A Year in the Life of Write Research

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In October 2013, Write Research Company was acquired by Capita Plc. Employing more than 80,000 people this FTSE50 acquired a small, successful research business with roots in the North of England, along with its clients and employees. Exciting times for all involved and the start of a new journey.

Fast forward to 2016, and there has been an enormous amount of change here: culture, people, proposition, client profile, financial position. It’s a year now since I joined as part of that change and we’re still undergoing a transformation in operational and cultural terms.

A change in ownership is bound to bring about change and in the corporate world that change is managed to maintain maximum continuity and growth. The focus is on steady leadership, a defined growth strategy, seamless process integration, globalisation, and on minimising disruption.

How different then in politics! Since the change in government just over a week ago we’ve seen sweeping changes to the cabinet and throughout Whitehall. Mrs May has ensured a clean break with the past through high-profile sackings and new appointments.

In PMQs and in front of the media, Mrs May has asserted a strong leadership style that leaves Brexiters and Remainers in no doubt about who is in charge now and where we are heading.

“Brexit means Brexit!”

Whilst a mental stretch, it’s interesting to ponder what would happen in business if we took Mrs May’s approach!

On the positive side, it would allow a new business leader to openly assert their leadership, to get buy in from a new team and in creating that team, enable new talent to emerge. It would generate visible accountability for the success or failure of any forthcoming decisions taken by the new leader, and it would send strong signals about the future direction of the business. More progressive decisions could certainly be taken at an earlier stage.

Could it therefore help to accelerate growth and culture change?

Change is driven by people and hence they determine the pace

There’s a belief that taking this change slowly is the best for all concerned. It gives people time to adapt and make decisions about their careers and more importantly as far as business leaders are concerned, it minimises disruption beyond the acquisition itself.

But in some cases, where there’s perhaps been frustration at the pace of change in the past, could a Mrs-May-clean-slate approach be just as beneficial?

At the time of the acquisition of Write Research, Capita was increasingly conscious of organisations seeking more proactive and intelligent people solutions, and Write Research was a great match, bringing new thinking and expertise straight into the business. We’ve made a huge amount of positive change since then, and I hope it’s been achieved through an approach that’s somewhere between the two extremes discussed above.

We need the pace to deliver on our vision and to grow to our full potential. Whilst being conscious of our heritage and expertise, I do believe we’re making brave, progressive decisions and that we’re well on the journey to being the we want to be with a team that embraces change.

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