View from the Top: Nick Kennell, Moorhouse

Nick Kennell is a Principal and Head of Public Sector at transformation consultancy, Moorhouse. With Moorhouse since 2009, Nick previously worked in PA Consulting Group’s Government Practice. His primary expertise is in helping organisations turn their strategy into action and helping them to establish the right priorities to deliver long-term success.
What was your first job?

Economics teacher

How did you become a consultant?

I was studying for my Masters in Social Policy and looking for jobs that would give me experience of policy implementation and help me better understand how departments go about delivering challenging transformations. Consulting offered a great opportunity to get this experience across a range of policy contexts whilst working on some of the most complex programmes.


Tell us about a turning point in your career.

I think each individual engagement is a mini-turning point and you can make of it what you will. Certainly much of the work I did in health regulation was great as it helped me to understand one of the most complex and critical sectors in the UK economy, but every project has helped me learn and evolve in different ways.


Why did you choose to work for Moorhouse?

Moorhouse is a great team! We are all focused on doing the right things for our clients and doing right by our clients. As a result we are able to build trusted relationships that enable us to learn with our clients and generate new insights that genuinely change how we think about transformation. For example, our Barometer on Change survey conducted earlier this year generated a number of really challenging conclusions around how organisations should respond to the world they face. It is this forward thinking and openness to learning new things with our clients that really appealed.


What is your greatest business achievement?

I have been privileged enough to work in great teams who have collectively achieved some really challenging objectives. However I think it is important to view each new project and each challenge on its own merits and not dwell on past glories. In that sense the best achievement will be the next one.


What do you demand in your colleagues?

I think teams work best when people are open and honest and view the challenge as a collective objective, rather than a personal one, in which everyone is empowered to contribute. The more honest we all are with one another about what we are doing, what (if anything) we are struggling with and what we can do about it, the better we will be. Starting from a mindset of, “these are my standards and this is what I demand” is the last way to go about empowering people.


If your 20-year old self could see you now, what would he/she think?

I think he would be a bit shocked at what the reality of trying to implement policy change actually looks like.


What’s the first thing you do when you sit at your desk in the morning?

I write out my two or three key priorities for the day and the week. I find that helps me to then make the right priority calls through the morning.


Which website do you check the most?

The Guardian Politics blogs.


What upcoming projects are Moorhouse focusing on?

Building on the findings from the Barometer on Change we are working with a number of public and private sector organisations to help them understand how they can go about delivering some pretty challenging strategies, balancing the needs of business as usual, with the long-term need to transform. One sector where there this challenge is particularly relevant is health, which has undergone a huge statutory upheaval in the last few years, and yet faces ever-increasing operational pressures. Because of this we are undertaking research into the complex change challenges facing the health sector, the findings of which we hope will help shape a clearer vision for success.


What tips do you have for people climbing up the consultancy career ladder?

If you try and climb over others to get to the top, they will do likewise. If you help others to climb, they will help you. The choice is down to the individual as to whether they want to put their energy into being supportive, or being destructive.


Tell us something about Moorhouse that we don’t know…

We have a quarterly away day (“Escape”) in which the whole firm takes a day off-site together to share perspectives and plan our future direction. It is incredibly empowering to involve the entire firm in these and a real change from other organisations I have seen or worked in