Why I joined The Pioneers

by Jeff Wellstead
October 9, 2017

I met Matt and Bee at a coffee shop across from Google’s new headquarters on a typically variable rainy/sunny day in London about two months ago. Our meeting was orchestrated by another magical character, Tamara Griffin, with whom I had just helped orchestrate a corporate hackathon at a leading ISP and Telco provider. She knew both The Pioneers and myself and saw an immediate psychic connection – a ‘match made in Heaven’ so to speak – and thus the meeting came to be. 

Over cappuccino and herbal tea – Matt, Bee and myself shared our various experiences and visions for an enlightened future of working, deeply intelligent and empathic organisations engaging with employees and recognising that the real power of that organisation lies within the potential of its people. We were in violent agreement that the way most 20th Century organisations have operated was dangerously outdated, and if companies were to survive and thrive in the Digital Age, where everyone and everything was connected, information was transparently shared, and the speed of learning, knowing and experiencing happening in real-time, then we needed to change every tenet of our understanding to empower, enable and engage people at every level. 

So, what do clever people do when they realise they are fighting the same mission, believe at their core that this transformation and psychological revolution is the work worth doing? We join forces! 

I’ve always sought to work with like minded, scientifically oriented consultants who know the future of work space well, are passionate about creating inspiring management solutions at work, and who are driven to prove that when people feel inspired to give their all at work, exponential results soon follow. Matt, Bee and The Pioneers is such a place. They’ve done the maths on that equation and understand that I could bring additive value to their approach by applying the Employee Experience design lens to this equation. It seemed perfectly logical that we would work together wonderfully! Thanks again to Tamara Griffin for matching us up together!

Seeing the fruits of my thinking, experience and knowledge helping organisations reach new heights – often beyond their wildest dreams is my purpose for living I think.  And for me, it’s all about purpose and impact on creating powerful relationships that deliver exponential results.

I come from a 25+ year career in human resource leadership experience, having worked in global HR roles with major consulting, investment banking and technology companies in the USA for 18 years and with hyper-growth tech start-up companies here in the UK for the last 13 years. I’ve led global HR roles for companies such as MessageLabs (now Symantec), SpinVox (now Nuance), Kantar’s IT Partnership Group (now WPP Core tech), MetaPack and Realistic Games. I’ve also engaged in change and transformation work with several companies such as Skype and Brady Plc. This past year, I founded an employee experience design consultancy called ex.design – where my focus was helping HR leaders and their organisations embrace an employee point of view that we have seldom embraced when trying to improve engagement, work processes, people policies or organisation structures.  All too often, we introduce massive restructuring, change and structural formats that are created to aid the corporate structure first, with the effect on employees often coming dead last in the consideration chain. Predictably, many of these efforts fail to realise their intended potential, falling prey to poor adoption, lack of engagement or in some cases, even sabotage. 

The Pioneers have fostered a thorough understanding of the challenges businesses and people face when trying to deliver great service, differentiated offerings and in working in highly competitive spaces. Wonderfully displayed on their website, Matt and Bee visually outlined some of the most challenging issues facing companies today – in the section, What’s Your Challenge?.

Their ethos, culture first approach, intelligent management innovation, engagement & story-telling and developmental focus all hit me right in the sweet spot of connected and enlightened thinking. But what I love most about their approach was not how well thought out and carefully mapped it was – but rather the presumption that most organisations already have pockets of powerful innovation, creativity and exponential progression in their ranks – but have never capitalised on understanding why, who and how those pockets have generated such fantastic results. Looking at the behavioural DNA of these organisational hot-spots of excellence, experimentally extracting that gold dust to then replicate those same results across the enterprise is the sort of scientifically led activities The Pioneers embrace. This wasn’t just another prescriptive, “Do it our way because we know better than you,” sort of place after all! How refreshing to meet people who know the inner-workings of business, appreciate the variety of strain and stress their people are under, and who want to dive deeply into the purpose, values and culture of an organisation to help accentuate their best version of themselves and then emulate that magic across their entire enterprise. Simple. Elegant. Trust-driven. Genius. Go with the existing flow of energy, don’t reinvent wheels, align like-minded and enlightened thinkers and doers already present – and then use scientific experimentation, digital tooling, cultural shaping and intelligently aligned behavioural drivers to put a client on a path to exceed its wildest dreams about its vision for the future.

I’ve worked with quite a few consultancies, investment bankers and very clever tech companies – but it often seemed the case that they would hire the best and brightest players imaginable, and then create their own, “We know better” solution set to differentiate themselves in their markets. The problem with that, I have found, is that our clients don’t want to be told, “We know you better than you know yourself.” They would rather be told, “We think you are amazing, you have such promise and potential – now let us help you find that within yourselves and bring out the best in you – in a sustainable and empirically proven way.” Such is the approach The Pioneers take to every engagement opportunity. I like that. Feels right, intelligent, human and truly connected.

That’s what I love – an intelligent system, designed to recognise existing genius and capability, to supercharge what already works well, and to educate and empower clients to sustain that change over time. Feels like the right way to go about things, don’t you think? I do, and that’s why I chose to come work with The Pioneers.

Warmly and happily submitted,

Jeff Wellstead


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