My core experience includes nearly a decade served on the European leadership teams of two of the top three global accounts at EDS. Here I designed and implemented top to bottom changes to strategy, process, organisation, and culture, across three continents. I identified strategic business drivers and created plans to address them. I created risk-rated plans to cut costs of European delivery by 10%-30% and I ran business development workshops that regularly generated over 100 new service ideas, ranked the top 10-20, and created action plans to move the chosen priorities forward. I created business plans that converted 10% annual decline into 10% pa growth and I helped turn around a second pan-European account, beating sales targets by 70% through introducing new processes and tools.
My first job was as a systems analyst/programmer, building and running computer simulations of antisubmarine warfare. I’ve also worked as a strategy consultant, performing market studies, competitor analysis, and strategic profit improvement programmes (by understanding and quantifying fundamental cost generators). And I’ve co-founded an Internet startup, founded a Transition Town, and co-written a movie screenplay.
I’ve also faced challenges in my personal life. These have included divorce, bereavement, and cancer all of which had such a strong effect on me emotionally that I decided I needed to understand what was happening to me. I studied Carl Jung, Gregory Bateson, Will Schutz, Marshall Rosenberg among others. And, combined with the experiential learning of actually going through these experiences, I believe this has helped me to develop a level of emotional intelligence that is becoming increasingly useful in this time of unprecedented change. The clarity and and stability I now have provide me with motivation, focus, and the ability not to get distracted by the ‘crisis of the day’.
My second book, Inner Leadership, includes a selection of the best tools and techniques I picked up along the way — not only for emotional self-management but also for finding what most inspires us, and then finding more ways to put that into practice. This ultimately creates joy for us and competitive advantage for our organisations.
My first book, by contrast, was about integrating strategy and operations. It set out to define the minimum key activities needed to have a successful business. It ended by showing how to create self-reinforcing strategic competitive advantage.
So, the person who I am is (I think) an unusual combination of systems thinker, strategist, practical implementer, and ‘person with emotional intelligence’.
People say I “think differently.” But I like to think I simply see more of the whole picture than most people do. And in a time of change, the ability to think differently brings the ability to find new solutions and opportunities.
Or as some clients have put it:
“I find it difficult to put into words the alchemy Finn brought to my project.”
“If ever you have an intractable problem you’d like alchemised into pure solution, Finn Jackson is probably your man.”
I also have a degree in physics from Oxford University and an MBA with distinction from Imperial College, London.
I have three adult children, enjoy cooking, walking, and attempting to play the piano. I once performed standup comedy (reasonably well) and in 2017 I walked the Camino de Santiago in only 28 days, then continued to the coast walking a total of 1,000 km in 35 days. I want to do it again one day.