Colin Coulson-Thomas

Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas is an international authority on winning business, director, board and business development, corporate transformation and future organisation.....
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Developing Directors, Colin Coulson-Thomas
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Winning Companies; Winning People, Colin Coulson-Thomas
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IOD Convention 2007

Colin Coulson-Thomas

2006 Annual Conference of the IMC

Individual and corporate performance can be transformed by adapting winning behaviours

A management revolution is boosting the achievements of average performers according to Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, author of 'Winning Companies: Winning People'. In a Keynote Address to the 2006 Annual Conference of the Institute of Management Consultants in London he reported that "Pioneers are building critical success factors into key processes and helping people to adopt the approaches of high performers. Superstars simply do the right things in a winning way."

But what are the right things and winning ways? Coulson-Thomas' continuing research programme examines why some people and groups are so much more effective than others at undertaking equivalent tasks in similar circumstances? Areas examined include competitive bidding, building customer relationships, pricing, purchasing and creating and exploiting know-how.

The Lincoln Business School Professor explains: "We have identified critical success factors for important corporate activities. Because most of them are attitudinal and behavioural we have also distinguished the approaches of high performers or winners from those of low achieving losers." The findings are summarised in Coulson-Thomas' new book: 'Winning Companies: Winning People'*.

The winner-loser comparisons are intriguing. Coulson-Thomas reveals: "Companies that excel at certain activities usually perform badly at others. Were most companies to adopt winning ways in all the areas examined overall productivity would increase by leaps and bounds."

Companies are devoting large amounts of money and management time to activities and widely adopted fads that do not relate to critical success factors for competing and winning. Coulson-Thomas reports: "Almost every company contacted was found to be devoting considerable resources to initiatives that are likely to make little if any contribution to the achievement of desired outcomes."

According to Coulson-Thomas, "Many of the companies examined do not appear to be aware of either the critical success factors for certain activities or successful approaches to them. Most companies are also poor judges of their performance relative to others in the areas examined, and unaware of the reasons why they are not more successful."

Coulson-Thomas finds: "Most companies have not identified their superstars in key areas. They are also unaware of relatively simple and cost effective ways of enabling others to emulate the achievements of high performers. Our studies suggest a relatively small proportion of people excel at the activities examined, while there is a long tail of barely adequate performance. Yet the more able are often found to be engaged on similar tasks to those occupying less competent colleagues."

There are huge opportunities for improvement. Even high performers could do better. Coulson-Thomas reveals: "Competitive bidding superstars in the top quartile of achievement are only very effective at less than half of the critical success factors we have identified. Every company in the research programme could boost its overall performance by building more critical success factors into certain processes and adopting more winning approaches in areas of under achievement."

Many under achievers are not dissatisfied with their own performance because they are unaware of how to obtain better results. The findings are 'good news' for those who would like to raise their game. Critical success factors for important areas such as winning new and repeat business have been identified. Because most of them are attitudinal and behavioural they can be quickly adopted.

According to Coulson-Thomas, "Consultants should get their heads around the identified success factors and help companies to focus upon them. Winning behaviours should be introduced where required. More thinking and less mechanical approaches are needed. Demanding clients are resisting pressure to become dependents. Consultants must increasingly share their knowledge and work collaboratively if mutually beneficial partnerships are to be built and sustained."

Coulson-Thomas concludes: "Winning and losing approaches can be clearly distinguished. The former can be emulated and the latter avoided. Productivity and corporate performance can be transformed to deliver commercial success for organisations and both financial rewards and personal satisfaction for individuals."

'Winning Companies: Winning People, the differing approaches of winners and losers' by Colin Coulson-Thomas and published by Kingsham Press (ISBN 1-904235-58-1; Price 19.95 plus postage and packing).

Details of reports presenting critical success factors and winning ways identified by the Winning Companies: Winning People research programme and related bespoke benchmarking reports and workshops can be obtained from Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas via Dr Colin Coulson-Thomas, Professor of Direction and Leadership at Lincoln Business School has helped over 100 companies to improve performance, advised over 100 companies on business development and spoken at over 200 national, international and corporate events in 30 countries. Colin can be contacted via

Tel: +44 (0)1733 361 149 | Email: ku.oc.ilacsit@tcniloc