Green Park – The Inclusive Talent Advisory Firm
What industries does your company cater for and where do you see future growth?
Green Park is an industry pioneer in building diverse senior leadership teams and more equitable workplace cultures. Our clients span the Private & Commercial and Government & Civil Society sectors, including Financial, Professional & Support Services, Industrial, Infrastructure, Technology, Retail, Government and Not for Profit industries. Across these, we see future investment growing in the Digital, Renewables, High Tech Manufacturing, Sustainability, Healthcare and Digital industries.
How do you place the right talent in the best company and support both to walk in the growth path?
Whether hiring for our own company, or that of our clients, our approach is inclusive and evidenced-based, using robust and tried & tested processes designed to widen the gate without lowering the bar. This includes using a series of indicators that help us align a person’s personal and professional journey with the needs and ambitions of the organisation both now and in the future.
Our mission is to change the face of leadership by helping organisations think differently about talent. For our clients this means taking on the roles of both trusted partner and critical friend. This is driven by our genuine curiosity for their business and our customer-centric focus on solution provision and seeking new ways to build trust and improve. For our candidates, this means matching them with organisations which can provide them with an inclusive environment to grow, make impact and excel.
We also look for an authentic alignment and demonstration of values. Green Park’s values are courage, rigor, empathy, energy, and diversity and it’s important to us that these guide the decisions and behaviours of both new and existing Green Park employees. It’s also essential to us that our people are committed to our purpose; that they not only get it, but they live and breathe it – because we know this is what makes us different. We want the same for our clients.
How have you overcome the challenges you have faced throughout your career to reach the position you are in today?
In part, I have been lucky because I have been able to build my own business (Green Park) and co-found a Charity (Race Equality Matters) around something which is important to me personally; helping organisations see diversity and inclusion as a force for good and a business imperative. The rest is down to working harder and smarter, believing in what I am doing, and finding passionate people who have been loyal and helped me to grow.
Above all, I have tried to balance my ego as a leader and become more self-aware and better able to choose when to fight, and fight to win, as well as know when to delegate. It’s still a work-in-progress, as I believe anyone who leads makes mistakes. Nothing is perfect, but it’s the journey and purpose of that journey that makes it real for people.
What made you want to start Green Park?
At the time, I was working in a listed company and felt that a lack of transparency from a key stakeholder relating to crucial business information was negatively impacting both my role and the customer experience. I knew that to get different results, I would need to do things differently. However, it wasn’t until halftime in the 2005 Champions League Final, that the concept of Green Park was born.
Finding myself in a very tight spot as me and my soon-to-be business partner came under attack from fans of both clubs, I turned to him and said, “if we get out of this alive, I’m quitting and starting my own business.” To which he replied, “if we get out of this alive, I’m coming with you.” And that’s what we did.
After that game, Liverpool came back fighting and so did we. We began our new venture and were fortunate to receive an enormous amount of help and advice from existing entrepreneurs. From those early relationships to the ones we are building today, I believe our authenticity, ambition and commitment to our values has been crucial in earning our customers trust.
Becoming an influential leader is not a cake walk. Can you share your professional experience?
I’ve no idea whether I am an influential leader, but I do believe in bringing the voice of the candidate and the voice of lived experience into rooms where there is group think. Where there is a collective view that only demand-side economics matter, it helps to have a different perspective, particularly one that reflects the voice of the supply-side.
For years, having a different perspective acted as a barrier to us working with some larger companies. However, since COVID, it is the largest, international, most complex and powerful brands that have received the greatest benefit from Green Park. This is simply because we don’t tell them what they want to hear if it isn’t the reality. Instead, we provide evidence and data, backed-up by lived experience. Most importantly, we focus on solutions.
Where culture-fit is still valued higher than culture-add, we help organisations self-reflect on the promises they make and the culture they build. It’s important that they can not only articulate their principles but demonstrate them, because in business a principle is not a reality unless it has cost you something.
What are the guidelines next-generation business leaders should follow?
The next generation of businesses will operate in a very different macro and microenvironment, i.e., the reliance on technology and the impact of artificial intelligence will disrupt in ways not yet imagined. Next generation businesses should know how this will impact them and how they can leverage it to drive high growth.
My key learnings:
- In a business, you should only work with customers if you feel you can help them achieve their objective, whether it’s a personal or professional.
- To take market share you generally need a story that the customer can believe in themself before communicating it elsewhere in their organisation.
- Most businesses do the same thing as their competitors, in terms of how they innovate, with very few organisations willing to do something different. To get different results you must be honest with yourself about the value of innovation to your business.
- People say turnover is vanity and profit is sanity – perhaps this has changed now with the valuations of technology businesses and the general Internet of Things. However, as a business leader in the start-up phase, you’ve really only got money going in and money going out. Therefore, you need to know how to select a plan that works well for your business goals and ambitions.
- Be true to your vision and stay focused. Don’t adapt it to others but do share it and take time to understand how it is perceived. This will help you build the resilience you need in the future.
What would be the next move in the industry, and how are you planning to adapt to it?
I think the next move in the industry will be how artificial intelligence replaces more and more administrative tasks. My view is that exceptional quality and exceptional people cannot be replaced, but AI, with the right people and operation strategies, will allow companies to unleash the power of productive behaviors and more efficient processes.
Green Park is already looking at how AI can optimise our business, and that of our clients, by supporting our delivery of exceptional customer service and helping increase management capability in the right places. So, watch this space.
“Finding the best talent in today’s job market is a challenging process. Green Park provide solutions, acting as a trusted partner and critical friend to co-create the right strategy for the client.”
“Our company has a global footprint spanning 55 countries and helps companies to find future