Welcoming Tony Nicholls, Mayvin’s new Principal Consultant

Mayvin is delighted to announce that Tony Nicholls is joining the team as Principal Consultant. Tony Nicholls brings a wealth of experience from working within organisations in senior HR roles, notably in the corporate sector, as well as ten years as an independent consultant.

Here, Tony Nicholls and Mayvin Director James Traeger share their thoughts on the new role.

Tony Nicholls writes:

Excited, humbled and relieved; that’s how I would describe my feelings right now.

I’m excited because this is a new adventure, full of possibility, out-of-the-comfort-zone stretch and with the promise of personal and professional growth.

My humility comes as I consider the existing team of Directors and Associate Consultants at Mayvin. I believe them to be amongst the very best in the field. To be asked to join them, in a role that is central to their plans to grow their business, is indeed an honour.

Finally, I feel relief. I’ve been searching for a new home for some time now and I know that I give my best when working as part of a team. I need to be surrounded by people who will challenge me, offer support and grow with me. I am also at my best when given the freedom to be creative and, above all else, to be myself.

Together with these needs, I wanted to find an OD consultancy that was true to what I consider to be ‘real’ OD. This means not pinning their offering on a non-existent silver bullet. It also means not suggesting that OD is a linear, problem-solving methodology when faced with non-linear, complex organisations. These true OD consultancies are, sadly, very rare.

So, you can image my relief when Mayvin advertised their plans to expand. Here was my chance to secure the role I had been searching for, in a consultancy that did my kind of work.

Revisiting the original advertisement for the role, I am struck by how closely the Directors have stuck to their brief in bringing me on board. I certainly have a track record in Organisation Development and Design. I first developed a passion for exploring, shaping and improving the health of organisations nearly 30 years ago.

My values and approach to helping clients are aligned well with the existing team at Mayvin. My comments above on the need to stay open to, and work with, the realities of organisational life and the complexities it brings, are testament to this.

I also bring difference and, having gone through genuinely challenging and deep, exploratory conversations with Tony Fraser, Martin Saville, James Traeger and Sarah Fraser, we all believe I bring some fresh perspectives.

These perspectives come from a background that has seen me design supersonic aircraft, sell life insurance, manage multi-site, all-female teams, blag my way into a training manager role and end up as HR Director for a rapidly growing business with an award-winning people strategy. There is a lot of commercial and corporate stuff in there too, with periods working for owner-managed businesses and, of late, with schools and other public sector organisations.

My wife Jane reviews my C.V. with some incredulity. Focusing in one sector, Jane has built an extremely successful career in Education, first as a Biology teacher and now as Senior Lecturer with Manchester Metropolitan University. She once referred to me as Dr Who on the basis I have ‘regenerated’ myself so many times.

And so it continues. A fresh start, a new regeneration as Principal Consultant with Mayvin. Offer made and accepted, now for the real work to begin. This is where the excitement bubbles to the surface once again. What a fabulous feeling that is.”


James Traeger, Mayvin Director adds:

“It is striking how one’s inside is often at odds with one’s outside. In one of our development programmes, the ‘Here and Now Group’, we often find the biggest revelations for people happen when they get feedback about how they show up in someone else’s experience and how different that is to their impression of themselves. It often results in a profound recalibration.

When I read Tony Nicholl’s thoughts above, I was surprised by the impressions he had already made of us. Flattered even. I know that we will learn much from this new view of how we land in his world. And, of course, how he lands in ours.

This is precisely why we wanted to bring someone new in. Yes, there were other reasons of course, our business is expanding and we wanted to grow. We have an excellent team of associates already on board, some of the best practitioners in the field of learning and OD. If we just wanted to grow in the traditional way, we could straightforwardly add to their numbers and portfolios. Bringing someone new in to the core of the business is a more exciting, challenging prospect. More risky perhaps but also, we hope and expect, more usefully disruptive of our thinking and our practice. And not just any old someone. Someone like Tony, who clearly offers considerable experience, skill and also of difference.

Difference is in itself an important component of our model of change. Tony Nicholls brings a difference of experience, background, story and ways of thinking. We are thrilled and delighted to be bringing Tony in and working together to see what the new Mayvin will become.

Over the last eight years, we have become much clearer about who we are. Now we are open to becoming something different. In this way, we aim to embrace uncertainty. Together with our clients, we trust that we can build something even better.”

If you would like to find out more about Tony Nicholl’s experience, you can read his bio.