What I Do

I have three main models for working with clients, each described below - Transformations are substantial personal interventions to change your business for the better; Squirrel-as-a-Service gives you access to my advice and coaching on a regular, flexible basis; and Advice is a great way to get to know me informally. I’m open to other suggestions, so get in touch if none of these seem like quite the right fit for your situation.

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He helped to transform them into an energised, highly-focused team.

—Paul Joyce, founder, Geckoboard


Transformation

In a Transformation engagement, I work with your team in an operational role to drive substantial changes - faster software delivery, iterative product design, faster customer feedback, and more. I typically take on several direct reports, such as tech leads or product managers, and coach them directly. Together with founders and senior leaders, I help define company and team goals, then jointly design and implement processes like elephant carpaccio or traffic-light reporting to achieve them.

To help explain my role to your team, you can give me a title like Interim VP Engineering or Acting Head of Product, or just call me the Principal Rodent. I can help train internal staff to take on permanent roles once my engagement is finished, or assist you in an executive search to find, evaluate, and hire a senior leader who suits your business.

A Transformation project typically lasts 6-12 months and involves frequent contact with me - often 2-3 days a week in your office plus frequent emails and calls outside that time.


Squirrel as a Service

The name is only partly tongue-in-cheek - like software-as-a-service, an SaaS engagement means you get flexible help from me just when you need it, and not when you don’t. For instance, I can book a weekly call with you or a key leader I’m coaching, be available for calls at short notice, read through a stack of CVs on the train, or visit you or your office once a week for a half- or full day of coaching and advice.

In a SaaS engagement, I typically work through 1-3 permanent employees by coaching and advising them, rather than taking a direct operational role. I often aim to prepare those I’m coaching to take on or improve in senior leadership roles - I know I’m done when they outgrow the need for my advice!

SaaS engagements are flexible and involve less time than Transformations - typically about 1-2 day’s worth of activity per week, but with only some of of that time spent in concentrated time in your location, and the rest of the effort occurring in ad hoc calls or offsite investigations.


Advice

I like talking to people from all kinds of organisations, and I arrange my schedule so I can do that free of charge. For instance, you can book a time for breakfast with Squirrel, or invite me to visit you and your team for an assessment, or just give me call out of the blue. Feel free to ask me specific questions or just tell me about a problem that’s worrying you. I can often refer you to helpful resources - books, consultants, or conferences, for example - or make suggestions that could make a difference on the spot.

Advice is something I do for free but only once or twice - there’s enough demand that I can’t normally afford to do more, and those who have greater needs would do better to look at Squirrel-as-a-Service or Transformation engagements.