GC People Moves: November 2018

Businesses have continued to invest in high profile GC/leadership appointments. Our report outlines some of the most interesting and important appointments which have taken place over recent months.

If you would like to discuss  how Norman Broadbent can help your business, please contact Vijesh Patel  on vijesh.patel@normanbroadbentsolutions.com or +44 (0) 20 7483 015 588

    • Andy Paull – CFO/CoSec for Premier Veterinary group plc as of 30th Nov
    • Kate Cheetham – Group CoSec as of 2018 for Lloyds
    • Neil Davies – Chamberlin plc – FD/CoSec Dec 2018
    • Shelley Fraser – FD/CoSec – Hvivo plc – Jan 2019
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The War For Talent Just Got Real

Good leaders are critical to driving growth and productivity, yet organisations are finding it more difficult to attract next-generation leaders and high potential talent. The Chartered Management Institute recently stated that 64% of employers think lack of leadership and management is holding back growth. They also claim poor management could be costing UK businesses over £19 billion a year. The UK Labour Market Report recommends that the UK needs to appoint 200,000 managers and leaders every year, and the workforce is contracting on both sides of the coin.

There aren’t enough young professionals coming into the market at the bottom, and many are retiring at the top. This is not a cyclical shift as described in McKinsey’s ‘War for Talent’ in the late 90s. This is systemic.

To meet these challenges, businesses need to consider their EVP, and even more so, their behaviours. They need to be more attractive, more compelling, and take a more macro-perspective on recruitment.

Norman Broadbent Solutions has seen an increasing number of clients seeking help to address problems with their talent attraction and engagement strategy. Our advice is that it’s no longer about merely appointing candidates based on technical capability, but aligning them culturally, and assessing them from a purpose, integrity, values, and resilience perspective. As no company is the same, and each has to develop an engaging and compelling proposition, our advice is increasingly bespoke to achieve the desired outcomes.

If you would like to learn more about this topic and understand how we may be able to help you, please contact Vijesh Patel via +44 (0) 20 7483 015 588 or vijesh.patel@normanbroadbentsolutions.com  for an initial, confidential discussion.

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Functional Perceptions: Take a look at things through the lens of another stakeholder

A highly experienced General Counsel (GC) recently asked us to share our understanding of why some Legal and other professional functions can “plateau”. By this, they did not mean failure, but merely that things were “going off the boil”: contrary opinions were more forthcoming, advice was being increasingly debated rather than accepted, etc.  In summary, nothing was going disastrously wrong, but there was a sense that the Legal function was not seen in the same way it perhaps once was.

In 2014, Harvard academics* sought to understand why some organisational functions ‘stumble’. In essence, they demonstrated there are four clear phases of functional change that occur with age. Using their analysis, our client could be described as being at the third (or ‘mature’) stage of the four phases. This portrayed them as having an established explicit and wide mandate, a large headcount, a management focus on quality and efficiency, relatively stable staff, and a clear formalised leadership structure.

This thought-provoking review was in our minds when formulating answers to our client. They, like most leaders, monitored the effectiveness of their function and found nothing of concern, as internal stakeholder surveys consistently showed good ratings. However, the GC recognised that ‘plateauing’ or ‘stumbling’ scenarios are more difficult to spot and only surface after the event.  With this in mind, our client sought to anticipate problems and take proactive countermeasures. As might be expected, our advice combined addressing both internal and external functional perceptions.

The principles underpinning corralling internal stakeholders’ perceptions are little different from other types of functional reviews. Having contributed to feedback surveys elsewhere in the business, they were interested in taking a different approach. In response, we devised a 360 degree method to collate perceptions of the Legal function across the organisation. This took the form of both question-based and free text feedback formats. This enabled the GC’s self-perceptions to be compared directly with ratings from other stakeholders, thus providing a stark focus on how self and others’ perceptions can be misaligned. In this situation, we used conventional details such as sampling, statistical analysis, subsequent investigative interviewing, etc. to track variations in perceptions, underlying themes, causal factors, and pointers to possible solutions.

Externally, most would agree that functional perceptions play a key role in the organisation’s overall reputational risk profile. Our client had a more specific issue here, which was a very tangible manifestation of ‘plateauing’. They expressed a concern that attracting the right calibre of talent for roles in the Legal function was starting to become more difficult. There was also the nagging concern that anecdotal murmurings might be a precursor to an emerging retention problem. Most of us would agree with the statement that good reputations take years to build, and minutes to destroy.  Being proactive was therefore uppermost in the GC’s mind. Our response was partly conventional (i.e. helping the client review exit interview data and anecdotal data collected during specific recruitment campaigns), but also included conducting a ‘Perception Analysis’ via our networks and people who may have recently left the business, as well as those in competitive firms. This gave the client an external perspective of the role within the business (and the business more generally). We also included a wider market analysis (again through our networks) to ascertain the broader view of the role of the GC and if the market reflected our client’s concerns.

If you would like to learn more about this case study and understand how we may be able to help you, please contact Vijesh Patel via +44 (0) 20 7483 015 588 or vijesh.patel@normanbroadbentsolutions.com  for an initial, confidential discussion.

* “Why Corporate Functions Stumble” Sven Kunisch, Günter Müller-Stewens and Andrew Campbell; Harvard Business Review, 2014

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Supply Chain & Procurement People Moves: November 2018

The following appointments have all taken place during the last few months, covering the full breadth of the wider Supply Chain & Procurement marketplace.

If you would like to discuss the Supply Chain or Procurement marketplace or how Norman Broadbent can help your business, please contact Neal Mankey on neal.mankey@normanbroadbentinterim.com or +44 (0) 20 7484 0116 or James Peskett on james.peskett@normanbroadbentsolutions.com or +44 (0) 20  7355 6936

    • The Instant Group, a specialist in flexible workspace, has appointed Laura Hobbs as Global Head of Supply Chain.
    • Advanced Supply ChainGroup (ASCG) has announced the appointment of Claire Webb as its new Chief Financial Officer. Webb joins the company from Go Outdoors where she has been managing director since June 2017. Co-founder and current CFO, Glyn Rogan, will retire in November this year having built the business alongside CEO Mike Danby over the past 21 years.
    • Avon Productshas announced the appointment of David Hernandez as Chief Procurement Officer, effective January 7, 2019.
    • Marks & Spencer is beefing up its food leadership team, with George Wright, Tesco’s commercial director for convenience, frozen and emerging markets, joining as part of MD of food Stuart Machin’s turnaround plan. Wright, who left Tesco in September, was one of the key people behind Tesco’s Project Reset range review. He is a “brilliant operator who is very well respected by the supply chain for his fair and commercial approach,” said Machin, who worked with him at the Australian supermarket chain Coles. Wright will have responsibility for its trading and supply chain. He starts in his new role in late 2019.
    • Kingfisher today announces a change in the leadership of the Offer and Supply Chainorganisation with Arja Taaveniku being succeeded by Henri Solère.
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Sustainability and Supply Chain

Sustainability and supply chain go hand-in-hand.  In a world of choice, consumers, shoppers, and investors are more aware and concerned about the sustainability/provenance of the goods they buy, whom they purchase from, and which companies they choose to invest in. In a 2017 Unilever Report, it was found that over a third of consumers preferred sustainable brands. As such, consumer companies are increasingly attuned to the sustainable management of their supply chains and are in a strong position to influence (to an extent) their supplier base, seeking out materials, goods, utilities, and services that are environmentally-friendly, responsible, and ethical.

The creation of a sustainable supply chain, however, is often as much about the right talent as it is about the right information. There are a number of developments that have helped companies create momentum around the creation of sustainable supply chains in recent years. These include the 2017 International Standard for Sustainable Procurement ISO20400 and, from a regulatory perspective, the introduction of the UK Modern Slavery Act in 2015. Digitization has also helped produce leaner supply chains, eliminating waste through the use of advanced algorithms that evaluate multiple scenarios and create the optimal plan. This requires a company to determine how natural and human resources are used at every step of the production process, as well as the wider impact the supply chain has on environmental, social, and economic issues. In some cases, this will be a huge undertaking and requires the right talent to put together all the pieces of the puzzle.

Our Supply Chain Practice is often asked to support clients in finding talent to assist in the creation of sustainable supply chains both from a permanent and interim perspective. If this is on your agenda, and you would like to speak with us in confidence, please contact james.peskett@normanbroadbent.com

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Procurement: Driving Innovation

Procurement teams are uniquely placed organisationally giving them a clear line of sight across the value chain. As professionals, they are opinionated and ‘programmed’ to drive efficiencies, create value, and squeeze costs.

Yet despite this unique internal position, according to studies in organisational science, 65% of innovations are sourced via external partners. Our belief is that procurement is an inherently strategic function and should be allowed to drive innovation. This approach will nudge procurement professionals into the C-suite.

So how can we achieve this shift?

  • Get your team out of their seats: Innovative procurement teams create and work within inquisitive cultures. This, coupled with the fact that procurement is increasingly regarded as a ‘contact sport’, means leaders need to encourage ongoing networking/engagement with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Create greater alignment with strategic suppliers: Strategically partnering with suppliers and building mutually beneficial relationships should create a strong platform and environment for innovation. Suppliers know the market, your business, and your competitors. By building trust, their knowledge can be harnessed to your advantage.
  • Back your team and their ideas: Procurement teams are full of ideas – sadly, they rarely see the light of day. Procurement professionals, therefore, need the space to sell their best ideas upwards thus allowing a company to tap into this creative resource. Once a track record of successful innovation generated by the procurement team is established, the process will inevitably become easier.
  • Work the numbers: Innovative moves are more likely to be backed when evidenced with clear data. As grinding through hard data comes naturally to those in procurement, working through scenarios and using numbers effectively can result in unexpected insight and generate excitement about proposed initiatives.

In summary, getting the innovation piece right not only elevates the procurement team but also delivers competitive advantage, and drives talent retention. By getting your procurement teams to focus on innovation, you’ll get them out of their seats, into the business, and ultimately retain them!

If you would like to discuss this topic in greater detail or find out more about how we can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us for an initial and confidential conversation. For more details contact Neal Mankey  on +44 (0) 20 7484 0116 or neal.mankey@normanbroadbentinterim.com

 

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