Unveiling the UK's freshest business change consultancy
It was appropriate, for a company dealing with business change, that our first event was a massive change itself. Meeting up in person was a novelty for us all, and refreshing after 18 months or so of near-seclusion.
But there we were, on 10th September (2021): co-founders Julian Sharples and Cathy Marriott, along with myself and many other As it is Associates, meeting together for the first time in person.
An excellent opportunity to meet and greet each other as whole people rather than just as screenshots from the neck upwards. And a very nice bunch we are too, though I say it myself.
The occasion gave Julian and Cathy a chance to tell us their vision and strategy for the company. As Julian explained, after setting up a string of successful companies, he thought he had ‘one company left in me’.
And the idea of the As it is business change consultancy was born.
Meeting the As it is team & Associates
As it is is a venture of like-minded, non-corporate people, who all bring different skills to the party but who all have experience in bringing about change, or helping others through change. And who approach the task at hand in an out-of-the-box way, reflecting our non-corporate backgrounds.
A short introduction from each of us showed that, despite our varied backgrounds and skills, we are all on the same page in our thinking, and as a collective we provide a powerful offering.
We’re a diverse bunch, which includes:
Full-blown change consultants, consultants in systems thinking, internal communications and user experience
Coaches of various types, including a business coach, an Agile coach, and a professional development coach
Project managers, training facilitators, and elearning developers
Web designers, multimedia designers, and graphic designers
Writers, editors and photographers
And – here is what makes us even more different – trained psychotherapists and a lawyer.
Change consulting done differently
Helping companies through change involves, first, listening to people: hearing how it is, rather than how senior management would like it to be.
Or, as historian William Lund put it:
'We understand the present to guide the future.'
How can you take people through change if you don’t understand where they are now, and what their concerns are? You need to understand them and their situations, their worries and their fears, to be able to encourage and offer support. It’s key to provide a safe psychological space for people to tell their side of the story.
And then you need to guide them through the journey of change. This may be where the coaches come in, the Agile methodology to get the work organised and carried out efficiently.
Our Agile practitioner quoted President Eisenhower:
'Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.'
Plans may be out of date the minute you print them, but you can't implement change without going through the process of planning.
Along the way, you need to make sure that the user experience is taken into account, to continue putting a company’s people – the users – at the heart of the change. Managers often do not realise that their own employees are ‘users’; it's not just the customers. Getting the user experience right is especially important for that reason.
Needless to say, the messaging and communications are all-important. And among our associates are writers and editors who can create communications from scratch, or help you turn your prose into the right words at the right time, in a consistent voice.
One of our psychotherapists referred to the German idea of Gestalt psychology, in which the whole entity is seen as more than the sum of its parts.
You might say that As it is is very Gestalt: we are so much more together than we are as individuals.
What can you expect from As it is?
If you’re still wondering what makes us so different, here are some of our key differentiators:
We focus on the people side of change
We help clients to see their reality as it is, not as they would like it to be
... and are clear that meaningful change can only happen with this as its starting point
We understand that change only happens in the present, and that it’s iterative – the big bang launch is a thing of the past.
Alternatively, if you’ve already got a project in mind, do get in touch.