Jon Harding

Consultant

ABOUT JON

Why do teams matter to you?

From families to community groups to charities to SME’s and large corporations I’ve always been and continue to remain fascinated by teams and teaming.

I grew up playing representative rugby. I joined and led teams. In those teams, we quickly had to learn how to work with each other in pressured highly competitive circumstances. I experienced the joy of winning.

I transferred this experience to the world of work. As a team member, I’ve worked with appointed leaders who created dysfunction. In one case so much dysfunction that it led to a public enquiry. By contrast, I’ve experienced the joy of leaders who have brought people together to achieve and deliver extra-ordinary success.

For me, teams are the fundamental units of any organisation or community. Leadership teams, in particular, are critical as they interact and shape the direction and tone. My early research centred on the impact that leaders had on emotional climate, performance and results in healthcare.

From your experience what makes a team great?

At the beginning, I would have said great teams are all about assembling the most skilled players and practitioners. I now know that there is some truth in this but I’ve also seen ‘superstars’ wreck teams.

Today I’d have to say the key to creating great teams is humility. To be more specific, the humility that drives team members to continually ask the question ‘how could we do this better, what are the small improvements that we can make that will gives us our edge?’ These teams are continually learning and adapting their performance in the pursuit of a shared purpose and ambition.

Background

I grew up in Monmouthshire. Son of a miner and a teacher. I attended one of the very best state schools where I was challenged and supported to be the best I could be by teachers who truly cared about us as individuals.

I was heading for Loughborough to study sports science but fell short by one grade. Instead, I went to Cardiff University essentially to play rugby whilst continuing my interest in earth sciences, particularly Geology. After University I stumbled around trying to work out what fascinated and paid me.

I was recruited as Graduate HR trainee. I completed my Post Graduate Degree in Human Resource Management at the University of the West England before doing an MSc at the University of Bristol in Leadership Development and Social Responsibility.

I became a Deputy Director of Human Resources before joining Lane4 where I got to develop my understanding of elite performance and combine this with my love of team, leadership and organisational development. In this role, I led teams delivering programmes of work to multi-nationals and SME’s.

Over five the last years I have been the MD of my own consulting business that is solely focused on the creation of high performing leadership teams.

Most enjoyable career moments (in no particular order)

  • Winning a schoolboy international with the most perfect and complete rugby performance I’ve ever been part of, I can still remember every player’s name 35 years later.
  • Hearing from patients and staff about how an organisational development programme we co-designed had transformed both staff and the patient’s experiences of healthcare.
  • Seeing the joy on the faces of a team that went from bottom of their company league table to the top.
  • Leading a team that secured a multinational million pound account.
  • Seeing a failing operational team go from the most maligned to the most admired.

Qualifications

  • BSc Geology Cardiff University
  • Post Gradiate Diploma in Human Resource Management – UWE
  • MSc Leadership Development and Social Responsibility – Bris

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