Client Stories
Pan Macmillan

To succeed in publishing, you don’t have to do things by the book

We love to work with clients who are passionate and care deeply about what they do and where all of us have the opportunity to be involved.  Pan Macmillan is such a client.  A book publisher with real vision and a very special culture. We have worked together since 2013.  In 2015 Pan Macmillan won Publisher of the Year for the first time in their history, and won again in 2017. A fantastic achievement.

Our first introduction to the company was with the MD Anthony Forbes Watson, who had heard of our work and wanted to explore how a successful business could flourish yet further by unleashing more of the potential of the Executive as individuals and as a team.  

‘Fantastic collaborative partners, who bring intelligence, empathy and challenge’.

What kind of partnership do we have?

A true partnership has developed, with trust, respect and a healthy degree of challenge on both sides, as well as laughter (and tears).  

How does The Alliance contribute?

The starting point and key thread running through all our work is understanding the business context and what the business is trying to achieve, and keeping that fresh through regular dialogue with the MD and Head of HR. Using a coaching led approach, we sought to enable the leadership to build on their unique strengths, do their best thinking, and be resourceful and resilient in pursuit of business growth while nurturing a rewarding place to work.

What have we done so far?

  • Workshops with the whole Executive team (eg leadership and effective teams; improving listening skills; having difficult conversations)
  • Gathered feedback from the next tier of 30 leaders on the Executive and using that feedback to enable the Executive to identify actions to improve leadership effectiveness.
  • Individual coaching with each Executive team member involving all The Alliance Partners including 360° feedback, and psychometric feedback.  
  • 1:1 coaching to the next tier of leadership mirroring the pattern of coaching of the Executive. 
  • Resilience workshops for around 40 members of the leadership group.
  • Regularly reviewing our work as a group and sharing the themes that emerge with the MD / Head of HR and mutually continuously looking at ways to leverage the best impact for the business. Benefitting from the learning from the evaluation process of our work led by the Head of HR.  
  • Creating connections to other clients where there are mutual learning opportunities be they developmental or commercial (e.g. introducing a Drama team in a TV company to the Publishing team; the Director of Operations and The Head of Marketing and Communications of an asset management company exchanging ideas and experiences)

What did the clients say?

‘We started working with the Alliance in 2013. During this time they have delivered a coaching programme to our Executive team and senior managers across the business. The coaching programme comprised a 360 process, using psychometric tools and a series of one to one coaching sessions. The key objective being to maximise the potential of this group both as individuals and as a team.

We have immensely enjoyed working with The Alliance. They have been fantastic collaborative partners bringing intelligence, empathy, challenge to all those they have worked with. The feedback from our senior leaders has been overwhelmingly positive.

What really defines the Alliance for me is that they really have taken time to understand the unique culture of Pan Macmillan and to ensure that the coaching is aligned not just with our business objectives but also with the values of our company.’

Rina Gulrajani, Head of HR