Allan Smith – My Profile
I graduated from Nottingham University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and went to work in the nuclear industry, as a trainee with British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. After posts in various engineering disciplines, I transferred to Operations and spent three years as Operations Manager of the largest enrichment plant in Europe. This is where I got to put my management theory into practise and developed my ability to solve problems and get the best out of people.
I was then promoted via a series of roles in commissioning and business, culminating in being responsible for commercial education and change at our Sellafield site.
During my time as Commissioning Group Manager, I studied for my MBA at Lancaster University and became increasingly interested in the people aspects of running an organisation. As I researched for my dissertation (on mergers and why they rarely realise stakeholder value) it dawned on me that the cultural aspects of a company and the thinking (mindset) of influential leaders within the business were at least as important for high performance as the systems and strategies employed.
I became more and more curious about what was difference when someone was successful and not. (This is a theme that continues to today). It seemed to me that many aspects of a business could be similar, selling into the same market, similar product/service at a similar price point but the results of the business could be spectacularly different. With this in mind, I left BNFL and joined an NLP consultancy. Here, we worked with many different clients and got some great results with individuals and teams by focusing on the thinking of key people involved.
A local sales training company then approached me to join them and teach NLP techniques to a variety of sales teams and individual sales people. We achieved some great results here and regularly demonstrated the impact of our work on sales figures, which was very satisfying.
After a few years, I formed my own company and then spent several years working with clients including Oracle (UK, EMEA and US), Nokia (Asia Pac), Dell, Exodus Internet and a variety of smaller companies including not for profits (YMCA and MNDA).
As part of my personal development, I have recently completed training on an innovative approach to helping individuals radically improve their performance by understanding how their thinking influences all aspects of their performance. I’ve integrated this approach into my work with clients and we are seeing dramatic results including increased creativity, resilience and performance.
A selection of projects I am particularly proud of:
- Reducing the attrition rate from 55% to 8% for the User Interface Team of a well-known company in San Francisco.
- Cutting the cost of sales of an assessment company by designing a method of remote selling, recruiting internal sales people, training and managing the team and handing over to a permanent sales manager. I also introduced an innovative way of group selling.
- Halting the fall in sales figures of an educational publisher by identifying the thinking influencing all their sales reps and arranging training to remove that block.
- Teaching core coaching skills to a group of senior managers in a software company to drive culture change across the organisation.
- Working with a software development team to grow from eight people to thirty-one people over three years, with zero people leaving and outstanding product results.
- Integrating the Operations and Commissioning teams of a high technology company resulting in bringing major sections of plant on-line, significantly under budget.
- Dramatically improving the performance of many Directors, Managers and Business Owners by a variety of coaching strategies, including identifying and overcoming blocks, clarifying their success criteria and values and increasing their creativity and resilience.
Qualifications / Education
- BSc (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University; specialising in Nuclear Engineering and Noise and Engineering Acoustics.
- MBA from Lancaster University; specialising in Organisational Development, particularly realising shareholder value from mergers and acquisitions.
- Practitioner Certificate in NLP, specialising in coaching individuals to overcome blocks to their performance.
- Practitioner Certificate from Clarity Consulting, focused on the influence of State of Mind on the performance of individuals.
- Licenced in MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), which I believe is still a great tool to uncover differences in how people behave and are motivated.
- Trained to deliver various coaching models including GROW, TOTE and goal setting techniques.
- Certificate in Group Coaching from Oxford University (Led by Dr. Graham Wilson), highlighting how individuals respond to coaching.
I served on the board of Central YMCA for 10 years, being the Deputy Chair for my last two years. We focused on helping young people to get a great start in life (or back on track) by following an apprenticeship and helping people in general to improve their well-being and get more out of life.
Currently I am the Chair of SHARE Oxford. We aim to play our part in moving society to a lower-consumption, lower waste economy including:
- offering a valuable sharing service for a wide range of useful things in our Library of Things
- helping people repair and maintain things they love and learn these skills through our repair cafés,
- promoting and supporting others repairing, sharing, and reducing waste in our community,
- inspiring others to undertake similar initiatives,
- collaborating with like-minded people and groups, and
- alleviating the modern-day pressure on personal finances
I am also a supporter of Liverpool Football Club, which I look on as character building.