Jeremy Holt

Founder & CEO

ABOUT JEREMY

Why do teams matter to you?

Some of the teams I’ve belonged to have been amazing, and others not; the contrast was stark and had a profound effect on how I felt and performed. Of course, organisations and leaders want to give everybody the best chance possible to experience being in an amazing team, but they just don’t know how. The work we do gives more people the chance to belong to a great team.

From your experience what makes a team great?

I used to think it was about getting the right personalities together and “bonding.” Now I know that isn’t it at all. Teams that develop strong shared beliefs about what makes them positively distinctive, become great. Surprisingly, with the right process it isn’t that difficult to do.

Background

I am a Chartered Occupational Psychologist with 24 years’ experience of consultancy and coaching, training. I got a First-Class Honours degree in Social Psychology from University of Kent and worked in London advertising agencies for seven years before taking an Occupational Psychology MSc at Cranfield in 1993. I founded the Centre for Team Excellence in 1999, having first worked in a small psychology consultancy.

Memorable career moments

  • GB Speedway Team, World Champions 2021. I joined the GB team in 2019 to build a team culture capable of winning the Speedway of Nations World Cup. There was a new management team and having won nothing since the 1980s, we set out to break the mould. From the start we took steps to develop a team of athletes with the mindset and standards needed to win at the highest-level, drawing on experiences in other sports and industries. In October 2021, way ahead of our schedule, Great Britain won the Speedway of Nations World Cup to become world champions for the first time in 32 years. Being an integral part of the team during the competition was a great experience and it couldn’t have ended better than the view of the cheering crowds from the podium.
  • GB Wheelchair Rugby team, Tokyo Paralympics Gold medal. Since 2017 I have work closely with David Warner from GBWR to help him build a strong team identity and performance culture. After Rio 2016 the team lost its funding so there was a mountain to climb to rebuild confidence, and make the significant changes needed to win a medal in Tokyo. Things looked positive in 2019 when for the first time we won a tournament against the best teams in the world, but the pandemic seemed to set us back. The story of how the team emerged to win gold and be voted the team of the games in Tokyo will be told one day, but not just yet!
  • Pandemic response with the NHS. On the day the Prime Minister announced the first COVID-19 lockdown I was in London with a client preparing for a European Leadership team offsite the next week. We instantly pivoted and ran a highly successful virtual offsite. I was fortunate to have had 10 years’ experience coaching global leadership teams, so I had a good idea about what to do. That expertise kept me busy as the pandemic unfolded and as well as my existing clients, I was really happy to be able support some NHS Trusts as they switched to virtual team working. In 2021 I worked with teams of senior doctors from Great Ormond Street, Guy’s & St Thomas’s and St George’s hospitals to help them build resilience collaboration and sustainability. It’s good to be able to contribute.
  • Royal Marines identity and culture report. We were commissioned by the Deputy Commandant of the Royal Marines to investigate its identity and culture and make recommendations about how it could be adapted to drive and maintain ethical standards in combat and training. The catalyst was the Sergeant Blackman case and other instances of ill-discipline. Researching the report gave me unfettered access and the opportunity see the inner working of this elite commando force. It is impossible not to be impressed by the way the history and traditions of the Royal Marines, and its sense of duty and purpose, have adapted to meet the demands of modern warfare.
  • Rugby, cricket and hockey. In 2015 I began working with elite sports teams; our approach is different and has had a demonstrable impact on performance. In the 2016 I worked with the Warwickshire County Cricket Club men’s team that won the Royal London One Day Cup Final at Lords with the biggest winning margin in tournament history. I was also invited to Twickenham to see the Royal Navy rugby team win the Inter Service Championship for the first time in six years, although unfortunately, I didn’t make it to Rio to see the GB Women’s hockey team win the Gold, but it was great to work with these winning teams.
  • Global pharma leadership development programme. I designed and ran a leadership programme for the Top 200 managers in a global pharma company that we delivered in Europe, the USA and Singapore. I like leadership development and have done it a lot over the years. The first leadership training I designed in 2002 for 80 Executive Directors of a venerable City Fund Managers taught me so much about how not develop leaders and what doesn’t work – everything since then has been an improvement!
  • 39 countries and counting. I love travel and working with people from different cultures. I’ve been lucky enough to have facilitated teams and leadership development in 39 countries across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia helping leaders and teams to improve performance. My favourite was a leadership development programme in Japan for 120 sales managers.
  • Defence Academy of the UK high performance teams training. Since 2007 I’ve run leadership programmes for Senior Officers for the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. This has included working with Admirals, Generals and Air Vice-Marshalls to develop their senior leadership teams across defence including for RAF No 1 Group, the Surgeon General, the Chaplain-General, Joint Helicopter Command, the UK Defence Academy, JSCSC and DE&S Ships Operating Centre in support of improved performance and organisational change. Most recently this work has extended to leaders from MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

Qualifications

  • MSc in Occupational Psychology from Cranfield University.
  • Chartered Occupational Psychologist.
  • NTL Practitioner Certificate in Organisational Development.
  • BPS Level A & B.