In an insightful interview, Shaun Howarth talks about his story, the #r10story. Here, at r10 individuality matters, thus each employee helps shape the company rather the company shaping our employees.
Shaun’s experience has shaped the Project Delivery and Consultancy services at r10. He discusses his passion for business transformation and modernisation, the value of partnerships and how he wants to do things differently.
Shaun talks about the fears he has seen in his career that prevent long-term business relationships and how Shaun and his consultants go about shedding those fears. He discusses his approach to partnerships and project delivery, which is currently shaping the r10 vision.
Edited excerpts from the interview below.
Tell us about you and your experience
My name is Shaun Howarth. I’m the director of portfolio delivery at r10 consulting. My role at r10 consulting is to build the project delivery and consultancy services.
I worked in consultancy for the first three years of my career. Six months here, six months there, and you get a good view of the business. It gave me a really good grounding and understanding.
I then moved into (the insurance) industry. Tens of millions of pounds of transformation portfolios. Also, I’ve done regulatory type programs, operational changes within organisations, IT transformations.
I’m passionate about delivering modernisation and business transformation to the London market. I see a real opportunity there to help them modernise and move forward and be competitive. So, I joined r10 because of that passion. I’ve experienced consultancies and worked in-house at a number of organisations and I felt that I could bring a real value by doing this for a number of clients and getting my reach much further.
Why is r10 different?
r10 is a nimble, agile, innovative, energised, passionate consultancy.
We’re not about a big corporate model; we’re not about taking direction from the top. We work with our clients to bespoke our solutions. We don’t have to have one size fits all.
For me, the best types of relationships are a partnership, where both client and the service provider get mutual benefit. There’s no point in having a relationship where one side gets all the benefits because that will eventually break down. We’re building a consultancy that focusses on building those long-term relationships. We don’t chase the next sale. It’s about creating that ongoing trusting, loyal relationship, which allows us to be flexible to our client’s needs, and responsive to the market.
How does r10 approach partnerships?
At r10 we’re not about putting ourselves above the client. We’re willing to roll our sleeves up and do the dirty work. We tend to work with our clients, building that strong, ongoing relationship. A big part of that is creating vulnerability and being vulnerable, because that creates trust and loyalty between the consultancy and the client.
That’s about shedding some fears. I’ve seen typical consultancies in the past have.
One of them is about fear of losing business. If we go in and have a conversation with one of our clients, I personally will start talking about the solution or how we can help them straight away. That’s arguably free business; it’s giving away business. If we start talking about that, and they like what we’re talking about they could run off and deliver it themselves. However, nine times out of ten they say “Great, we love what you’re saying. Can you help us do that?”
Another one I’ve seen is the fear of being inferior. A number of consultancies, they’re being paid a lot of money for what they’re doing. They’re supposed to look like they’re on top of their game and know everything about it. Almost put themselves on a pedestal.
At r10, myself and my consultants, we don’t do that. We don’t need to look like we’re right all the time. We can make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, right? We shouldn’t be fearful of making mistakes. We should just accept those, learn from those, take accountability for them and move on from there.
What is your vision for r10?
My vision for r10 is to create a consultancy that does things a little bit differently.
A consultancy that sheds the fear of losing business. Focused on consulting rather than selling. We’re focused on a consultancy about building relationships. Rather than trying to sell solutions that may not be fit for purpose.
It’s about working collaboratively with our clients; as opposed to telling them what the solution is or guessing what we think might be the answer.
We don’t have a solution for that client? I’d rather find that early on and have an open conversation with them; as opposed to pretending we have a solution, and then find out at the end that what we delivered doesn’t resolve their problems.
For me, firstly I need to understand the client’s issues before they can understand the solution that I’m proposing for their problem.