Shaper: Simon Hayward

Show aired on 22nd October 2016

Transcript

Elliot Moss
Living For The City from Stevie Wonder. Good morning this is Jazz Shapers with me, Elliot Moss here on Jazz FM. Thank you so much for joining me. Jazz Shapers is the place where you can hear the very best of the people shaping the world of jazz, blues and soul and we bring in their equivalents from the world of business and we call them Business Shapers and I am really pleased to say that I have a doctor in the house today, his name is Dr Simon Hayward. He is not really that kind of doctor, he is the founder and CEO of Cirrus and Cirrus is a talent and leadership consultancy and they consult to some incredibly big businesses around the world – Barclays, BBC, BT, Coco Cola to name but a few. You will be hearing lots from Simon about talent and leadership and all sorts of stuff associated to it. He is also a writer by the way. In addition to hearing from Simon you will be hearing from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya some words of advice for your business and then we have got some music and it is fantastic today and it includes Nina Simone, GoGo Penguin and this from Ray Charles and Nora Jones.

The lovely sound, the duet no less with Ray Charles and Nora Jones and that is Here We Go Again, the wonders of modern production. As I said earlier my Business Shaper today I am very pleased to say is Simon Hayward and he is the founder and CEO of Cirrus and they are a talent and leadership consultancy and they have some really big clients and they are all over the world. Simon it is a real pleasure to have you here, thank you so much for joining me.

Simon Hayward
Great to be here.

Elliot Moss
Explain what Cirrus does in your own words because you set this business up about six years ago I believe and you’ve grown pretty dramatically so you must be doing something right?

Simon Hayward
We work with some, as you say, with some of the worlds big organisations, the big banks, big retailers, big high tech companies and we help them become more connected. We help them through leadership and talent work to get more in touch with their customers, to be more agile, to change the way they operate in a way that is more responsive in a digital connected twenty first century.

Elliot Moss
Now this current business obviously has been running for about six years, you’ve been running your own business for a long time. Just help me understand how you came to it back in the early 90s, what made you think ‘I can do my own thing’?

Simon Hayward
Well like being a fireman, I’ve always wanted to be a consultant because the variety and the impact and the opportunity to stay current and do great things with big clients has always been attractive. I accumulated enough experience in the 80s with various management roles and then set up in 1993 with my wife, Claire. We set up a company called Academy which was focused on doing some really what we thought was pretty innovative work around leadership with big corporates back then and that grew and we did a lot more on line in the 2000s and then we got bought out by MMC in New York which runs companies like Mercer and Oliver Wyman and we stayed there for a while, for a few years. But large corporates, I like working with large corporates but I wasn’t so keen working in a large corporate so in 2010 we decided to, I decided to set up Cirrus and start again and so far it has been growing quite well.

Elliot Moss
Now those early days, I just want to go back to the 80s a minute and you said something interesting, you said I, you know, I like working with them but I don’t like being part of one. How quickly did you realise that you were going to work for yourself? And was there a moment or was it a progressive set of things that happened?

Simon Hayward
Well my father ran his own business an engineering company in the West Midlands called Cirrus interestingly and so I grew up with the sense that it was more interesting to do your own thing than perhaps to be doing other people’s stuff and so it is sort of ingrained in a way. I did my MBA at Manchester Business School back in the 80s and I think during that process realised that consulting was going to be a great career but I probably wanted to do it for myself with colleagues rather than you know in a large consultancy. So I got a bit of experience with large consultancies but it was all moving towards that wanting to do my own thing and I think I am fiercely independent, very difficult to manage so it is easier to be an entrepreneur rather than trying to fit into somebody else’s way of working.

Elliot Moss
You see if you were delivering the course to yourself it wouldn’t work.

Simon Hayward
That’s right.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for more from my Business Shaper Simon Hayward; he is the founder and CEO of Cirrus and they are a talent and leadership business and we are going to find out a lot about the tips and the secrets about how he does convince people just like him to behave properly and do all the right things. Time for some more music, this is GoGo Penguin with Kamaloca.

The lovely sound of GoGo Penguin with Kamaloca. Simon Hayward is my Business Shaper today, we have been talking about his business, his second business actually in a way and it is a leadership and talent one and he was very honest with me because he said that actually I am an entrepreneur at heart and I am quite hard to manage. That idea of being fiercely independent I am imagining that in these companies that you work with you see lots of people who are super bright, super driven, high achievers and fiercely independent. How do you approach those leaders who need to be independent but also collaborative because I know collaboration is a big theme in your work as a company. How does that work?

Simon Hayward
Yeah. That’s a great question. I am working with a CEO at the moment of one our clients who has got that fiercely independent streak. What’s interesting is when… I think if they are able to see, recognise the wider, their wider role in the organisation as a leader is to create an environment where other people can succeed than that makes the collaboration a means to that end. That gives them a reason to be collaborative and so that’s… so that helps them balance that with their fierce independence and they have a reason to be collaborative. Some people are more naturally collaborative than others but if we can see why we should do something and we are driven to achieve our ends. Most of the people we work with are very driven people then people will collaborate if they can see why it is valuable, why it’s useful. That’s a lot of the trick is just helping them make that connection.

Elliot Moss
Now when you were, going back to the 80s before your first business in ’93, was there anyone that talked to you like that, that helped you understand the why and kind of was trying to keep you inside the big corporate. Was anyone saying ‘no, no, you shouldn’t do it’ or was it the opposite? Were people encouraging you at that time to go ‘you know what Simon if you feel like you should do your own thing, go and do your own thing’? Do you remember?

Simon Hayward
Well I remember I worked for one company, I worked for ICL for a while which was brilliant but it was you know, a large company back then. The big computer provider. I moved into a smaller telecoms business where the CEO MD as he was called then was the sort of guy that allowed a lot of flexibility, a lot of freedom for people to express how they wanted to operate and he gave me a sense of the fact that being an entrepreneur but creating where other people could flourish was really an attractive thing to do so he inspired me. I then Claire, my wife, has always just had that approach of ‘well why not?’ You know, if you want to do something well let’s do it which was also quite liberating. That is why we set up things together.

Elliot Moss
And the last iteration obviously and where you are now and the Cirrus business, you’ve now got as I said, many, many people. One of the other challenges that I’ve encountered with consultancy businesses whether it is public affairs or whether it is PR or whether it is talent and leadership businesses, is that the people around them are never as good as the founders. How have you found people that are as good as you at what you want them to do? And how do you then give them that sense they have their own show if you will?

Simon Hayward
I think that was a big lesson from the first business actually was that we didn’t do that well enough and so we’ve gone out of our way to find people who are brilliant in their own space, whether that’s head of talent or head of engagement or… they are people that, that really have got that entrepreneurial spirit and want to drive and create something. So create an environment within Cirrus where that’s okay, that’s good, they’ve got that space to flourish.

Elliot Moss
And that makes you happy?

Simon Hayward
And that makes me happy yeah absolutely. Whereas I think perhaps before I wanted to be perhaps more in control and that probably didn’t create enough space for those people to flourish.

Elliot Moss
You’ve heard it here now. If you are not listening tightly because it is about relaxing and letting go a little bit and then great people do what they need to do. Obviously with a bit of control. We will come back to the control in a bit. Latest travel coming up in a couple of minutes before we come back to Simon and before that some words of wisdom I hope from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya for your business.

You are listening to Jazz Shapers with me, Elliot Moss every Saturday morning I am very lucky because I get to meet someone who is shaping the world of business and there are all sorts of people who are doing it in all sorts of different ways and I am very happy that Simon Hayward is my Business Shaper today. He is the founder and CEO of Cirrus and they unlike many businesses I talk to are actually advising businesses on how they can get the best out of their people, how they can help people realise their own potential and Simon we were talking about the lessons that you learnt from your first business and you have applied that in your second where the command and control old style management thing doesn’t work as well as finding great people and giving them the space. Where and when do you get the space to think about your own business and where it goes because I imagine that you spend a lot of your time with clients?

Simon Hayward
Absolutely I love working with clients, that’s where I get my buzz really and likewise from my colleagues and yet I also get a massive buzz out of building Cirrus and building the business itself. We’ve, in the last year, we’ve bought in a couple of non-execs – one is ex- McKinsey, the guy Fred is brilliant at asking the really difficult questions and making us think about the business and Janine the other has got amazing experience of growth internationally and so she’s again asking us questions and taking our thought process in board meetings into different ways of channelling our energy as a business, how do we grow into new markets and that sort of thing so getting a third part in actually, it’s cobbler’s children and physician heal thy self, it’s quite useful to get somebody else to say, to ask the awkward questions and make us think about how we do things and why we are doing some things and not others and what are the priorities.

Elliot Moss
In a very busy world of a person that’s running a business but that also is also running client businesses, is doing all this stuff you know, you are with your customers to use that phrase. How do you ensure that you keep your perspective and that you encourage others around you to have perspective? It’s great having non-execs in the business I get that but do you, are you able to train yourself to give yourself the time on top of the time that’s enforced on you by having non-execs in business?

Simon Hayward
Well one of the things… I have just written a chapter for another book which comes out next year on Critical Distance and through my doctoral studies one of the key things was dealing with exactly this issue – how do you maintain a critical distance when you are part of… you are trying to be part of the solution with the client – but you have got to maintain that objectivity and that ability to ask the awkward question and be critical. And it’s, it’s a lot of it is down I think to having quality dialogue with colleagues and with the client about this but also having time for reflection and just being able to step back from being drawn in to the machinations and the particular issues of any particular client so creating space to stop and think and reflect is a key trick and frankly I find travelling one of the best ways to do that. I am on a train, or I am on a plane, I am cut off, the phone doesn’t work very well or isn’t allowed – that’s a perfect time to stop and just think and I have had some of my best reflective sessions flying across somewhere in the Middle East or Africa. So that’s good time to reflect.

Elliot Moss
Critical distances you’ve got to keep it and I think travel sounds really good. Time for some more music before we come back to Simon and this is Trouble from José James.

José James with Trouble. Simon Hayward is my Business Shaper and if you haven’t heard earlier he is the founder and chief executive of Cirrus and they are a talent and leadership business and they advise beer moths in the world of business and I mentioned a few earlier, BT and BBC but Marks and Spencer is in there, PayPal, Royal Bank of Scotland is in there and so on. Your own, what’s interesting I was reading about your company and you talk about values and you are not the only company in the world, in fact you are one of many that talk about values and on one level I always from the outside go ‘yeah right’ and then on another level whenever I talk to founders I sort of start to believe them. So make me believe if you will that you are connected, courageous and creative. I love it, the three Cs. You could only choose words that began with C. So tell me about your values and how you live and breathe them every day in that busyness that you just described?

Simon Hayward
Absolutely. Yeah well when we set up Cirrus there was probably a group of four or five of us. We sat round a Thai dining room table in a Thai restaurant and we came up with the values of Cirrus way back in 2010. Every six months we get the whole company together and we have a day just to step back and think about what we are doing and last Christmas, last December, the session was around our values. How we are doing and do they need to be reinvented because obviously the business had grown quite a bit and we all decided that they had been fine but we really needed to redefine them which is where the three Cs came from – connected, courageous and creative. So that was from everybody in the business saying there is a way that we work at Cirrus, there are behaviours and principles that are deeply important to us that knit us together but we haven’t quite articulated them well enough so we did a piece of work during January with everybody to redefine them which is where those came from. So they are from the company, from the people in the company about the way we work and that’s what makes it special, that’s why talented people stay and I think that’s also why our clients love us because we do behave in a way that is you know, slightly different and has got its own style.

Elliot Moss
And do you, I mean I imagine you don’t need to articulate those values apart from your behaviours, you don’t need, people don’t go round… if someone says to you ‘so Simon what are the values of the business?’ you go ‘well there are three things…’; is it more it comes out through osmosis because of the way as you said, that you turn up for work?

Simon Hayward
Absolutely and how we recruit people. We make sure we recruit people who we can sense and who can articulate ways of working and principals that are in line with what we think is important around our three Cs. So it is how we operate, it’s how we behave, it’s how we respect each other, how we talk that matters. It’s the behaviour. The values are there as a reference point rather than the focal point of the discussion.

Elliot Moss
So the three adjectives the team would use to describe you then?

Simon Hayward
Driven, challenging and optimistic.

Elliot Moss
That’s a good note to stop there before we have our final chat with Simon plus we will be playing a track from Nina Simone. That’s after the latest traffic and travel.

Such a brilliant song whether you’ve heard it once or heard it a thousand times. Nina Simone with Feeling Good. Simon Hayward is my Business Shaper just for a few more minutes and we have been talking about all sorts of things around management and around leadership and around encouraging people and yet also giving them a sense of what is right, values and a whole bunch of stuff. It wouldn’t surprise you that Simon has written a book and I mentioned it earlier anyway so just in case you hadn’t heard that. He has and it is called Connected Leadership – How to build a more agile customer driven business. Now of course Simon that’s at the very core of what you do and it is published by the FT and Pearson by the way. That is at the core of what you do. What made you write this one? You’ve written other stuff as well but where did this come from?

Simon Hayward
Well when we set up Cirrus I also started a Doctorate at Manchester Business School and through that research I was really focussed on organisations that were transitioning to being more agile and customer-centric in what has become a very different business world to what it was ten years ago. You know the Internet and connectivity and social media, is genuinely changing the way business operates and how do organisations respond to that and so that is what this is all about. It’s about how do you create an organisation that is more connected to itself and more connected to its customers, more able to respond and yet having a really strong core. You know the spine is strong but the flexibility in the body is responsive so that’s what the books about and it’s so in a way it is a product of my doctorate research but it’s meant to be put across in a way that’s easy to read and the sort of thing that people may buy at airports. Which they do, it’s available around the world interestingly.

Elliot Moss
He’s suddenly got a… he was a really serious doctorate and do all sorts of things and then he just ‘I’m going to sell the book’. Good, it’s good to see. And on that point obviously, look your business has grown and there is, what I like about it is there is substance behind it and there is theory and I, you know, I don’t know if you should always trust someone who has written a book but it looks like it is a proper book and published by proper people. How do you also encourage people to understand that what they are is, sells is a big word but people that are going to help you grow this business, that growth is a good thing, that fees are important, that all those other things that go around the core skill of actually helping someone become a better leader and I am really talking about them being people that drive your business. How do you make sure that they do that as well?

Simon Hayward
Well I think increasingly, especially with millennials and the changes in the sort of demographics of the work place, a sense of purpose is absolutely critical to, you know, why do we come to work in the morning, what are we trying to achieve together, what’s our purpose in life, you know, why does it matter? And if you can get that at the core of the business which is what connected leadership helps us to do in Cirrus but if you can get that at the core of the business then people want to, are more likely to turn up and more likely to select in so if you have got this holy trinity of great values, you know, how we want to operate together, great purpose of why we are here in the first place, what are we trying to do. We are trying to put you know, a computer in every home or whatever it is and we’ve also got a clear sense of direction or strategy, you know, we know what we are doing. There is a clarity around the way, what we are trying to achieve. Then you have got a sort of business which people want to work in because they are doing something they believe in and they know what their role is within it. That’s powerful.

Elliot Moss
Now obviously everyone knows that in your business and what would they say in terms of the holy trinity, what would they, what would they say the next five years are going to bring? What do you say as the person that found it? What are you hoping to do in your own business?

Simon Hayward
Well we believe in better business and better lives through better leadership. We really want to become a major player in the International leadership development which means we need to grow, which means we need to get more of those blue chip clients that we currently work with and the Singapore and the Australian end of the business is growing really quickly which is a great sign of our International presence. We are working more and more Internationally across the various regions of the world. So that’s exciting. But there is also a sense of doing more within our clients and helping them more fundamentally to make some of the shifts that they are struggling to do. Some of our clients are in retail, they have been hit repeatedly by the Internet and by cost-based changes with people like Lidl. There is recognition of the need to become agile is massive but actually they are struggling, their ways of working are still locked in a twentieth century mind-set.

Elliot Moss
Knowing the problem isn’t the same as being able to resolve the problem?

Simon Hayward
No absolutely. So we hope to be catalysts at least in that role.

Elliot Moss
Well listen it’s been really good to talk to you. I hope you continue to be catalysts and I am sure you will be. I am going to read the book and then I will let you know. I am sure it is fab. Just before I let you go though, what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Simon Hayward
Well I have gone for What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye because he chose to be different, he chose to… you know, he was a popular musician and he chose to be, to protest and to say… whether it was with civil rights or the Vietnam War and he was just saying he felt he had to say something that this isn’t right and I hope with things like connected leadership we are in some way saying things need to change, things need to be more empowered. People need to have responsibility. People, organisations need to become more agile and that implies leaders changing the way they lead so it was just a nice reflection of our ethos.

Elliot Moss
That’s a very good reason and for that reason you can have it – Marvin Gaye and What’s Going On. Thank you Simon.

Simon Hayward
Thank you very much.

Elliot Moss
That was Marvin Gaye with What’s Going on, the song choice of my Business Shaper today Simon Hayward. The three things he talked about that were critical to any business being successful was the key thing for me. The alignment of purpose – why you are doing it with values – how you do it and with strategy – where you are going. Fantastic stuff and I am going to read his book as I say Connected Leadership – How to build a more agile customer driven business. Do join me again, same time, same place – that’s next Saturday here on Jazz FM at 9.00am sharp for another edition of Jazz Shapers but meantime stay with us because coming up next it’s Nigel Williams.

Dr Simon Hayward is founder and CEO of leadership consultancy Cirrus and has a wealth of strategic leadership experience gained over 30 years. He has developed major leadership programmes for clients across Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America and is considered a trusted advisor by many including Standard Chartered, Marks & Spencer and Three.

Simon’s book, Connected Leadership: How to Build a More Agile, Customer-Driven Business, was published by FT Publishing in December 2015.

Simon has a DBA and MBA from Manchester Business School and an MA (Hons) in English from Oxford University. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. He has won several awards and is a regular conference speaker and media commentator.

Simon lives in Cheshire and is a father of three, a keen runner and a fundraiser for cancer charities.

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

Follow Simon on Twitter @simonjhayward.

I am fiercely independent, very difficult to manage so it is easier to be an entrepreneur rather than trying to fit into somebody else’s way of working

Some people are more naturally collaborative than others…

I think perhaps before I wanted to be more in control and that probably didn’t create enough space for people to flourish

I love working with clients, that’s where I get my buzz really

It’s quite useful to get somebody else to ask the awkward questions and make us think about how we do things and why

Creating space to stop and think and reflect is a key trick and frankly I find travelling one of the best ways to do that

It is how we operate, it’s how we behave, it’s how we respect each other, how we talk that matters. It’s the behaviour

I think increasingly, especially with millennials and the changes in the demographics of the workplace, a sense of purpose is absolutely critical to why we come to work in the morning

We believe in better business and better lives through better leadership