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Tom Nixon

A snapshot of how NixonMcInnes’ new decentralised model works in practice

We’re all starting to settle into life after the big restructure of NM, and the spinning out of various independent initiatives. Adjusting from being an employee on a payroll to being fully independent within a larger network is a big deal, and the process of actually moving from one to the other has been incredibly challenging, but now we’re on the other side I know that I and many others are feeling absolutely liberated.

A great example of the new model in action is happening this month. We have a project to help deliver an event around progressive business practices for a couple of hundred people.

I now have complete flexibility to put together whichever team is best able to deliver the job, be they former full-time employees, partners, or other associates. No more obligation to utilise fix resources. In this case, I’ve teamed up with two former employees: Belinda who is a great fit as she knows the community for whom the event’s happening well and is an expert on collaboration, which is a big theme for the event; and Louise, who spun her own events company out of NM and is an organisation and logistical whizz. We also brought in a partner, Fathom, who are experts in experiential events to help with creative. Finally, another associate has come on board to help bring it all together.

The money works out much better too. Under our old model we had to average out at charging in the region of £1000 per day to meet our high overhead costs and make a decent profit to grow, reward people, and ensure our sustainability. With this project, it would have priced us out and we would have turned it down, even though it’s fulfilling work which fits the vision. But with almost no overheads to meet, and budget going more directly to the people actually delivering it, the money works out just fine.

In summary, this model allows us to deliver higher quality work by picking the very best team for each job from a wider network; we offer better value for money as clients don’t have to support big consultancy overheads (like a fancy office, or managers and other support staff who do not directly create value for clients); and it’s more rewarding for the people doing the work. I’d use the phrase win-win here, if it wasn’t such a cliché.

So that’s a little snapshot of a drastically simplified, decentralised consultancy model in action. I’m enjoying it immensely.

Now the dust has settled, I’ll soon be sharing more of the inside story of what was happening behind the scenes throughout this transformation. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, there’s more to it than I’ve been able to share so far. But first, we need to crack on with developing our new website as this one is feeling really out of date.

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