with the concerns and views of the majority of the electorate. The focus on the rational economic argument, neglecting the emotionally-driven issues of sovereignty and immigration, was an error.

The full consequences of Remains’ failure are hard to predict but they will likely include slower growth rates in the UK and beyond. There will be considerable uncertainty for some time, which will slow decision-making and deter economic activity and investment. Delaying triggering Article 50 feels like there was little expectation of Brexit succeeding, little plan for afterwards, politicians resigning and in a time when businesses need swift action to reduce uncertainty.

All this in a business world that has become self burdened with caution, risk-aversion and short-termism. We have already seen examples of investment being put off or cancelled altogether, the faltering Tata Steel sale process, or the delayed EDF Hinckley Nuclear investment are cases in point. Besides, this could have serious implications for our National ability to satisfy future UK Energy demand (if the lights start going out, will the Brexiteers be ok with that?), and future job loses.

However, we have no choice but to look ahead to a post-Brexit future and will that be so different politically. After all of this upheaval, will we revert back to something which operates in a similar way to pre referendum? If the UK needs to make concessions on free movement of people and immigration in order to retain trade relationships – are we not back to Square one?

Paradoxically, WPP and other firms may become more European than ever. While the UK may have voted to leave Europe, companies have not. Four large top 10 markets are in Western Continental Europe – Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Here it’s likely to spur recruitment of people employed in European markets faster than in the UK.

The strategic reaction to Brexit may be to pursue a greater focus on the fast-growth markets (“emerging” economies); a greater focus on data and digital; and (another irony) a greater focus on getting people to work together more effectively across national and functional boundaries for the benefit of clients.

Working together for its clients (the electorate) is something the UK’s politicians are finding hard to do. After a vote for division and isolation, and a descent into political in-fighting, this message of unity is one that Westminster would be well-advised to listen to.

By Duncan Carter, Director at Macallam Executive Search and Interim Management

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

FM World annual survey in the facilities management sector

As part of the FM World annual survey in the facilities management sector, we were asked to contribute by answering some questions as to what we thought were the skills and capabilities currently being demanded in the FM market?

Here are our thoughts on how we see the jobs market in the FM sector in 2016.

What skills are organisations seeking from their FM personnel?

There is a steady flow of requirements for experienced FM managers with strong communication, commercial, customer skills and often technical service line knowledge; however the changing demands of many client environments are driving the need for greater skillsets. In some cases we see more emphasis on senior skills in commercial and change management, than the need for technically driven people who understand a specific client sector.

However, there is still a significant need for FM experience by contractors who feel they need to present people to their clients who have knowledge in FM and experience in that sector. It’s a case of can they influence their client to recruit someone from outside.

 Are FM-specific qualifications seen as a must-have, or are they less relevant at senior level, where the emphasis is more on the 'management' part of facilities management?

In the main, qualifications are less important than proven management ability to deliver results.

Where contractors are constrained by budgets, do they ever seek to recruit from within and invest in training current staff in various management skills?

Contractors do develop people through their Training and Development schemes, but that's a whole separate topic which would require in detail analysis of their effectiveness.

Are employers looking for facilities managers with better qualifications today, when compared to five, ten years ago?

Better qualifications help, but wider experience is more beneficial. In some cases, providers would like to bring people into the FM sector at GM or Account level from other industries. There is a view that FM has become over inflated with high salaried, often average people. In sectors such as manufacturing, it is possible to find well qualified, graduate calibre managers with sophisticated management skills, large team management, process and six sigma training for much lower salaries. These people can also bring new ideas into a maturing market. As contractors come under increasing cost pressure, these are becoming attractive options. A good example is, Macallam appointed Joe Podolsky from Emerson, the Global engineering manufacturer to successfully develop a key market for GWS, Johnson Controls.


For further information on this or for a confidential discussion please get in touch on             T: 01423 704154 or E: enquiries@macallam.com

Thursday, 24 September 2015

FM services sector is on the up


According to the latest quarterly report from the CBI Service Sector Survey, the FM services market has seen a healthy boost in levels of business. 48% of companies surveyed reported a rise in business volumes, 22% increased selling prices and 47% an overall increase in profitability.

The UK services sector remains the largest part of the economy, accounting for about three quarters of economic activity and this increase in activity is mainly as a result of the wider economic recovery and improved confidence.

The other key development in the market is the recent trend in outsourcing and shift away from single service contracts towards bundled services and total facilities management packages. Private and public sector clients are now looking  to reduce procurement costs through seeking ‘one-stop-shop’ solutions, a trend which  is expected to continue.

What does this mean for the sector and how does this translate for recruitment? With the recent return to positive growth, the FM sector is now expected to continue developing with a predicted forecast of £23.2 billion by 2018.

In response to this companies are now required to upskill their existing workforce and attract new talented recruits capable of adopting new technologies in order for businesses to maintain their competitive advantage in the workplace.

Macallam remains well positioned within the FM arena to assist with any potential recruitment needs either on permanent or interim basis.

For a private and confidential discussion, please call 01423 704154 or email enquiries@macallam.com

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Business leaders need to focus on adoption of new technologies not deployment

Large companies will all agree that in order to reduce the productivity gap, investment and adoption of new technologies is key; yet even with this investment why are people still working in the old fashioned way?

As recently quoted by Sacha Romanovitch, Chief Executive for Grant Thornton UK “we define ourselves by working in boxes, like when you’re running factory shifts and you need to be physically there. We have still not broken out of the paradigm of the industrial era”.

Top talent are now bringing their own list of job requirements including increased flexibility, job mobility, and teleworking so having the technologies in place to support these is vital for companies wishing to grow their skills pool.

Technology will help attract, build and retain the next generation of business leaders. Exacerbated with the increased number of Baby Boomers retiring and Millennials entering the workforce, the latter of whom have grown up with the Internet; companies really need to embrace the latest technologies and market intelligence and failure to do this will in the long term lead to a talent management crisis.

For further information please call 01423 704154 or email enquiries@macallam.com


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