Saturday 31st July 2021

Red Sofa Interviews

Louise Gordon on the Red Sofa

Watch the full interview here

Interviewer: Hi, Louise. Thanks for joining us for our next Red Sofa interview for the Business Godparent. Would you like to start by telling us a little bit about you and your business?

Louise: Brilliant. Thank you, Caroline. Yes. My name is Louise Gordon. My business is Louise Gordon Consultancy Limited. I live in Northampton and also in Birmingham. So, I move between the two, but my business is all around people and change. So, I’ve been in HR for 20 plus years, something around that, but it’s always been within a business change context. So, I did a number of years working in a business in a European role, I did an HRD role, but then in 2013, I decided to go self-employed and since have been working on large change programs. So, yeah, so my business is all around supporting businesses to change and adapt and a particular eye on the people aspect of that change.

Interviewer: Why did you decide to specialise in change?

Louise: Well, that’s a really good question, Caroline. Throughout my career, it’s always been around change. So, whether that was an acquisition, a divestment, centralisation, decentralisation, a change of ownership. There was always an aspect of transformation and change in the areas that I worked. And to be honest, there was a point in my career when I decided that I’d had enough of change. But it wasn’t long before I lost the bug and I went back in to change. I think the bit for me is I enjoy variety, so it’s never the same. Even if there are similar issues. Every business has got its own unique DNA, and I enjoy being creative and resourceful and working out what’s right for that business to take it forward. So, I think it’s a variety element that I really enjoy. I have to say.

Interviewer: Brilliant, yeah, that sounds really interesting. I know you have told us before that you have changed the focus of your business during the pandemic. And what was the reason for that change? What made you decide to do that?

Louise: So, I think after going self-employed and focusing on large business change for a number of years, probably for seven years, I decided that I had and I very much when I did that, I wanted to prove that I could do large scale change. So, I’d been previously in a business for 13 years and albeit moved around within that business and done lots of different types of change. I very much wanted to experience change in some bigger businesses and to learn from how they managed it. And I think that I’d reached a point where I felt that I had earnt my stripes doing the large business transformation change and the bit that I really enjoy is building the relationships. So, getting to really work closely with senior leaders and understanding the dynamics and working out a bit more of a bespoke approach rather than being part of one massive project. So, I think that’s the bit that I was missing, and I’ve been thinking about it for a period of time, and it just felt like the right time to do it, the right time to make that change. And if I’m all about change and supporting businesses, I needed to take a bit of my own medicine, so it was a case of, okay, put your money where your mouth is now Louise and make this the change for your business. So, that’s kind of where I flipped my focus away from really large corporate businesses to more medium sized.

Interviewer: That sounds really good. So where do you start when a business asks for support, with preparing for a change?

Louise: A good question. It’s always, I think, important to understand where they are right now. So, getting a view of what’s happening right now as well as the where do you want to be and being really clear what that success looks like. So that actually you have that vision of where the business wants to get to and how it will measure. And then I think the key bit is that bit in the middle, and that’s the bit where I come in. Okay, so, you want to get to there and you want it to look like that and be doing this. It’s all those pieces of a jigsaw that need to be put into place to enable the business to get where it wants to be. And I think that with change, inevitably, there are sometimes some difficult decisions that need to be made and uncomfortable ones. So, I think it’s supporting the business on that journey and whatever role that needs. If it’s a supporter, a challenger, a trusted advisor, it’s holding the hand, it’s walking somebody through the key steps. I think it’s putting the right hat on for the right place along that journey. So, one thing about change within the business, it doesn’t change itself. It’s the people within it that make that change. And so, it’s making sure that critical part of the jigsaw. Somebody’s got their arms around it and everybody’s on board and engaged with where the business is going, because if the people are engaged and on board and know what they can contribute, that’s going to be reflected in the client experience.

Interviewer: Yeah, definitely. Everyone that’s involved in that business needs to take their part and really embrace it.

Louise: Absolutely.

Interviewer: So what advice would you give to an MD or a business owner who’s thinking about making a change to their business?

Louise: So, I think there’s three things. 1. if you’re thinking about it, and it’s on your mind, I think that’s telling you that you need to do something. So, you will probably know already that something’s not right. There will be a pain point of some form, whether that’s a person, a function, a team, a skill set, a capacity or productivity. There will be some form of pain point that you know is there. And I think it’s facing into that to make a change. And I totally understand we all do it, that sometimes we put off making that change because it’s going to be a bit difficult. So, I think that’s the first thing, if you’re thinking about it, it’s a sign that you need to do it. I think there’s another thing around the ripples of change. So, they can be really positive if they’re managed in the right way, where people get on board and are engaged with it, or they can be really negative if it’s not managed in the right way. I think the part of that change journey for me is always looking at what could be the unintended consequences, because they are the bits that will come and catch you out. And then I think the third element is, if you are thinking about making a change, and let’s face it, there is more change around us than ever before right now, it’s putting the right team around you to make that change. Because you’re going to need a variety of skill sets to make sure that that change takes place and lambs in the right way to set your business up for success. So, they would be my three top tips.

Interviewer: Well, thanks ever so much for joining us today Louise on the virtual Red Sofa for The Business Godparent. And if anyone has any more information they want to find out, feel free to head over to louisegordon.co.uk Thanks, Louise.

Louise: Thank you, Caroline.

Watch the full interview here

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