• Madeleine Bonser

Spotlight on - Simon Costigan

At Spotlight, we got the opportunity to talk to the director of The Change Partner, Simon Costigan.

Business background

The Change Partner is a change consultancy that supports businesses to improve their performance through 4 key areas: change management, process improvement, project management and leadership development/coaching. The enforced lockdown due to Covid19 gave me the opportunity to reflect on and change the emphasis of the services I provide, previously it was only project & programme management, I now believe The Change Partner can provide a more holistic solution to businesses needing help.

I was a programme and project manager for Boots UK and Walgreens and the natural transition was for me was to start my own business giving me more autonomy over my career direction and a better work/life balance as a result. I didn’t see my career path as doing this kind of work, I began when I was asked by my boss at the time. I realised it was something I was good at & that I enjoyed, so I worked hard to learn as much as I could about change and how to effectively deliver it.

Drive and determination

I get my drive and determination from a belief that I could help businesses deliver better performance than they are experiencing currently. I was convinced that all the great stuff I’d learned working for one of the world’s biggest organisations would have massive benefit if it could be translated successfully to companies of all sizes.

Relationships are everything if you can build them quickly and in a meaningful way, the chances of being successful increase hugely. I also learned that it’s important to be open, honest and authentic even if it’s very difficult to do so.

The best part of my job is seeing businesses improve their performance through the processes, structure and coaching I’ve provided them with. There’s no greater feeling than getting feedback from a client highlighting how much they have benefitted from you helping them and their company.

Advice to anyone starting out

The three tips I would give to those starting their careers would be, focus on relationships as they will open so many doors for you, seek to understand what’s really important to the person you want to get to know and go from there, I’d also say be really clear on people’s expectations and be brave enough to ask, once you understand what someone expects it’s much easier to match it as you’re not guessing and finally never lose sight of the truly important things in your life such as your love ones and friends, you’ll always need them.

Be really clear about how your business will benefit customers, take the time to define the proposition properly and build the vision and offering from there. Also, be clear about why a customer should choose you over someone else and what your customer call to action is.

The best bit of advice I’ve been given is that the only thing that stops you achieving something is your own self-limiting beliefs. If you can overcome these, I believe you can achieve anything.

Looking for a leadership position?

Be authentic in your leadership, people are your most precious asset and they should be treated as such. Set clear expectations on the standards of work that need to be achieved and always be there for your people no matter how busy you are. Finally, let them work with autonomy by giving them a very clear decision-making framework to work within.

Trust the people that work for you and understand they have more to their lives than just the job they have. Be prepared to be flexible and if people are doing a great job, don’t be too concerned about the hours they’re working and where they’re working from. Doing a great job is all about the quality of the output and not the number of hours worked to achieve it.

The key to success

I don’t believe there is a set pattern, I believe it’s about having the energy every day to achieve what you want out of life. Career paths don’t go in a straight line, so it’s important to take opportunities when they present themselves.

It’s incredibly important to always make time for people as you never know where your next job will come from.

Business during COVID-19

I’ve been involved in plenty of networking sessions to increase the number of people I’m in contact with, it also gets The Change Partner recognised across LinkedIn and other platforms. I’ve also kept in touch with people you have done work with previously as there could be opportunities in the future, you have to be the first person that people think of when they need a piece of work doing.

Keep in touch with your people, online networking sessions are great for this and also have a virtual coffee with friends. We can still do all the things that were possible in an office setting, we just need to get a little creative in making the meeting accessible to everyone.

Check out The Change Partner here and connect with Simon on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed this blog check out more just like it here.

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