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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Psychology in Business | Helen Fisher

Helen Fisher

CEO and co-founder

Helen Fisher is a business psychologist who specialises in helping organisations become more effective through their people. Described as logical and analytical, an ingenious thinker and long-range planner, and good at anything that requires rapid reasoning, Helen is direct, results-oriented and thorough. She is passionate about researching new subjects that capture her interest. 

Over the last 30 years, she has led long-term, in-depth projects globally with various clients. She has worked in most significant industrial sectors and the public sector. All her interventions are tailor-made, and she has a track record of achieving measurable results.

Helen’s focus is to help clients improve their individual and collective performance. She has done this by:

  • Coaching and mentoring top team members, including two-star and one-star generals, CEOs from UK banks to digital start-ups, senior civil servants, senior partners of international law firms, presidents of European manufacturing businesses, and many more.
  • Devising and implementing national and global programmes on career guidance, change management, communication, cross-selling, customer focus, interpersonal skills, interview skills, management and leadership skills, personal effectiveness, team performance, and many more.
  • Developing people in the skills they need for their next role, helping them to succeed once they start and helping them with their own succession planning.

Helen has worked with over 80 client organisations in 20 countries around the world, including: Accenture, Allen & Overy, Audi, Bank of England, Barclays, European Central Bank, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, GSK, KPMG, Lloyd’s, Moody’s Analytics, Morgan Stanley, and many more. Helen is also a guest speaker on master’s programmes running at the University of Cambridge and University College London.

Flexibility And Streamlining

Her focus for the business and the team in 2019 was streamlining operations, becoming more efficient and moving to new ways of working. This meant empowering the team to work flexibly (including flexible hours and working from home), moving to a flexible serviced office set-up and outsourcing the IT and finance functions. All of this put the business in a good position when covid hit the following year. 

Helen uses her business psychology expertise to design and deliver content on any aspect of personal effectiveness, management or leadership. “Most of the work we do with clients is focused on helping them improve their leadership skills, not just for the needs of their organisation today but also for the changing needs of their organisation in the future,” she says. “Examples include encouraging leaders to hold career conversations with their people using a coaching approach, accelerating their team’s evolution, succession planning, rapport building, increasing their resilience, developing their personal brand, handling conflict, managing stakeholders effectively, or using metaphor to create stories that stick.”

Helping Employees And Organisations Gain More

One element of Helen’s work and that of the company is providing coaching to maternity returners – the best time to start this is before women go on maternity leave and provide coaching on re-entry to work afterward. “While organisations’ main concern is often that the woman won’t want to come back after her first maternity leave, in our experience, the most challenging return is after her second child – a tipping point that is often not anticipated by organisations or by the individuals concerned. Planning this effectively can make a real difference.”

According to the brilliant leader, for those looking to re-enter the workforce after a long time out, recruiters, as well as applicants, must recognize that relevant leadership experience is not limited to the obvious work roles. For example, any returner who has been chair of the board of governors of her local school for several years will be able to use that experience when setting up or running teams at work.

Female leaders need to remember that it is essential for the success of organisations that women go for leadership positions and then stay there. A recent Harvard Business Review study found that job satisfaction is 86% higher for employees who work for leaders rated as being both ‘wise’ and ‘compassionate’; female leaders are twice as likely as male leaders to be rated as having both these traits. 

Nicholson McBride Fisher was the first business psychology consultancy in Europe. Thirty years on, their aim remains to help organisations become more effective through their people. Research shows consistently that organisations that focus on developing and engaging their employees have lower absenteeism, fewer accidents, fewer errors, higher productivity and greater profitability. 

Designing & Delivering

Nicholson McBride Fisher’s people come from various backgrounds and hold a mix of psychology and business qualifications.

They have usually worked in the industry before joining, ensuring their effectiveness is second to none. They use business psychology and research to shape their involvement: what participants remember increases the more they do during the programmes. “People tend to remember very little of what we read or hear, but much more of what we say and do – development programmes designed to get participants rehearsing and practising the skills are much more effective than programmes which just broadcast information,” explains Helen. “It also helps if there is more than one element to any development – face-to-face training supported by webinars and peer coaching, for example, rather than just a one-hit approach. Finally, we ensure that all our work is tailored and developed specifically for that organisation or for that individual client. This means that it feels relevant to their day-to-day work and easier to put into practice.”

Nicholson McBride Fisher also works with clients to measure the success or effectiveness of their interventions at four levels: immediate satisfaction, degree of learning; impact on the action; and impact on the business. Examples might be participant satisfaction with a development programme, a coachee achieving a promotion, a leader improving their team’s engagement scores, or a team setting up a scheme to boost profitability.

As the company grows, Nicholson McBride Fisher is keen to make the most of potential partnerships and collaborations with complementary organisations. 

" Most of the work we do with clients is focused on helping them improve their leadership skills, not just for the needs of their organisation today but also for the changing needs of their organisation in the future "

Helen Fisher

CEO and co-founder

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