Crelos September 2009 Newsletter

Crelos Newsletter

September 2009

Welcome to the Crelos regular update

In July Sir David Walker published his preliminary government commissioned report on corporate governance in UK banks and other financial services entities. A sentence in the report captured my attention and prompted me to write a response to Sir David: “The principal deficiencies in banks and other financial service institutions relate much more to patterns of behaviour than to organisation”.

The field of psychology has much to offer in this arena which should be good news for corporates and investors who can now use new knowledge from psychology to significantly enhance the predictability of business performance, better manage business risks as well as enhance people’s working lives.

The focus of Sir David’s report is the effective functioning of Boards and risk taking behaviour. Among his recommendations is the requirement for non-executives to spend considerably more time getting to know the business and its risks. My letter to Sir David indicated that this alone will be insufficient. In my opinion, Chairmen and their Boards will benefit from leveraging research and practical tools from psychology that improve the functioning of Boards. For example, by effectively managing ‘groupthink’, paying attention to optimum Board size and embedding evidence based selection and performance review processes.

The spotlight is currently on Banks and other financial institutions; however, in my experience they do not stand alone as being the only corporate institutions that suffer from leadership risk. The danger we face now is the denial that change is needed. This is where psychology can truly help.

If you would like to read our full response to Sir David Walker click here.

I’d welcome your comments so please do contact me

Ali Gill
CEO, Crelos

At A Glance...

What can we learn about risk and risk taking?

Costain’s Project Management Academy wins award

Events review

Do high performing women make good coaches?

Did you know?

Thinking Aloud

What can we learn about risk and risk taking?

Risk taking behaviours represent one of the most perplexing problems in the field of psychology.

The need for safety in business is fundamental, yet many studies have found that people who take financial risks in the workplace generally tend to be more successful in their jobs. The recent events in the financial world would seem to prove this wrong.

Are we now in danger of reverting to 19th Century mindset of treating people who take huge risks as if they are the mentally insane? What should organisations, and more specifically boards, do to encourage essential and positive risk-taking behaviours?

Read on

I’d welcome your comments so please do contact me at

Ali Gill
CEO, Crelos

Success Story

Costain’s Project Management Academy wins award

Resourcing high performance Project Managers represents a significant challenge for construction organisations like Costain that seek to deliver excellence. Finding such talent outside of the industry is tough and Costain decided to grow their own talent, designing and delivering their own Project Management Academy.

Working with Crelos, Costain successfully created the link between recruitment, assessment, development and business outcomes, enabling them to lead the way in Construction in driving up quality of delivery, customer satisfaction and engagement through talent management.

Click here to read the full case study

Crelos has helped a number of leading organisations develop ‘best in class’ academy models that differentiate their employees. To find out how Crelos could help your organisation transform itself through targeted and original learning and development, please contact us at or call us on 01491 845548.


WIC first annual Symposium on risk

On 21st July, Ali Gill was invited by Women in the City to be one of three panellists at their first Annual Symposium. The event which took place in central London was also broadcasted simultaneously to a participating audience in Chicago, USA.

The panel discussion, which was chaired by the Times’ personal Finance columnist Mrs Moneypenny, was dedicated to the management of risk. The topic was looked at from different perspectives and a very interesting debate ensued.

Here are some of the points that Ali made:

  • We must learn to distinguish fears from justified concerns
  • The psychology of individuals who participate in ‘perceived high risk sports and complex business’ should be separated from the norm on the basis of their ability to learn rather than their desire for sensation seeking
  • In a society where freedom of speech is a value we should regularly survey levels of paranoia as an indication of how well the press are doing at informing and educating versus confusing and paralysing
  • Not taking risks is associated with slow evolution and poor skill development, so women on no account must allow themselves to be categorised as non-risk taking

To find out more about the topic, please read our whitepaper, or, if you want to discuss any of the above, please email or phone 01491 845548.

Global Innovation in Construction Conference

Organised and hosted by the University of Loughborough, this event celebrates the contribution that academia and industry have jointly achieved through research and collaboration and explores how research and innovation transfer will continue to develop.

Costain and partner Crelos were invited to contribute to the industry day on 15th September and introduced the innovative Project Managers Academy approach used by Costain to differentiate themselves from the rest of the industry.

Managing the downturn

Crelos were invited by the ICAEW’s Corporate Finance Faculty to contribute to this year’s Management Forum on 22nd September. Ali Gill presented on ‘Executive coaching and the psychology of management - How to develop and perfect the management team’.

To receive a copy of the presentation, please email us at or phone 01491 845548.

Due diligence Masterclass

Crelos will be presenting on the subject of ‘management team due diligence’ on 2nd October as part of this EVCA course aimed at venture capitalists.

New research

Do high performing women make good coaches? Take part!

We believe that there is substantial benefit from high potential and high performing women being coached by other women who are in their own right successful, as well as fully trained and accredited coaches. To help female coaches succeed we would like to understand more about the attitudes of successful and high potential women toward selecting coaches.

This short survey takes five minutes to complete and is anonymous. Results will be communicated in the press and on the Crelos website.

So if you are a coach or receiving coaching, please take part, click here

Did you know?

… that, according to two new reports from Deloitte U.S, CEOs across the globe are getting more involved in talent management, job restructuring, and work practices.

  • Two-thirds of executives interviewed believe that their CEO is connecting more with employees around the globe, especially high-potential workers
  • Over a quarter of respondents said that they are employing innovative practices to retain and engage key talent, such as flexible working measures like telecommuting and reduced work weeks.
  • Over half (52%) of those involved in the research plan to restructure jobs to lower costs and increase efficiency.
  • Yet, despite operating in an environment where companies are continually rebalancing workforces, two-thirds (66%) of respondents said that workforce planning is not a part of their annual business planning.