Navigating you on your path to growth

Achieve and manage the Balcony View in business, relationships and life.

At Active Growth Ltd we provide unique, bespoke expertise and services that make us different to other consultancies.

We offer:

In this we collaborate with you to perform a thorough synthesis of your behaviours, strategies and ways of working. This enables us to co-create bespoke solutions to the opportunities we find in a way that ensures ownership, sustainability and return on investment.

As critical friends we support you to implement the opportunities identified during the holistic diagnosis. We there to guide and advise, not replace or dictate as our role is to help you create the capabilities required to achieve your goals and aspirations.

In addition to our critical friend service, we offer dedicated coaching and mentoring support, guidance and where appropriate, training in the following: strategic leadership, organisational design, systems thinking, intelligence development and exploitation, decision making, personal development and well-being.

We also provide bespoke, fun team building activities through our subsidiary enterprise Palace Paddlers that are designed to build confidence and capability through the use of adventurous actives to stretch comfort zones and improve wellbeing, team cohesion and engagement

Staff cohesion, engagement and alignment to your North Star are essential if you are to remain productive and effective in today’s climate.

We offer a variety of fun adventurous activities that are designed to ensure that everyone understands WHY you exist and support the development of the necessary leadership behaviours and cultures to make you a success.

Our approach

Why do you need our services?

There are a multitude of reasons why individuals and organisations enrol consultants or advisors. Some reasons are better than others. As are the providers of the advice and services.

In our experience the most common reasons for asking for outside help are:

  • to gain intelligence or experience you lack;
  • obtaining a more objective picture and opinion;
  • to learn from what has worked well elsewhere.
  • And there are, more often found in corporate settings and regularly veiled as relating to motivation, other reasons such as: access to additional brains and hands because of shortages and gaps on the client side;
  • outside credibility having greater currency to internal input;
  • confirmation / validation of own plans, biases and actions;
  • or preparing an alibi and scapegoat for failure.

What makes us different?

At AGL we are here to help you learn what is relevant and impactful for your success. We consult and advise but not as you probably have grown to associate such professionals. We are about holistic inquiry, exploration of possibilities, and acting to design your future-proof.

It is in the HOW and WHY that we differ from what is (sadly) all too common.

We act in the spirit of curiosity, creativity, courage and compassion. So, we inquire and question assumptions and the status quo; we apply creativity as the skill to design beyond improvement and optimisation; we have the responsible backbone to alert you to omissions and to foster trying what will set you apart; we respect you and collaborate with you as if it was us/our company (but in a way that is neither clever nor patronising; we believe that those who believe they know the client/the client’s business better than the client should be in that business, not provide services to them).

Our mode of engagement is characterised by transparency, communication, participation (co-design). We come with no hidden agenda, employ complete openness, creating your future with you as active designers. This is not only a matter of fairness, but also the foundation for trust, ownership, and continuation once we are gone, as you confidently walk without outside help.

We operate this way because we are walking our talk, faithful to our declared values and principles. Because this is the way we would want to be treated by our advisors and consultants.

We apply a proven, holistic/systemic methodology, not the copy-paste application of tools and solutions copied from elsewhere. In everything we do we believe that fitness and well-being are complementary and a desired outcome. We take the individuality of client and contingency seriously. That’s why there is no pre-manufactured solution.

We also embrace diversity, believing that different perspectives with different expertise, talents, at different levels and from different angles help all of us to obtain a richer – and more realistic – picture.

We are a learning organisation

We believe that in the messy VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) no problem will remain solved in such a dynamic environment. Therefore, we focus on building learning capacity beyond short-term fixes.

We acknowledge that all business is people business and that people want to be involved in meaningful activities and that they are more able to be engaged and creative when there is a purpose that has value to them. Therefore, we refer to the concept of a Purposeful Human Activity System (PHAS), where the interactions of its members and stakeholders are the producers of such systems.

What makes us different to the rest?

Consultants and advisors come by a variety of terms.

Each of the following we are. And are not, because our HOWs and WHYs are not only different but often completely opposite to our competitors.

There are the “Change and Transformation” consultants. Regularly, particularly the transformation bit, is simply a big word for some change. Aspirational caterpillar-to-butterfly type metamorphosis are rarely delivered. Where most of consultants from this domain fail is in the prescription of what it takes to achieve the goal, and paying little diligence, attention, or respect to what that actually means for those who must work and live with the change and transformation.

There are the “Organisational Design and Development” consultants. Few in this camp incorporate elements of creativity in their design parts. Regularly, the focus is on a changed (and again, typically at best consulted, not co-designed with the majority of those affected) structure.

Where there is the claim to bring the elements of strategy, organisation, processes together it usually fails because some component is treated at high-level, others in detail; and there is no understanding of systemic success criteria across each of the elements that would allow to improve the parts and the whole.

There are the “*Leadership*” consultants. Leadership is important and sounds higher-priced; much like when efficiency is sold as ‘strategy’.

Typically, leadership services are provided for a selected few, regularly aligned to rank and hierarchy. We don’t believe in, nor do we subscribe to such elitist connotations. Shouldn’t all organisation members be capable of good leadership of the areas they are working in?

We build on empowered participation in designing the future. We deny labelling of creative talent, which is fit for flexible action and shifting of roles and responsibility on a need’s basis in a VUCA environment.

There is the increasing number of “Culture” consultants. This could / would be good because it is the soft stuff (culture) that is always the hard stuff. But something as wide and fuzzy as culture escapes the attempted constituent labels most would apply. And the two biggest flaws in ‘managing’ culture are these: Culture is an emergent property of interactions of people and/with their environment; culture is additionally probably the component that most resiliently defies being commanded (let alone top-down).

There is the very mixed bag of “Training and Learning” consultants. Most cover a couple of selected areas – be it industry- or departmental specialisation mixed with typically focus on operational skills and behaviours. Training when not on-the-job often is reduced to obtaining some certificate or qualification based on formal performance, not actual practice relevance. And the whole concept of learning is poverty-struck because it focusses on what is taught. You can teach a subject, but learning only comes from and in practice. Which is why we build learning capacity and weave action learning into the elements of training or coaching we provide.

The Balcony View concept has really helped us realise that we were spending a lot of our effort fire fighting and not taking the time to step back and consider how our actions were actually holding us back in places. We now employ this approach in all our strategy and planning sessions.

As the founder of my business I’m heavily invested in what I’ve built and so I'm very protective about how we do things, which was starting to create problems and stress. Working with Active Growth has helped me become less defensive to feedback and I also now realise that I was getting stuck at being able to move things to the next level. Their support and advice has been invaluable.

The way Active Growth worked with us to co-create our new approach to business intelligence and decision making has been a real eye opener to how things can be done. We’ve felt included at every stage and believe that we’ve now got systems and processes that are ours and not something built for someone else.