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Max St John

Goodbye (for now) from Max

It feels very weird (and exciting and scary) but I’ll just say it: I’m leaving NixonMcInnes. I will be back, but I’ve realised that I’ve finished what I need to do here, for now as the MD.

It’s been an epic journey over the past seven years. One that’s changed me in every way possible.

I started as a web producer back when our work was all about websites and social media – but my interest was always in people and their behaviour.

I always thought I’d be a UX specialist, but one day Will McInnes asked me to change my job title to consultant so we could win a project where the client needed a little more confidence in us.

Even though I didn’t know what being a consultant really meant, I agreed, and enjoyed the project so much I never switched back.

I’m smiling at the thought of one of those random, life-changing moments that seemed so flippant at the time.

I (later) learned what it meant to be a NixonMcInnes consultant thanks to Lasy Lawless, Pete Burden and over time, through training with Future Considerations’ fellows John Watters, Tim Stanyon and others.

I started to learn how respect, empathy, congruence and emergence were critical paths to a more human way of doing business.

I owe a lot to those people, and others (like Will) who fundamentally shaped my thinking and changed my career direction.

All this lead me to bring empathy (through nonviolent communication with the wonderful Andy Mason) and participative leadership into the business which has ended up being part of a fundamental shift in our culture and direction.

When Will left, I felt an irrepressible urge to lead the company and put my stamp on things.

And a year later, here we are.

We’ve changed nearly everything. Clarifying our purpose, embedding the values in the operating model, changing our offer – even the walls and furniture have undergone a transformation.

The big focus for me personally has been bringing more of a focus on emotional and social intelligence, mindfulness and working practices that work with emergence and complexity.

And for now, my work as MD here is done, and I’ll leave running the company in the capable hands of Tom Nixon. He’s going to be sharing some exciting news about what’s next for NixonMcInnes, tomorrow.

For me personally – I believe that I can go on to achieve more now by creating a new role for myself in the world.

I’ll rejoin the company instead as an associate, working on a project-by-project basis, where and when it feels right. I’ll choose to work on projects where I can have an impact in the way I want, and the money can follow.

I’ll focus on doing work that I feel called to do – as a consultant, not as an MD. It means that from now on I’ll work with whoever needs me, and wherever they need me. With this company, with others, and starting my own projects.

I’ll be focusing on what I’ve enjoyed most about my time here, where I’ve had most impact and where my passion lies: unlocking human potential by bringing humanity to work.

I’m expecting a lot of interesting and exciting collaborations.

And just for now, I might indulge myself with a bit of space for reflection. I’ve got a second child due in March, so it’s the perfect time to gather my thoughts ;)

I’m immensely proud of what this company’s achieved in the past few years, how it’s relentlessly reinvented itself, and hung on to its core beliefs.

This last year has definitely felt like a huge step on but also one that’s pushed lots of us here very hard.

It’s only now that I can look back and feel deeply grateful not just for the support and effort of people like Tom, Anna, and Charlie, but as much (if not more) for the challenge of others in the team. The people who called me out, who stood up for what they believed in when they felt it wasn’t being respected. I think I learned more from them than anyone else, and I’m deeply grateful.

See you soon.

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  1. It’s hard to say THANK YOU in big enough letters to convey how grateful I am for the heart, soul and friendship you have offered me and this team. Excited about the next chapter and future collaborations. Love you Maxi!

    Posted 15th December 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  2. Caz

    What Tom said. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work under your leadership. You’ve taught me a lot.


    Posted 15th December 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  3. It’s been one hell of a ride Max – thank you for all you’ve brought, for showing up in the fullest sense and for everything you’ve taught me.

    Posted 15th December 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  4. Thank you for your bravery, compassion, silly humour and vehement belief in people. It’s been wonderful working with you – I’ve learned so much from you, not least about myself! LOVE YOU! x

    Posted 15th December 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  5. +1 on all comments. Love you and your silly humour and your leadership has been inspiring and has led me to unlock the passion I had locked away. LOVE YOU!

    Posted 15th December 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink
  6. I’ve not got the words yet, but I want to acknowledge your lovely comments – thank YOU. Full of gratitude and love.

    Posted 15th December 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink