Our latest edition in our series of 60 Second Interviews is with Jason Roofe, who has recently joined The Barton Partnership to lead our Transformation & Change practice.
Born: Royston, UK
Home: Bath, UK
University: Sheffield & Cranfield
First job: Paper round
Favourite book: Nothing Venture, Nothing Win by Sir Edmund Hillary
Gadget: Landrover Defender
Last holiday: Sailing in Greece
Motto: “I do not intend to tiptoe through life to arrive safely at death.”
First ambition: to be an Olympic middle distance runner
Breakfast and gym/run first, then coffee and emails. No two days are the same, but we have a weekly team ‘drum beat’ that drives the focus for the week, the month the year. Most of the rest of my time is spent working with clients and candidates to make sure we are solving the right problems with the right people. This means meeting with clients, existing and new, to understand their business challenges in detail, and with candidates to make sure they are the right fit for the roles we are considering them for.
Downtime! I’m in London most of the week and then home on Friday for busy family weekends. We live in a vibrant village so there’s routinely something going on that we’re either involved with or go along to. And that’s aside from running with the dog, family walks, and endless ‘make and mend’ jobs around the house and garden. I follow Bath Rugby and go to most of their home games and I’m involved with the local Scouts, which involves supporting the leaders as much as I can and finding ways to give the Scouts challenging life-skill development opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise experience.
How did you come to work at The Barton Partnership?
I was an independent consultant myself before joining TBP and there was neither a job advertised nor was I looking to join a practice like this! By chance and coincidence I ended up on a phone call with Nick Adlam who suggested I might be the right person to build and lead their Transformation & Change team and then one thing led to another and here I am…
How does Transformation and Change fit into The Barton Partnership existing proposition?
Both my joining TBP and the launching of the T&C practice feel entirely natural developments. About a third of the work we do in the Independent Consulting space can already be classified as T&C, where our strategy consultants go on to deliver the work they have devised. And so it makes natural sense for us to dedicate a team to grow that part of the business and build on our existing expertise and candidate base. Which means we now offer our clients support through the full business cycle: from the creation and articulation of a strategic plan through to its implementation and delivery.
How have you seen the world of T&C evolve over your career?
It’s an old adage, but “change is the only constant in life”, so there has and always will be change to manage; what varies is the triggers for change, the degree and speed and the precise way in which you go about dealing with it
I primarily look at things through a leadership and relationship lens, whereby rapid and radical change requires a different leadership style and engagement to more steady state change, so it’s a case of bringing the right people to approach the task at the right time. Sometimes you need help with that change and at other times you can lead and manage it yourself – recognising and calling out when you need help is key.
I think the most exciting change in the last several years is that induced by the digital agenda. The technology is all very interesting stuff, but in reality digital transformation it is just another step change in the technology development continuum we are all already on. A key difference in this iteration is that digital developments are empowering customers to a point where companies have had to listen and act, which in many cases means turning things inside out – exciting times!
What is the most challenging aspect of Transformation and Change?
There are myriad change frameworks to choose from as companies undergo transformation, but they all distill back to ‘People, Process and Technology’… and there’s a reason why ‘People’ comes first. Organising and enrolling multiple people and teams to understand, embrace and effect change across our complex organisations can be hugely challenging, not to mention getting to the nub of the problem to be solved. And so whilst the change might be small, it might not be what everyone wants or believes to be right. No individual component is usually too difficult to overcome, but getting it all to happen with full support, at the right time, in the right sequence, and quickly enough to achieve business goals - I believe - is the crux.
What challenges do you see facing the Transformation & Change sector at the moment?
There’s lots of big change going on – which is a good thing! If you’re looking around and wondering what all the fuss is about you’re either way ahead or way behind – hopefully the former. Either way, more change is always just round the corner, so identifying the need for change and your ability to find the right resources to deal with it in a timely manner is key.
Who inspires you? Why?
I grew up inspired by the Alpine and Himalayan mountaineers and explorers. And those who were writing the books in the eighties and nineties were ‘close enough’ to be real people to me. They were defying the odds with their desire and drive to test the boundaries of what was humanly possible. I continue to be inspired by people who push the boundaries of human ability and endurance and they shape my attitude to what we can all achieve if only we remain open to the possibility of doing it.