Principle One is growing fast, and last week we took a couple of days out from delivering for our clients to consider the challenges we face while accelerating growth over the next year.
Over the last two months, we have welcomed six new starters from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience. Many of them were meeting many of their new colleagues for the first time and it was a great opportunity to get to know them and understand more about what they can bring to Principle One.
Our first morning focused on the progress that we have made over the last year, both in working for a far broader portfolio of projects, building long term relationships with our customers and putting in place stronger internal functions to support our consultants as the teams grow. After an introduction and business update from the Directors, the day was spent looking to the future, with the full team sharing their ideas around the Principle One they want to be part of five years from now.
As we grow beyond 50 staff we talked as a group of the challenges this brings us; how important our flat structure and focus on collaboration is across the team and what we need to do to maintain our start-up culture as we grow. The importance of community and the common purpose we share to make a difference through both our customer work and our social value initiatives came up again and again as a common theme.
We discussed the Principle One “secret ingredient” and how through sharing our collective knowledge throughout the team we can improve coherence and consistency across an increasingly diverse portfolio of customer delivery work. We made a collective commitment to build on our recent work to improve knowledge management within the company and crowd source and share our collective tradecraft g more effectively across the team.
We were also delighted to welcome one of our key customers, John Owen, CTO of the Home Office Policing and Public Protection Technology (PPPT) Portfolio. John was incredibly generous with his time, taking us through his journey and what motivates him in tackling the challenges he faces. It was an opportunity for us to understand how we can support him across his portfolio, and where, as a small consultancy, we can add the most value.
After some well-earned down time, our second day began with a lively Directors’ Town Hall before considering some of the enablers that will support our growth. Recruitment and retention came up as key themes. From the very beginning, we have invested significant time in ensuring that we recruit the right staff from as diverse as possible a range of backgrounds. We talked both around how we can cast the net wider and continue to grow as well as where we can do more to provide the career development support that will keep our retention as high as it has been so far.
We rounded up the day with a personal commitment from each of us – what would we do differently, start doing or even stop doing. Three key themes emerged; communication, contribution and collaboration. Through taking the two days out we created the space for our people to get to know each other better, think about what each could bring in developing our ways of working for project delivery and how they could support colleagues more effectively, re-energising all ahead of an incredibly busy few months.