Q&A With…

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Last week we caught up with Iain Ranson, Consulting Director at Oakleigh House Consulting, Mentor and Sqwyz Member. Here’s what he had to say about IR35, being a mentor and some of his career highlights…

Can you tell us a little bit more about what you do? 

I work in a number markets such as Regulated Financial Services, Retail, Telecoms & Private Equity with corporates, SMEs & Start-Ups to deliver transformational operating model change to build sustainable and flexible business models. I also mentor via a number of organisations to support individuals and start-ups and have a non-exec chair role with a stat-up charitable foundation that has the aim of enriching the lives of people with disabilities by breaking down social barriers. I’ve been following IR35 for the last 10 years, lobbying my MP for the last two.

You have been outspoken regarding IR35 and were recently a panellist for our online event, what do you think the future holds for those effected by IR35? 

How long have you got! Last week’s IR35 webinar lasted over an hour and we only just scratched the surface of that can of worms. In the short-term, the majority of contractors will be required by clients to work via Umbrella companies, which will create a class of worker who is paying tax like an employee but has no benefits of being employed, essentially a no rights worker. I think after 18 to 24 months of uncertainty, confusion and irritation, the market will settle into two distinct engagement models:

i. Engagements via Fixed Term Contracts with clients who have an end date driven role with no specific deliverable or outcomes.  

ii. Engagements via using micro consultancies as a B2B supplier for specific outcomes with clear due dates.

You’re also a mentor with us, how are you finding the program and would you recommend it to others? 

Mentoring is the main thing that gives me a buzz.  I find it so enjoyable to support individuals, colleagues & peers as they seek to develop personally.  I have one mentee via the Sqwyz Transformation Community Network, one with the business school I‘m an alumni off and I have a ‘matching’ event in October for Tech Manchester to mentor a tech start up in the North West. I am also in the process of considering joining the Association of Business Mentors, which is the nationally recognised body for mentoring in the UK.

Would I recommend it to others?

Yes in a heartbeat. You get so much back in energy, motivation and I have learnt many new ideas and developed new perspectives from my mentees. With over 25 years of experience in Business Transformation, do you have any advice for those who are just starting out? Think long and hard about what and why you want to enter the transformation arena. Be clear that the work is always at full speed ahead, it can be frustrating, challenging, rewarding, very difficult, political and often unwanted by client employees.  Keep people at the heart of everything you do, be mindful it may be figures on a balance sheet to shareholders, but it is people’s livelihoods and ability to provide for their families that Transformation is impacting with. Always act with integrity & honesty, even when delivering difficult messages, it will be recognised and appreciated over time. Get excellent training early in your career and keep learning and refining you skills set.

Finally, what has been your favourite project or role and why? 

My favourite projects are anything to do with designing operating models, especially due to M&A activities.  My favourite role within that, is as Head of Design Authority as the role is a mix of leadership, communication, designing & team building.  It has all the great parts of transformation.  As a Consulting Director I’m now engaged as a Programme or Transformation Director and I get to lead the design oversight, governance, communications, stakeholder engagement and to navigate the politics, which can all be equally as challenging.


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