2008, two weeks after Lehman Brothers went bust and the start of the financial crisis, Curium came into existence.
Great timing. A mission to empower potential when the world’s organisations needed to slash and burn costs to stay afloat!
Believe it or not, our first point of business was should we sponsor a London based rugby club who needed the support?
With no clients yet and no income, we paid for rugby kits and saw our logo emblazoned on Footscray Rugby club shirts for the first time. Who are they? We’d never heard of them either! Didn’t matter, it still felt good to help out. And we’ve sponsored them ever since. Empower Potential.
Start with why?
Long before reading Simon Sinek (who we think is awesome) we spent our first days talking about purpose and values. What’s it all for? How are we different?
We wanted to be purpose led but honestly we also needed to get some business in. Do we have time to work out a ‘just cause’ (a term borrowed from Simon’s recent work) or shall we just start work?
It took us two weeks to work out an early version. A fumbled attempt to describe to a senior director at Lloyds Bank how we wanted to unlock their potential while going through change…and they really got it.
We ended up running some incredible programmes in an organisation that went through one of the worlds biggest mergers when Lloyd’s and HBOS was crashed together by the government in 2008.
Our culture programme eventually spanned tens of thousands, described by one leading consultancy as ‘best practice to run a people-based intervention alongside a tough delivery agenda.’
We learned very early on that every second shaping purpose is time well spent. It is not a battle between winning business and finding your ‘just cause’. You can do both. In fact you need to do both.
Talking Mindset is trendy now, but in 2008 not so much…
The obvious place for Curium to focus was in ‘change’ given the founders had spent years delivering major programmes across the globe.
As an avid reader of psychology and brain science since he was 13 years old, James led the way in establishing a People Solutions (then called Performance Learning) part of Curium.
But would the customer understand the mix of running complex programmes while also delivering neuroscience based education and entertaining workshops?
Turns out they did. And they were hungry for it. Especially at the front line where dealing with stress was hugely ignored (thankfully that is now changing in many organisations).
In short, the results were astonishing. Our people first approach has got us working with companies we’d only ever read about: NASA, the FBI, CIA…still feels surreal.
Putting people first will accelerate results, not slow you down.
But we just call this learning and it’s not something to be afraid of.
Being prepared to fail and embrace the learning from that, has driven some of our best innovations:
Appreciate your failures, this is what will drive innovation.
And this is where we have got to, still a long way to go and a lot of potential to empower!