Last week we hosted our annual Rainmaker conference. It's a day that brings together the Passle network to discuss how firms can attract, nurture and enable those people that drive exceptional growth.

We started the day with Helen Bevan, chief transformation officer for NHS Horizons group. Her role sees Helen constantly looking to drive innovation and change in the country’s largest organisation. Her experience is so relevant to other organisations and it was brilliant to hear about how leveraging informal “new power” structures over traditional structures can break down the barriers to change and enable faster influence over a group.

One of Helen’s most interesting observations for me was that people are very rarely directly opposed to a change itself. There are traditionalists in any group, but for the most part, they have an objection to the change process and the way innovation is introduced. After all, most people want to improve and do better.

Following Helen, we had the equally inspiring Katie Nagy de Nagybaczon, lawyer and partner at CMS. When people generally think of lawyers, their first thought is probably not diverse and inclusive organisations. That’s something that Katie and CMS are working to change.

The approach they are taking is an innovative one. Just a short time after a major three-way merger, the firm has chosen not just to adopt the diversity and inclusion policies of one firm, but the best of all three. Further even, they are looking to other firms in professional services and other industries for the best in class policies.

On top of the policy, there is a willingness at CMS for real action, whether that be working together to elect a board member or advocating internally for a particular partner candidate, the team have an eye on their core values and the other on a tangible action that will help make values a reality.

Our next speaker up arrived fresh from Cannes. Andy West, Group Chief Development Officer for Hotwire, followed Katie. As an expert in communications, Andy sees a changing world for brands and businesses. Brands are now owned more by their consumers and as a result, the values of those brands mean more than they ever have. 

Taking us through the concept of brand authenticity, Andy clearly showed us how decision-makers from B2B & B2C are making values an integral part of their purchasing process. He showed how marketing leaders need to respond to this by clearly identifying their values before engaging in this new, high stakes communications environment.

Last, but certainly not least. Ben Ryan, Olympic Gold medal winning Rugby 7’s coach (and I wager the only man with his face on a currency in the room) gave an absolutely enthralling presentation about his journey with the Fijian Rugby 7’s team.

There are so many takeaways to mention from Ben’s presentation. I could mention his advice on “up managing” your boss - even if they happen to be a military dictator. Or perhaps I should mention his take on values, where success is driven by a commitment to the team values and its actually all the small things that make the difference. 

The big takeaway personally I had from Ben was that to succeed you need a belief in each other and unshakeable confidence in the processes, philosophy, and people around you and yourself. As the players go out on the pitch, they need to know that they have done everything they need to be successful.

As Rainmaker closes for another year, I’d like to give my sincerest thanks to Helen, Katie, Andy, and Ben. Your insights and expertise are so valuable and we are very grateful you could share them with us. 

To all the Passle team that made the event happen, including a special mention for Harriet Kirk - thanks for making light work of a difficult event.

Thanks also to all the staff at both venues for your help.