Professional summary

Thom is an experienced educator, speaker and consultant with 25 years’ experience coaching senior executives through personal and organizational change & facilitating groups of executives to operate as better teams. He works with managing directors, CEOs and fast-stream executives, helping them to improve their effectiveness and that of their businesses.

He co-facilitates transformational development workshops for individuals and executive groups using a variety of approaches, including equine-guided experiential learning and is one of a very small group of qualified facilitators of organisational constellations. He works in both English and French, frequently facilitating multinational groups in the US, UK, mainland Europe, Africa and

Engagement overview

Duration and cost of an engagement depends on the scope of work, identified during the initial consultation.


• Energy: BP, Centrica, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Subsea 7 & Transocean.
• Engineering: ABB, Amsafe & Eurotunnel.
• Finance: ABN AMRO, Citigroup, Hoare Govett, New York Stock Exchange & UBS.
• Other: Jardine Lloyd Thompson, Parfums Givenchy, The Rock Garden.
• Pharmaceuticals: Altana Pharma, AstraZeneca, Cephalon, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Pfizer & Roche.


Seems to me that you probably don't need a dedicated 'Chief of Culture' for a number of reasons, not least because handing it off to one person will likely allow the CEO's attention to go elsewhere when it is fundamentally his or her responsibility.

You could save a lot of investment by using an external person to help identify what you have now and what you want in the future and to support y... Read more

As always, these things are complicated but the advice and comments you have been given above are valid.

In my experience, if the company is going to attempt to go public in one year, your CEO's warnings are real and realistic. I wouldn't try to negotiate out of the commitments he's asking for - it won't work, at any level - and if this is not for you, best tell him now... Read more


You are in a great situation and Jon (above) highlights key questions that you would be well advised to explore together.

I would add another branch to this tree which may echo Carol to some degree - what do your veteran senior management team need to unlearn and/or not do any more? They may be really great at what they did but this new organization is going to make new demands on them and in s... Read more

The difficulty sometimes comes from the fact that in a mixed team such as you describe, some people may well be dealing with greater pressure than others and this may be interpreted as working harder, and some people's roles may well be simpler than others. What is important is for everyone to understand that each person has a unique role with a contribution without which the project will not succ... Read more

What we do sometimes is to go through with the CEO a list of people to be coached and link them up to the best coach from our team. Each coachee then meets their respective potential coach and they agree if they will be comfortable working together. If there's a problem (on either side), then we suggest a better fit based on the learning gleaned to date.

Individual coaching is a personal thing ... Read more

There is much to think about in the answers above and you will see the differing approaches that are always plentiful in the area of Values.

What you have asked for help in is "to create a good statement of core values" and I think what shines through from the advice is that this is tricky to do in isolation.

What I would add is that there is often a disconnect between company values and tho... Read more

There's an old saying which more recently has been attributed to Warren Buffett: "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it."

You're going to have to have a lot of patience and one would hope that your CEO will have a similar approach. It would help if he does hear good news and you may have to encourage this. Your problem, assuming you are making progress, with, or f... Read more


As Mike says above, you have had much good advice, and I would add, a couple of very relevant challenges.

Why would you mentor these people? Is it for them to survive and perhaps thrive in your current culture? There's a paradox here since you appear to be trying to change your culture whilst at the same time wanting to preserve it, to enable people, particularly the women to survive within it... Read more

"How can Human Resources and the leadership team drive communication for this change in a structured way?" This is an interesting question and my peers have the right insights, particularly Bill.

Engineering the change won't work, and, depending on what sort of HR department you have, they probably won't be able to do much, just as you can't really 'drive communication'.

What you describe is... Read more

You describe a toxic condition which forms the root of the long-term failure of so many companies. They inadvertently create ceilings on their growth and eventually wither.Can the situation be changed? Yes, but as with an infection deep in the body you have to cut it out before it poisons the whole. This is not to infer that people have to go necessarily but attitudes and beliefs can be difficult ... Read more

A decent facilitator will work with you to plan the best strategy and format for the meeting; this will be the best practice you are asking for and it will be in the process of that planning that it will become clear whether the DRs will be best involved (and if so, when and for how long), or excluded.

There are so many factors that need to be taken into account in order to arrive at the right ... Read more

I have facilitated off sites in which family members of a board have finally realized that their contribution is not appropriate any more and that more qualified and probably detached people are needed if the business is to thrive.

These are indeed sensitive and delicate conversations which need to be planned very carefully I would suggest before the brutal truths or facts are laid out. You ha... Read more

Your question begs so many more!

It sounds as if you've got into a situation where the tail is wagging the dog and that's never helpful. Also I wonder what disciplines you needed to instal as you grew which have been omitted, perhaps to honour the culture of openness and autonomy.

I suspect that some fundamentals need to be examined before the company is irrevocably damaged and this may be ... Read more

There is a series of good and relevant responses to your question above.

I guess I'd add that this situation is pretty common and a main contributory reason for the failure of acquisitions. Much depends on why you acquired the company and what you actually value. If it's the people and their unique knowledge, you are already in danger of closing the gate after the horses have bolted and yes, ... Read more

If the individual is not doing this, then he or she, not to put too fine a point on it, is probably not the right person to benefit from your investment. Why not make it a rule before you invest that there should be a clear succession plan in place?

Depending on the size of the company, the Board should be demanding this anyway... Read more

This is an interesting question and you've had some good advice!

I've worked specifically with family-run businesses, lots of them, and I really recognize your situation. So things to consider:

1. Neither nepotism nor favoritism do the individuals or the company much good. Offering your family members elevated positions causes resentment, not least if they aren't up to the job. On the co... Read more

Delegate, hold your breath as some of the delegatees mess up or at least don't do things as you would. Judge by results, not the way things are done.


Ensure that the key executives have clearly defined roles which give space for the 2nd line and don't let the executives interfere!

Good luck - failure to let go is one of the prime reasons that businesses fail to grow as they should... Read more

Now this is an interesting question and the answer is not easy. I'd like to work with you on that.

If you want to develop a unique culture then you have to do that together (and Telepresence won't be enough) and you have to do it early - it may already be too late - the longer you leave it the more difficult it will become.

One of the questions to ask yourselves is why would you want to dev... Read more


It's crucial. In my experience your acquisition will at worst fail entirely and at best will lose at least some of its value if you don't work to get the best from the organization you've acquired. Their culture needs to be acknowledged (it's probably at the root of why you bought them in the first place) and this will require a real exploration on both sides of what you want to boost, integrate... Read more

There's a lot of good advice here.

Two other thoughts:

- See if it's possible for some of the sales people to spend some time in your department so they experience the outcomes of what they have created. Cross-fertilization like this is a healthy thing in any company.

- When we run customer focus programs I always try to get a customer in as part of the workshop to say what it's like to be a ... Read more

I have led group and organization-wide coaching programs and it's essential that there clear goals and objectives set at the beginning, otherwise you will likely spend a great deal of money without satisfactory results from a business point of view (some coaching organizations are set up specifically to penetrate a client company and to milk as much money as possible without feeling responsible fo... Read more


Whilst we may not all be facing each other across our desks at the moment as we circumnavigate our way through Covid-19, bullying is still r... Read more

We have a problem. No not just Covid-19. We are facing an unprecedented time of change both personally and in business. We are simultaneousl... Read more

Whilst we may not all be facing each other across our desks at the moment as we circumnavigate our way through Covid-19, bullying is still r... Read more