Who We Are
We are a principles-led business
Many companies claim to be principles-led, and I am sure that most of them believe they are, but the truth is that for Oakwood putting principles at the centre of our business requires more than choosing some desirable characteristics and putting them on our website.
At Oakwood, we believe that three things have to be present for us to truly be principles-led; we need principles that define who we are and which differentiate us; we need to understand what those principles look like in practise and hold each other accountable for behaving that way; and we need to recruit people who naturally exhibit more of those principles and values.
Our principles are being Simple, Transparent and Effective and they govern everything we do. These collective principles define how we do work for our clients and differentiate us from our competition. We challenge everything we do to ensure that it meets those standards.
A Different Kind of Management Consultancy
Our experiences over the years have shown that there is a fundamental need for a different kind of management consultancy in the UK. One that prefers long-term sustainable growth over instant results; one which prioritises enduring client relationships over maximising profit, and which focuses on strengthening the eco-system of a business. We achieve this via three guiding principles, which are at the heart of everything we say and do: simplicity; transparency; effectiveness.
These principles define who are and what we do; they hold us accountable, differentiate us and drive our decision-making and practice. We constantly challenge ourselves to ensure we meet those standards.
It doesn't mean easy, but that we're accessible, clear and efficient.
We use simple language
The most effective change comes when everyone understands what’s required of them and why. We use Plain English to ensure that everything we say and write is accessible to all.
We create a simple view
We break complex information and projects into bite-sized, easy-to-understand pieces to ensure ease of understanding across teams and at every level of the business.
We use simple processes
We operate as simply as possible, to provide simple solutions, using your time and money efficiently.
We don’t hide our brilliance; we share everything with our trusted clients.
We are transparent on pricing
We will tell you our costs for your project and be clear about how our prices compare to our competitors. You will be in control.
We communicate transparently
We will be clear on progress, the information we hold on you and what we do with that. We will ask for and take great value in your feedback.
We manage projects transparently
Every project we undertake belongs to the client. This means you will receive all the up-to-date details of our design, planning and implementation for use as you see fit.
We’re not satisfied until our clients receive all the benefits they wanted.
It's not over until you're happy
We don’t just focus on outputs but outcomes. We measure our success on the benefits achieved for you.
We seek to make ongoing improvements
We share lessons learned and continually improve our own processes to ensure we are as effective as we can be.
We share in your ambition
We want your success. We will strengthen your teams via training in skills and competencies and we will share any new business opportunities that we find.
At Oakwood, we feel incredibly lucky to be paid for doing what we love: making a positive difference to our clients. We also love to make a positive difference to other areas of society, which we do via three different charitable initiatives.
Oakwood enjoys corporate membership of the Woodland Trust. We are proud to be a Hazel member in this year and we are committed to upgrading the level of our corporate membership as our company grows.
We provide heavily-subsidised services to registered charities allowing them to access high-quality change and transformation business solutions that would otherwise be unaffordable.
Each year, we partner with a charity, supporting them with fundraising activities throughout the year. These range from small monthly events to large sponsored challenges entered by some of our internal team.
We invite you to help us maximise our impact by getting involved, introducing us to charities who would like our help, and supporting us with our fundraising.
The Oakwood Philosophy
Oakwood’s philosophy is inspired by the oak tree and its ecosystem, which supports thousands of invertebrates, birds and small mammals, whether providing a permanent home or a temporary shelter.
The same is true of a business. It should support those who work there and contribute to its own ecosystem of staff, suppliers and customers, who are all interconnected and interdependent.
The effects of change on a business and its ecosystem can be immense. At Oakwood, we work very hard to ensure that any anxiety and stress are minimised through excellent engagement, mindfulness and commitment. We believe strongly in building individuals’ capabilities through training and coaching, so they can find and sustain their place in the ecosystem
I founded Oakwood because I believe that there is a fundamental need for a different kind of management consultancy in the UK. One that prioritises long-term sustainable growth over instant results, and enduring client relationships over maximising profit. Oakwood is that company, and by providing real solutions to business problems , we want to overturn all the negative perceptions there are about the limited value that people expect management consultancies to provide.
I know what it’s like to work with management consultancies having spent more than 17 years leading multi-million-pound procurement and transformational change programmes at some of the UK’s biggest companies.
Some management consultancies like to try and fit you into their model, and it doesn’t matter if you fit that model or not, they’re still going to squeeze you into it. I’ve seen what happens when a company experiences consultancy creep – one day you’ve got one consultant working for you, the next there are 50. I share how frustrating it is when you’re pitched to by the most senior partners in the team and then once you’ve signed on the dotted line, they provide you with inexperienced juniors and graduates.
At Oakwood, we don’t do any of that.
Starting Oakwood was for me like planting an acorn and hoping it grows into an ancient oak tree. I hope it will outlast my life. I want it to grow and develop in response to changing conditions and that every generation of its leaders can take it forward. I therefore view myself as a steward rather than the owner, something that influences my decision-making: unlike most modern businesses, which are focussed on monthly, quarterly or annual results, I prioritise Oakwood’s long-term survival and prosperity over quick wins.
About Emma Shenton
I am an experienced transformation programme director who has directed organisational design, process development, performance improvement, service redesign, digital transformation and supply chain optimisation programmes and has successfully directed global portfolios. I have worked across the engineering, construction, defence, aviation, healthcare and water industries, as well as most recently working with local government clients.
When I am not running Oakwood...
I love swimming, sailing and scuba (anything with water I am there!)
I play my French Horn in concert bands and orchestras, (and sing when no-ones listening!)
I am a competitive tennis player (but I would compete at anything… tiddlywinks maybe?)
I love spending time in the garden and with my friends and family
What People Say About Working With Emma
“Emma is someone who you can give a difficult complex task and she delivers a great outcome! Great personality with a 'can do' attitude linked with a thorough knowledge of what best practice looks like. A pleasure to work with!”
Tracey, Thomas Cook
“Emma has the rare knack of really getting your support and respect whilst being truly likeable and fun to be around. I loved working with Emma and would highly recommend her to anyone.”
“Emma is focused, caring and detail-oriented with her support for the members of the programme and project teams. She creates a welcoming and supportive environment for others.”
The Transformation Team
At Oakwood we have deep experience in many different aspects of change and transformation. These are the six Change Maker Personalities that represent the expertise we most often use with different clients.
The Turnaround Master
Is your programme derailing? This coach’s impartial eyes are focused on a step-by-step return to the right direction.
The Global Guru
Need a change around the world? From cultural complexities to complicated business time zones, there is nothing like first-hand international experience.
The Workforce Guardian
Without the people, there is no true change. This coach encourages communication, engagement and integration to bring sustainable success.
The Cultural Mastermind
Need to change established ways of behaving? From role models to habit building this coach knows all the steps to cultural success.
The Customer Journeyman
Be the customer; Be the product or service. Fixing your customers experience changes everything for your company.
The Process Cartographer
Mapping your future process helps you to keep focus on the practical future. This about doing the hard work to make other people's jobs easier.