J and K Confectionery
J+K are one of Marks and Spencer top suppliers of their range of chocolates, biscuits and sweets. I started working with this family business created by entrepreneur John Derbyshire back in Feb 2016 to support them to refine their innovation processes internally. J+K do not own their own factories so their USP is defined by their ideas and their relationships. Many companies talk about people being at the heart of their business but J+K are, without doubt, one that really means it and are one the most innovative companies I work alongside.
The engagement first started following a challenge from Marks and Spencer to all suppliers to adhere to their refined stage and gate process. Specifically M+S wanted more innovative ideas for their year round and seasonal lines, planned and tested much earlier, consistently executed on time. This required the team at J+K to take a look at both the steps of the innovation process, the rational aspects – what needed to be done, by whom and when in order to exceed the requirements set. And importantly, take a look at the emotional aspects: how the team worked together, played to their strengths and facilitate, day in day out, the level of dialogue and team work required to support category leading innovation.
What we did:
- Innovation process workshops: designed to establish the issues/challenges to overcome from both customer and team perspectives, create a unified vision for success, design a clear and simple RACI which mirrors Marks and Spencer stage and gate process, agree refined ways of working and structures that support greater communication across teams/functions.
- Facilitated Exec/Board bi monthly sessions: to drive alignment on vision, strategy and provide a space for reflection and communication between members of the Exec away from day to day operations.
- 360 feedback / 121 Exec Coaching: to drive great levels of self awareness and confidence, celebrate strengths and diversity of style brought by members of the team, strengthen relationships across/up the organisation.
“Nic Crisp has an incredible skill in clearing the waters. She is able to drive clarity, facilitate an exchange of views and deepen understanding of what is really important. The team has really benefited from knowing each others strengths, weaknesses and having more empathy for other team members needs. I think Nic has also really helped to bring out peoples strengths. Her approach of “accept who you are and build confidently on it” has breathed confidence and success into each team member and the team as a whole. Overall she is a superb mentor and coach and what an impact she has had on our company! I have been the MD of J&K Ltd for 14 years and held senior positions in major blue chip companies I really do wish I had the benefit of this style of coaching throughout my career.”
John Derbyshire, Managing Director
““I contacted Nic following a recommendation from a company in our industry who had benefited from sessions with Head and Heart Leadership previously. Honestly, I was a little apprehensive going into the process. I knew that we needed some sort of re-set but wasn’t sure how to approach it, or how we’d fit coaching sessions around our already heavy workloads. Immediately after meeting Nic I was reassured. Nic is highly perceptive and very quickly understood the team dynamic, and suggested a practical method to unify us in a relatively short space of time. It was absolutely time well spent.
To say we are a better team after working with Nic would be an understatement and doesn’t do Nic justice! Without exception, we all benefited from the sessions both at an individual level and together as a team. We’ve found our purpose and we are united. Nic gave us a set of tools ready in case of a setback, so we can come together and effectively work through any problems that may arise without losing sight of our overall vision. Whether it be our working environment, our relationships, or our focus on the future, we are just better at every level, all thanks to Nic’s fantastic coaching.”
Jayne White Head of Development