Our pride for how we help our clients all comes from the people within our team, who are united by a passion for seeing people thrive in a job and organisation they love whilst enabling tech businesses to grow and continue making the world a better place.
Individually, everyone is unique in their approach, expertise and experience. Our team series celebrates those differences, giving you a closer look at the humans behind the growth and success we’re able to offer to our clients and the tech start-up community.
And it’s official: Paul Marks is the rocket we’ve been searching for. From 15 years in talent management, executive coaching and Head of People roles to becoming the founder of Healthy Returns and a TedTalk about breaking the mental health stigma in entrepreneurship, it’s safe to say, we’re buzzing to have Paul on board to extend our services into the UK.
Let’s hear from the man himself –
What attracted you to join Think & Grow?
It excites me to be part of a team of awesome humans who partner with the world’s most ambitious businesses to support their growth globally.
Having worked for some of the most exciting tech companies like Airfinity, Synamedia and Finastra, and been supported by some great external partners, there is no other growth consultancy in the UK like Think & Grow with the track record to attract, develop and scale businesses in the fast-growth tech sector. So, I am super happy to now be working as part of the team.
What are your key areas of expertise at Think & Grow?
I have spent over 15 years in people strategy, talent advisory and executive hiring. In this time, I have supported fast-growth tech companies to build exceptional brands and teams across multiple locations, languages and cultures.
My area of expertise is partnering with the game-changers and pioneers of businesses to make them stronger, more agile, innovative and more able to accelerate growth. I work with leadership teams to build a people strategy designed to inspire and achieve company-wide alignment on goals that concern their most important asset: people.
We know that at the heart of any successful growth story is finding the superstars to join them on their journey, and I love to work with founders and business leaders to identify, develop and grow the game-changers for the right roles at the right time.
What is it about your role that you are most passionate about?
Think & Grow is dedicated to positively impacting and improving the resilience and toughness of the founders they support. This is a personal passion of mine, so with a focus on building a strong support system as their foundation, we empower founders to develop their businesses and their people through our powerful philosophy and impactful services.
I’m here to introduce founders to Think & Grow who want to perform optimally in their roles for the next phase of their growth, helping them identify and close the gaps in their business to gain clarity on leadership, team and strategy.
What are 3 challenges you see start-up and scale-up founders facing right now and how can they overcome them?
As founders, you get so caught up in your actions, tasks and team challenges and well-being that you forget to take a step back and look after yourself. It feels like one of the most prominent challenges will always be navigating the internal and external pressures and expectations.
One of the most powerful things you can do is proactively work on your well-being, rather than waiting for the time when it feels like you need help. Proactive care of your well-being will preserve your talents as a creator and innovator, helping you to optimise your performance as a leader. My advice is to get curious about mental health, the market trends and tech solutions available to you, as a founder right now.
Creating an awesome culture:
Essentially, company culture is a mirror of the actions and behaviours of the founder. A founder-inspired culture reflects their strengths, beliefs, values and personality. It’s the embodiment of their vision for the company and it represents why the company exists.
From day one, employees, customers, and business partners identify start-ups with their founders, who take great pride in their founder-cum-CEO status. So, as a founder, it's your job to lead by example. So when you start defining culture in an intentional way, first look at yourself. As a founder, it’s about getting back to your core “why” and remember why you started the business in the first place. Unlocking your vision and purpose for the company is the key to creating an intentional, founder-inspired culture.
Building a winning team:
At the heart of any successful start-up is finding awesome humans to join you on the journey and who complement you. Founders need to focus on the team (present and future) and it is crucial to hire the right people to help you reach your goals.
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen founders make around hiring is starting the process too late. There are always going to be items that you think you need to do right now - but recruiting is one you should not ignore! As a founder, you need to spend at least a few hours a week thinking about your people - where there are gaps, where there’s upskill / training potential, and where there’s misalignment.
What are the key factors that companies need to have in order to create a scalable culture?
To remain competitive in today’s hyper-competitive, complex and fast-changing environment, you need to be a highly agile and collaborative team, delivering sustainable value to your customers and stakeholders.
It is super important to get strong foundations in place to engage, inspire and energise your team as a strong leader. Truly living your company values and connecting your people to a purpose is how to do this, and create a culture that encourages innovation, collaboration and greater productivity.
Hiring the right people for your growth journey that are rewarded fairly and have the opportunity for personal and professional development is just as essential as having a great product or idea. At the end of the day, it’s great humans that make a sustainable and successful business!
What are a few hot topics that tech start-ups are talking about a lot in the UK market?
As the world takes global warming and emissions more seriously, clean energy technology will be a key focus, so as concerns about climate change and sustainability continue to grow, there may be opportunities for tech startups to develop new technologies and services in the renewable energy sector.
Sustainable technology is seen as a priority for investment over the next 12 months that are environmentally friendly and socially responsible. Businesses will need to increase or prioritise spending towards environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals next year, with much of that spending in reaction to environmental pressures, such as reducing emissions and meeting ESG goals.
As technology advances, so does the ability to bring innovations and solutions to the healthcare industry. With an aging population and rising healthcare costs, there is a growing need for innovative solutions that can improve healthcare delivery and outcomes. In 2023, we can expect to see more startups building products and services that leverage the power of technology like AI, blockchain and virtual reality to transform healthcare.
The good news is that despite political and economic uncertainty in 2023, technology investment is predicted to grow significantly, underlining a common belief that the world’s greatest innovations have been born in times of great economic and political stress.
How is the UK market evolving right now - what are you looking forward to in 2023 with what’s to come?
I am really looking forward to seeing how the metaverse evolves in 2023 as more businesses and forward-thinking leaders discover what is possible in this digital world to create hyper-realistic and immersive experiences, reimagining business models and the way we communicate in the digital world.
Aside from its power as a marketing tool (as we are already seeing with big brands like Gucci and Nike using it), the metaverse promises to provide platforms, tools, and entire virtual worlds where business can be done remotely, efficiently, and intelligently. So, I believe we are going to see it gain momentum and popularity this year in the corporate and enterprise spaces, through digital twins (virtual simulations of real-world products, processes, or operations that can be used to test and prototype new ideas in the safe environment of the digital domain) and training applications (through the use of AR/VR headsets employees will be able to undergo virtual training programs).
Work with Think & Grow to attract incredible talent, develop your business and people, and scale effectively locally or overseas.
Think & Grow empower founders, leaders and executives to develop their businesses and people to build legacies and play a key role in the future economy of work, with a strong track record of helping founders and business leaders scale globally - like Stripe, Dropbox, Square, Etsy, Peloton, GoCardless and Canva.
From Executive Search and Team Advisory to Health Check and Founder Alignment workshops, we’re on hand for a chat and a coffee about how we can help you and your fast-growth tech business power into its next growth phase.
If you’re in the UK, connect with firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our services here.