Phillip Ullmann, Chief Energiser, Cordant Group
Phillip Ullmann is the Chief Energiser of Cordant Group, the UK’s second largest recruitment and services firm with revenues of £840 million employing 125,000 people. Phillip has been responsible for driving the business forward since joining in 1996. This has been achieved through a series of acquisitions and organic growth but also by hiring highly talented people in key roles. As the original architect of the Social Enterprise at Cordant, it is now a vision owned just as much by the board and the senior management. Phillip has an Engineering degree from Cambridge University, an MBA from Brunel and is a qualified Chartered Accountant. He is married to Deborah and has four children and two grandchildren. He began his career at KPMG and Sainsburys’ and is a keen Arsenal supporter.
“Let us redefine our relationship to profit and value. At the highest level we are all stakeholders in the future of the planet and the future of humanity.”
The epiphany that caused the shift to transform Cordant into a social enterprise
Life is about meaning and purpose
“I have become a millennial elect.” “My body is baby boomer but my mind is millennial.”
Cordant Group has always been very philanthropic. Twenty percent at least has been given to philanthropy.
Moving from a philanthropic model to a social enterprise model.
The mission of the collective is to change the world.
The Giving Pledge. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates
Transition from shareholder commercial to a stakeholder environmental
Uncharted waters and the scale of the change is enormous
“I can’t change the world in five minutes.”
“Let My People Go Surfing” Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia
Five “near death of the business” experiences
Cap dividens for the family. Cap renumeration for the executives to twenty times the lowest paid. Introduce profit sharing
Starting to win sizeable contracts on the back of their mission now
Bucky Fuller quote…Don’t try to change the existing model, build a new model that makes the existing one obsolete.
“We have to redesign capitalism and liberal democracy to fit the new paradigm.”
“I’d like Cordant Group to become the model organisation.”
The British Academy is running a project “The Future of Corporations.”Professor Colin Mayer Said Business School
Emmanuel Macron in France, The purpose of the Corporation is to achieve a mission for the sake of the environment and society. The shareholder primacy is gone.
“Company with a Mission” (1) publish its social mission (2) measure impact against the mission (3) appoint an advisory board to hold the board to account but also to give the board the space it needs.
The move from contract to covenant. Two ways of building relationship.Contractual and covenant. Covenant treats each individual as a human being, not a transaction. Moving away from competition for my own sake towards collaboration for the common good.
If we start focusing on environment and the planet it is not a tweak here and there, but a complete redesign
Rather than redistribution (charity) it is predistributing
Self Managed teams. To build covenetual relationships you need to remove heirarchy.
“Hierarchy doesn’t give people the scope to innovate.”
“How we make decisions has to change.” This is a key for Phillip.
“The Advise Process” from Reinventing Organisations
“We have got to do this from the inside out.”
“You need both the right mind set and the right set of systems and structures.”
Stewardship. “We don’t own anything”
Finding time for reflection and contemplation is key
“Holding the space.”
Ray Dalio, Founding CEO of Bridgewater
Money and power need to make way for influence.
Influence is scalable. Like fire, light and love.
From fear and scarcity to trust and abundance.
Capitalism has no mechanism for distributing wealth