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Candidate Referral Incentives

We recognize that word of mouth and recommendations play an important part in our business. If you have any colleagues or friends that would like to speak about a new role or simply get some advice- we would love to hear from them. For every candidate referred to us for whom we secure a new permanent role, we will send you £250 of Amazon vouchers or we will make a charitable donation of £250 to the charity of your choice.

The small print:

1. We only pay incentives for referrals that lead directly to employment within 12 months of the referral.
2. If the referred candidate is already registered with BLT then the referral incentive is not payable.



BLT Executive Coaching

BLT Executive Coaching has really taken off over recent months and I have been working on a number of fascinating  and varied assignments.

To give you a flavour,  here are some recent case studies:

Case Study 1:   This individual  was returning to the UK after some years working overseas.  Concerned about changes in the UK Consultancy market in their absence, and finding an appropriate level position having had a number of years away, X was looking for help in overcoming these barriers and wanted to work on their personal impact and ‘brand’ in order to find an appropriate position at the correct level of seniority. Negotiating the UK employment market after some years away was fundamental to the project.  After 6 sessions, the objective was realised and X has achieved a senior role in a prestigious organisation.

Case Study 2:  A highly experienced and senior individual, this client was however unfulfilled in their current role and looking to move into a very specific area. Over 5 sessions, we  worked on confidence building, completely re-worked the clients CV and profile, we undertook practice interviews and worked on personal presentation and impact. As a consequence, the client was successful in achieving their career objectives.

Case Study 3: One of our Corporate clients has asked me to work with some of their ‘Rising Stars’ in the business, helping these individuals with issues that are key to their professional development; for example, building  confidence in client development, ’selling’ consultancy services,  building networks and  making an impact in the wider firm.  Executive Coaching is viewed as an effective and tailored approach to tackling these issues,  delivering  more impact than a generic training course. Each participant is given free rein to use time to suit their individual requirements.

Case Study 4:   I am working with an individual who has been promoted into a broader corporate role, having risen through the ranks of their organisation as an indirect tax specialist. This promotion has raised issues such as negotiating a new career path, long term career objectives, what other options might now be possibilities now that new horizons have unexpectedly opened out.  Over 4 sessions the objective is to work through the myriad possibilities and translate these into clear path that can be achieved over the coming year.

Case Study 5: This individual was returning to work after an extended  period of maternity leave.  We undertook 2 sessions, 1 in person and 1 on the phone, helping her to build her confidence and consider techniques in dealing with all the issues she was about to face. As she was joining a new employer, we also worked on making an impact and  ‘First 90 Days’ coaching.

These are but 5 examples, but hopefully give you a flavour of the range of work I am undertaking, and at a variety of levels. In addition, I have also done some pro-bono work with graduates looking to enter the workplace, and I am a mentor for the Aspire foundation, an organisation  dedicated to ‘Making a Difference’ to women working in not for profits, charities and social enterprises.

If you would like to have a confidential discussion about your particular circumstances, and how Coaching might help you, please contact Liz Watt on 020 7419 6416.plant

Looking ahead to 2017…

Have You Got News for Us?  Well we would never ask you to do something which we wouldn’t do ourselves – so here’s a quick poll of some of the team here at BLT on one of our survey questions this month…

If we were to sit down over a coffee at exactly this time next year, what would you like to say you achieved in 2017 – professional and personal? 



Tariq Siraj

Professional: Exploring some new areas sounds fun. There’s lots of branches off my core areas such as strategy and international development so no shortage of options.  Also, to get away from my desk more!

Personal: My wife and I have made a promise to have a bit more ‘child free’ time in 2017. I also want to break my personal half marathon record and try to watch Harlequins more.


Guy Barrand

Guy Barrand

Professional: It’s been great fun working on some key international VAT assignments in recent months, particularly in the run up to the proposed implementation of VAT in the Middle East in 2018. More please!

Personal: Tackle my ‘to do’ list: Fix leaking roof. Eat less cheese. Build shelves to accommodate ever increasing volume of books littering the floor. Go to Peru.



Catriona Cookson

Professional: I’d like to extend our presence in the in-house market in consulting across a range of areas and sectors. This has been a growing part of our business with plenty opportunity to increase our capability in this area.

Personal: I have 20+ years of clutter in my house which really needs to be cleared . A garden which feels like “outdoor housework” which could do with some TLC. Maybe I’ll be able to run more than 4 miles at the end of 2017  without needing to stop for a rest,  and I’m starting yoga again in January after a 20 year break !!!



Liz Watt

Professional: I have loved setting up BLT’s Executive Coaching division this year and so my ambition for 2017 is to fully embed this service line into BLT’s offering. I have lots of exciting ideas and initiatives I aim to implement over the course of the year

Personal : It would make me very happy if I had a new kitchen by this time next year! As a personal challenge, I also plan to undertake the Shine marathon in September 2017.



Andrew Goodfellow

Professional: I’d like to see how the contract and interim MC space evolves over the next 12 months. With the triggering of Article 50 it could create a whole new raft of complex issue that need a quick and flexible resource solution.

Personal: To get back on the driving range / golf course and improve my swing.



Emma Wade

Professional: It’s all about Customs at the moment and that’s set to continue in the light of Brexit and recent changes in the industry.  I’d like to be responsible for key strategic hires in the Customs market in 2017 and play an instrumental part in growing this niche area.

Personal: A new bathroom please.  And create more family memories.



Becky Blackwell

Professional: I’d like to keep up to date with social media trends, to ensure that BLT’s marketing reaches as wide an audience as possible.

Personal: To sell our flat and buy a house with a garden for BBQ’s

Brexit: A Cautionary Tale


We had some interesting results from the last ‘Have You Got News for Us?’ feature in November’s Snapshot. We asked your opinions on some Brexit related economy issues – and I think it’s fair to say you are not a wholly optimistic lot right now!

On Question 1 – In the wake of Brexit, how confident are you about the health of the British economy as a whole over the next 24 months? - from 5 options starting at ‘Highly Optimistic’ down, a full 100% of you responded as either ‘Somewhat’ or ‘Highly Pessimistic’.

Interestingly, those same respondents were very much more positive about their own sectors over that same period.  Two more ‘Yes-No’ questions focused on their confidence for their own industry and for their own current/latest employer and the results were an almost 50/50 split both times.

We dug a bit further with our fourth question: Which areas of the management consultancy market (if any) do you feel will benefit in the long term from Brexit?


We had a range of answers to this one with the most popular answer being ‘none at all’ – 20% of you offering a variant of that view.

It doesn’t get particularly more cheery from the next most popular answers; 15% specifically mentioned downsizing and cost-cutting whole another 15% mentioned operational transformations/improvements. We split the two in our results above – but in this context we could easily have put them together adding up to a third or respondents.

15% believed the regulatory market would see the most growth and 10% said risk – both understandable when considering the extra layers of checks and balances widely expected for the banking, insurance, housing, infrastructure, Forex, energy and travel markets among many others.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though; 5% of you believed all industries would benefit in the long term if Brexit was handled correctly – albeit with some tough times ahead in the short term.

We also had some very entertaining answers; on the ‘which areas will benefit?’ question, one respondent suggested “M&A and efficiency/downsizing”, but along with the cautionary note “…but probably in the same way as a doctor is busy during plague”.


In conclusion…it’s a bit inconclusive…

A recent YouGov poll suggests 68% of the public think we should move forward with leaving the EU – regardless of how they voted. Over half think the UK Government is doing a bad job of the negotiations but nearly 60% believe we will have successfully left the EU by 2020.

The numbers point towards a split British public on this; split between joy and anger at the initial result, split between positivity and frustration at how it’s being handled, and split between fear and optimism about the future.

Our own results offer a similar outlook and while our number of respondents is comparatively miniscule compared to YouGov, the razor-sharp pessimism about the short to mid-term economic outlook might just reflect the experienced professional segment more broadly.

20 Questions…

This edition of 20 Questions is with Karl Smith; CEO of Paradigm Interactions and an acknowledged leader in the field of Human Centred Design, User Experience and Usability. He has been honored with a Fellowship by the British Computer Society. He is also the Founder of several organizations including UCD UK Conferences and the Human Centered Design Society.


Karl Smith


What was your first job?

My first paid job was working in Sweeties while still at secondary school, measuring out the quarters and yes I was allowed to eat the sweets just not open anything boxed.


Who’s influenced your career most (and why)?

Leonardo da Vinci, because he was never satisfied with being one thing but wanted to discover the world around him and try and understand it. I think our business world is at last understanding that a wide experience is highly valuable, the T shaped person being the current terminology. For me Leonardo da Vinci did not just have a diverse experiences he could link them together to get a 360-degree view from any single starting point. A fascinating person in politics, science, invention, design, art, I wonder who he would invite to a party?


What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone?

Whatever people say it made sense in their head to them before they said it. If you can work out why before you respond you’ll have insights and abilities beyond your age or experience.


What’s the best/worst quality in a leader?

Fearless leaders are the best to work for. They understand what’s going on and why, they establish teams and are inclusive even when it’s not required. The worst kinds of leaders are those without any backbone. Leadership is not a title it’s a behaviour and true leadership is born from responding to and overcoming adversity, leading from the front and inspiring the troops to be better than they thought they could be.


What was the worst piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Don’t be concerned, it will all get resolved during the project”. It never is. Usually this is because the person setting up the project does not have a clear idea of how to achieve the outcomes required – if they are known – and does not understand business pragmatism.


What was your best meeting ever (and why)?

It was not a huge project but I gathered the requirements for The Roundhouse Trusts web presence over a 12-hour period. It was the presentation of the solution to them, there were a couple of other people from the consultancy side, the client agreed and signed off the solution during the meeting. It was one of the few occasions where there was no back and forth about minor details. The reason was I had accepted them as experts in their business and delivered a solution that met all the stakeholder requirements, without one ounce of personal preference, just commercial acumen. I synthesised their needs and dreams into an actionable solution and replayed the solution in their own words back to them.


What did you want to be as a child?

Happy. I was not career focused and I am inquisitive, willing to learn new perspectives and evolve my thinking. This is somewhat at odds with what I do in Management Consulting but thankfully I have augmented standard processes with the Human Centred Design framework of ISO 13407:1999 and ISO 9241-210 which are building blocks towards delivering exceptionally engaging experiences for everyone.


If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

I write a lot and am working on a couple of books, but if it was a profession I’d be a Barrister or a Judge; the Law is highly fluid and fascinates me. Legal matters are mainly procedural  by building case law and arguments to achieve a decision in favour of your clients through advocacy. I did once apply to be a Justice of the Peace because I can keep an open mind.


Tell us about a turning point in your career

There have been lots but I think the most profound happened at college; I was friends with a large group of Americans studying in London. All apart from two of them died on Pan Am flight 103 at Lockerbie. Of the two survivors, one was my best man when I married and we remain friends today. The experience crystallised a view of the world I still purvey today, “We have one chance to get it right, be the best you can and don’t intentionally limit or use others”


What was your worst mistake (and what did you learn)?

I worked for an insurance company on a change project. The mistake was not forcing my client to adhere to the agreed process of giving me a meeting agenda for every stakeholder meeting. If I had got this I would not have had a meeting with someone already angry that the project was being done without their approval, I would have organised the meeting differently. What I learned was to stick to the planned process as it provides checks, balances and risk management in unexpected and valuable ways.


What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Florida, I’ve been to many places around the world and 20 US states too, but Florida is both industrious and relaxed, the place makes a lot of sense to me.


What are you passionate about?

Delivering to a client’s needs not just responding to their request. It’s what people say about my consultancy; I really do consult not just carry out orders. I’m there to facilitate change and that will mean I discover opportunities and risks others miss. I expand the vision for my clients often without substantive costs because they usually already have the capability but just don’t know how to tap into their own people.


Who’s your business or personal hero/heroine?

My Father, he’s the best man I know. He always worked to give his children opportunity often setting aside personal ambition for us. There is no greater love than to lay down your life for another person. He was also the Queen’s optician, he met Louis Mountbatten and provided optical services to both film and TV stars like Sir Cliff Richard and Kenneth Williams.


What’s your favourite quote or motto?

“Around here we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney


What’s your greatest business achievement?

To still be going and loving what I do, I think this is because it’s not just about being paid, I do this work because it makes people’s lives better.


What’s your greatest personal achievement?

Completing the 2001 NYC Marathon bypassing the mass hysteria about Anthrax and travel at the time


What’s your favourite gadget?

My phone, sad I know but it’s true.


What would you choose as your last meal?

Bottle of Taittinger Grand Siecle

Bottle of Saint-emillion Grand Cru 1976

French Onion Soup from Mère Catherine in Zurich

Roquefort Souffle from La Garrigue in Edinburgh

Raviolifrom Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford

Wagyu Steak from The Metropolitan Grill in Shinjuku

Milk and Mandarin from The Temple Restaurant in Beijing

Three Cheeses & Three Dessert wines from The Cherwell Boathouse in Oxford

A glass of Frangelico


What’s your all-time favourite book (and why)?

Phule’s Company. It’s a mix of all the best things – military comedy, social change and advancement based on one simple thing; people are not what they appear to be they are a great deal more complex and amazing than you can see from the surface.


Which one person, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with?

Leonardo da Vinci, I’d just love to hear him talk or Louis Mountbatten for the same reason.


Karl Smith has business experience spanning 27 years at comparable levels in fields including defence, industry, construction, fashion, finance, banking, FMCG, property, publishing, healthcare, travel, policing, crown office, local and central government. Recent organisational design roles include launching Enterprise User Experience in Accenture and setting up Wipro Digital.

He has a wide experience in management consultancy and digital technology and has been honoured by the British Computer Society for his eminence in IT leadership over the last 15 years with a Fellowship.

He mainly focuses on customer experience engagement and management in both B2B and B2C sectors.  Karl is involved in defining new business concepts, strategies, requirements, governance (ISO/IEC 38500) and solutions that support businesses and organisation’s involved in transforming themselves to be adaptive and future proof themselves for market disruption.

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