CAP30

CAP30

CAP30 is an exclusive, client-centred development community for leaders of local businesses who are focused on scaling up during 2018, and for whom a tailored and flexible workplace-based approach works better than an MBA.

CAP30 is for businesses that are looking for faster, more reliable growth, and a robust strategy to support their business goals.
CAP30 delivers increased skills, confidence, business focus, and the opportunity to direct more of your time to the things that matter most to you.

If you are interested in finding out more about CAP30 please contact stephen.warburton@CambridgeAP.com


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Case Study: Governance in £bn business

Our client is a high profile £bn+ business. Three months before we were engaged it had been involved in a major public incident that had seriously undermined its credibility and reputation, leading to a number of high profile exits. This bore heavily on remaining management and few were willing to put their heads above the parapet, resulting in a culture of long hours and decision making paralysis. At the point that we were engaged, the organisation was at a standstill with executives spending 12-14 hours per day in committee meetings and almost no time running the business. Decisions were being passed from committee to committee, everything was being escalated and morale was ebbing away.

Using our #UniqueContribution© suite of approaches, within a six week period we had managed to:

  • Free 60% of management’s time spent in committees
  • Unblock the decision making jam
  • Create clear guidance on what decisions could be taken where and by whom
  • Produce decision templates that forced clear articulation of “the ask”
  • Increase staff net promoter scores by 40% due to increased confidence in management

We knew that people don’t go to work to do a bad job, but are very often not empowered, directed or equipped to do the required job. Missing skills, capability and competence, to a greater or lesser extent, can all be developed. But if a person’s core skills, values and passions don’t align or there is inadequate direction or empowerment, they will simply not thrive, which is what was happening here.

Using our Organisational Development and Behaviours perspective we looked at a number of things:

  • Were management setting goals and objectives that were achievable with the resource, skills and talent that existed?
  • Was management supporting the development of a company culture to which the employees’ values aligned?
  • When goals were set, could they be delivered entirely within the control of those given the task?
  • Where control was not with those given the task, but required co-operation or enablement from others, was this feasible without undue stress?
  • When it became clear that goals and objectives could not be achieved either alone or with the support of others, was it possible to explore alternative options or to re-set goals and objectives?

In the case where goals and objectives could not be achieved either through existing means, alternative options, negotiating revised targets, or when doing so would compromise the individuals’ values, what choices were being made to prevent “overwhelmed” individuals and teams?

Based on the evidence we found, it was clear that there was nothing to gain from being a slave to a corporate business plan that was undeliverable in its current guise with the existing operating model.

Working with the leadership we utilised the #UniqueContribution© test to develop clarity about:

  1. What are the goals and objectives and who sets them
  2. What decision is required and where is it best taken
  3. What delegations have been allocated and what empowerment is required

In addition, we defined what should constitute adequate management information, a process to reasonably identify and address risk, and proportionate assurance to give comfort that processes would operate as intended.

What had been missing is what we call “boundary” management. That is to say, before goals and objectives are set or accepted, that they are checked for achievability. If they require input or contribution outside of personal or team control, how can you get it? What empowerment is needed? Are there any “sacred cows” that can’t be challenged?

We ensured that when escalating a matter, there was clarity on what the “ask” was and why it wouldn’t be within an individual or team’s gift to resolve it. Equally, we ensured that when a decision was escalated, it was clear what was being asked and why it couldn’t be decided below, or what delegations and empowerments could be put in place to allow the decision to be taken sooner and “closer to the action”.

Six weeks on, the organisation started to function. Six months on and productivity is up by 30%, NPS continues to improve and churn is down by 80%.

What do the next six months hold for you? Contact us if you want to see these same improvements.


Photo by Paul Bence on Unsplash

Balancing stress with Professional Management

A recent survey by The Chartered Management Institute identified that, for those individuals who had invested in professionalising their skills:

  • 93% had developed greater self-awareness which allowed them to connect more effectively with co-workers
  • 86% had heightened self-confidence
  • By making significant “better decisions” they delivered, on average, £362,176 in added value to their organisations

But what does investing in professional management mean?

Stress against performance graph

Professional management, or professional managers, covers many areas of people’s working lives. One such important area is stress, as a motivator and a detriment.

Too much stress can lead to a cataclysmic drop off in performance needing weeks if not months of recovery time. We also know that without enough stimulation, or background stress, performance suffers and motivation dips. It’s a fine balancing act to ensure that performance is optimised without risking overwhelming. As people are often an organisation’s most valuable asset, professional managers need to understand what drives this and which interventions to be apply.

Professional managers set goals and objectives to manage that balance. In setting goals that are achievable with the resource, skills and talent that exists, they also support the development of a company culture with employees’ values.

Stress and goals chart

When goals are set which can be delivered entirely within the control of a given individual, as long as they are sufficiently challenging, stress levels should remain low and objectives should be met. More often than not an objective requires team co-operation or enablement from another. In these cases, the objective may initially heighten stress but as the individual accepts and starts to act on the need for support, realising that it is coming, goals and objectives should be met without undue stress.

However, once it becomes clear that the goal cannot be met either alone or with others, problems start to arise. This is when it’s necessary to look at alternative options or to re-set goals and objectives. Decisions need to be made if the individual is to avoid the dreaded realm of overwhelmed.

These will range from recognising the impossibility of the situation and retreating from the environment, compromising on values to achieve the desired outcome, or struggling on attempting to succeed but knowing that failure is inevitable and recurring. Clearly, neither the second or third options are acceptable, and the first is only acceptable if there is a fundamental mismatch between the individual and the organisation, at both a capability and values level.

This is where professional management needs to step in. The professional manager will look to how individuals and teams can be supported, joined and enabled for success. No-one goes to work with the aim of doing a bad job. The professional manager will facilitate access to people or tools that can help. They will allow sacred cows to be challenged and support new ways of working.

Investing in professional management is to create more “Win Win” situations for both the employee and the company. And where this isn’t possible, to say “No Deal”.

To put your people first, come and talk to us today.


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The Partners behind CAP

CAP is a boutique practice of highly-experienced consulting partners, CEOs, successful entrepreneurs and behavioural specialists committed to delivering a more accessible partner-led service, making a real and measurable difference.

We are far more than a group of senior executives who have undertaken this type of work before. We are agile. We are creative. And above all, we are a team that has invested time to become attuned to the behaviours that either inhibit or facilitate success.

We are open, collaborative and all committed to continuous learning and knowledge sharing. We continuously challenge the art of the possible, giving our clients more options and greater confidence to go further, faster.

We have specialists in unlocking the benefits of flat, dynamic structures. We have team members steeped in recruitment and talent management, and we have people familiar with managing investor relations and external reporting requirements.

We believe that all assignments should be partner-led and assign the most relevant leader for your needs who is committed to making a lasting difference to your business.

Stephen Warburton – Managing Partner

Stephen is one of the country's leading "go to" people when it comes to growth and governance. He has over two decades of experience of working with start-up and growth companies, leading FTSE and Fortune 500 telecoms and high tech companies, and building Professional Service practices.

Chris Taylor – Partner

Chris has over 20 years of experience working in the UK and internationally with HR consulting firms, leading sales teams focussed on high-value solutions with FTSE and Fortune 500 companies. Working as a sales director, he has led high performing sales teams and is known as a rainmaker in achieving multimillion dollar corporate deals with his clients.

Caroline Brown – Partner

Caroline has 20 years of experience at plc board level, driving strategic growth and leading high-performing teams in the media, professional services, fintech and technology sectors. She thrives in entrepreneurial markets.

Bevis Moynan – Partner

Bevis is the only coach globally to be both a senior trainer of motivational mapping and a trainer of neuro linguistic programming. Bevis provides bespoke and unique business growth and advisory services with the intention of improving engagement and motivation at work.

Sara Barrie - Partner

Sara helps people and organisations to be their best and realise their potential, by enhancing leadership capability. A recognised business leader, she is an engaging, authentic and passionate coach who brings fresh thinking, challenge and fun.

Working with us

Ever wondered what it would be like to work with some of the country’s brightest minds who help clients unlock exceptional value? That’s what CAP does every day. Why not have a chat to us about how you can become part of something very special.


Our values

Being clear on our values

Our foundation at CAP is based on values, principles and ways of working that we will not compromise on. Only those who are wholeheartedly committed to these can be part of the CAP family.

Our values

  • We act ethically and with humanity, operating with honesty, transparency and integrity
  • We contribute to our people, clients and communities, using our talents and resources to add value and build sustainable futures

Our principles

  • We lead by example and actively support each other
  • We act in the best interests of our people, clients and communities, being transparent in our actions and decisions
  • We conduct our personal and professional lives in line with our ethics and professional standing
  • We are inquisitive, behaviourally curious and committed to lifelong learning
  • Client work will always be partner-led
  • We encapsulate the Cambridge identity in our work and philosophy, seeking innovation, collaboration, inclusion, curiosity, balance and diversity

Our clients will experience us as

  • Interested, investigative, passionate and innovative – we will bring all our curiosity and available talents to each client
  • Reliable, results-driven, adding value and behaving ethically – we will do the right thing even if that is difficult, including telling you if we are not the right fit
  • Acting with integrity, humanity and empathy – we are not here to judge, we are here to help

Is this what you would like from your business partner? If so please contact us today.