So …. Here we are, Startup #4
This time, there is no Tech, for the moment anyway.
I have been incredibly fortunate to have spent the last 35 years working with some exceptionally talented, entertaining, funny and inspiring people, and some great clients. We created some groundbreaking software solutions, had some tremendous commercial successes and, yes, some failures. It’s a well worn cliche, but we learnt as much from the failures as we did from the successes …. or maybe even more.
So, where did the inspiration for 2Saints, come from? I had just completed several years working with the talented, highly driven, EVORA team who had truly placed technology at the centre of their offering, the result is hugely successful, with enviable growth underpinned by a strong ethical and social conscience.
As we approach the 3rd decade of the 21st century, it is crunch time for many businesses who will have to “do an EVORA” and embrace digital transformation in order to thrive and survive. The traditional concept of the IT department will, inevitably, struggle to survive in this new world. Indeed, there are many companies that have abandoned the IT department and moved to a model in which tech and business talent working side by side. Ways of working are changing: it will simply not be enough as an as a ‘IT person’ to be technically bright; they will need to be great communicators, commercially aware. They will need the ability to empathise with the goals, challenges and processes of the business. There are some great tech teams working in great businesses in the UK, and bringing the two together more effectively can only be a win-win …. After re-reading Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ for the first time in 20 years, the 3 habits that resonate most are ‘think win-win’, ‘synergise’ and ‘seek first to understand and then to be understood’.
2Saints has the goal of connecting tech and business teams through coaching and mentoring. Paul Walton and I have teamed up and got the gang back together after a few years. In our first collaboration I ran the IT Business Partners team at DTZ and Paul came on board. Paul and I and the rest of the team worked across all parts of the business in the UK and beyond. Looking back now, those 3 ‘habits’ were our ethos then, and they still are. Our fresh approach is based upon our years of experience working in IT, understanding the issues of many different types of business teams and working with them to find, create or implement new tech initiatives.
If 2Saints could hijack just one of Covey’s habits as its mission it would be ‘seek first to understand and then to be understood’. To have that ‘habit’ truly embedded in IT teams would release enormous potential for individuals and businesses everywhere.
I moved down to London from Edinburgh in the late 90s, drawn there by a job offer. London had been on my mind for a decade or more, since a visit to family in trendy Notting Hill showed me what a right mixed bag of posh and poor the city is. I loved it!
When the job offer from the prestigious Coopers and Lybrand (now PriceWaterHouseCoopers/PwC) came along, I jumped at it. It was to help rebuild a deskside support team that had been decimated. My guys would come to desk and fix your computer problems – very much a Rolls Royce service, which is something you don’t see often these days.
After a while, and with promotions, my job came to be centred in IT relationship management. I worked with senior leaders and managers, determining business requirements and how technology could enable them. This was truly bridging the gap between tech and the business. The role was about being a trusted advisor and was focused on people, rather than on being technical.
Move into 2007 and I found myself working with Peter at real-estate company DTZ (now Cushman and Wakefield), where Peter ran the IT Business Partnering team.
Jobs changed, people moved on, recession hit the UK and since 2008 I have held various roles with a wide variety of sectors.
Along the way I’ve met, managed, mentored and coached a whole bunch of good (and not so good) people, and have developed, I believe, good insight into the human psyche.
Moving into 2017 and looking for a new challenge, I found that coaching was a natural calling for me. I went and got some qualifications, building on my professional and life experience, and I am now a qualified transformational coach.
Today, I run a private practice for people who fund their own self-development, and I have partnered with Peter to create 2Saints, where we focus on the corporate side of coaching, for teams or individuals who are disconnected in some way or another.
You can find me on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulwalton72/