INTERVIEW WITH MAX GOWLAND, GROUP TECHNICAL DIRECTOR JEYES
Q: So you used Sensei last year for a piece of work. Can you tell us a little bit about what that piece of work was?
MG: Yes, in essence, when I joined Jeyes, I noticed there were huge differences in how the German and UK laboratories did their work and they were certainly not acting as one team. One of the first things I wanted to do was to bring Sensei in to help me build a new team and turn R&D into a genuine Group resource.
Q: So how did the work actually go? What did you get from it and how did you find working with Sensei?
MG: Well, the work went extremely well. The main objective of getting Sensei in was to reset our purpose as a team. I wanted all my team to understand strategically what we were supposed to do in conducting R&D at Jeyes. Easier said than done! One of the first things I wanted to clarify was, are we doing the right R&D and are we doing the R&D right? One is a strategic statement and the other is about the efficiency of R&D. I knew that Sensei would be able to add value by getting my team to ‘down tools’ for a couple of days and develop a plan as to what we should be doing and how we should be doing R&D.
Q: And did they do that?
MG: Yes they did, very successfully. I believe the two day workshop we had with Sensei was incredibly successful. Even though what we did in essence was a departmental get‐together, with departmental objectives, it did actually end up having a much more multi‐functional impact. Other departments got to hear of R&D going away and doing this exercise and became curious as to the outcome and as a consequence a lot more people in Jeyes now understand that R&D is not just there to
develop products. We have various connections into other parts of the organization, which, if managed correctly will give rise to significant benefits for the business overall.
Q: So what did you think the business got out of it – over and above the R&D team?
MG: I believe that the business now has a more effective R&D unit. I also believe that the people who went through the Sensei workshop have had the time to reflect and think very carefully about not only what R&D should be doing in the organization, but also what role they should be playing as individuals within the R&D unit.
Q: So would you recommend Sensei to any of your business contacts and colleagues? And ‐ if so ‐ why?
MG: Yes, I certainly would recommend Sensei. I think they did an excellent job. In my opinion they are a very pragmatic organization and the Sensei Character is one of challenge and fun. I think Sensei have been incredibly successful in getting people to take a day or two out, think outside the box and do things differently.