Name: Colin Lamb.

Age: 39.

What is your business called?

Connect Three.

Where is it based?

We have offices based in Glasgow and London, however deliver services face-to-face and virtually globally.

What does it produce, what services does it offer?

A range of services including organisational development (strategy, vision, purpose, structure), leadership and management development, executive coaching, workplace innovation, HR, Culture and Change.

To whom does it sell?

We work with organisations who are growing and changing and want to invest in their culture, leadership, and people. This includes high growth companies UK-wide and larger corporations across the world. Our clients include Sky, Scotrail, Merck, Border Biscuits, Cala Homes and Scottish Enterprise.

We’ve supported more than 800 businesses from across Scotland and farther afield in North America, Europe, and Asia, helping 10,000+ managers and leaders drive their business and people forward.

What is its turnover?

Circa £1 million.

How many employees?

We have 22 people in our team and run with a 40 per cent employee model. The remaining 60% are consultants.

When was it formed?


Why did you take the plunge?

I wanted to change the way people lead businesses. I saw a gap in the market to offer a dynamic, people centric and joined-up service to organisations; connecting the dots by improving business performance through people, building leadership capability and enabling others to create great places to work. I also wanted to bring my true self to work every day, and I wanted to help others do the same.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I worked internally as the Head of Learning & Development for a large hospitality group responsible for over 2,500 staff across 50 sites. I have worked in learning, development, and management roles for nearly 20 years.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

I was very lucky that I had a great boss who let me work a 12-month scaled down notice period with my days decreasing each month, so I was able to spend time setting up the business while still getting paid. I started with a loan of £700 from Business Gateway that I used to purchase my first laptop and printer. I also worked with another established consultancy part-time during the early stages.

What was your biggest break?

Being shortlisted two months after launching to deliver Scottish Enterprise’s flagship management development programme worth half a million pounds over four years. I was unsuccessful, however it opened so many doors for me and the business resulting in around 40% of our activity and revenue each year.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I love running our business and having a helicopter view across all areas, providing guidance and direction to our team to help us achieve our goals and vision.

I am proud to be able to take the giant leaps that help the company move forward. We recently made the decision to apply for B Corp certification, which we achieved. To have the ethical standards which are intrinsically in the culture of the company audited and verified to be of the highest standard is testament to our belief in living out our values and showing business can, and should, put people over profit.

I love that we’re using our business as a force for good, and that we are focused on driving positive change through how we work every day.

What do you least enjoy?

Doing repetitive tasks or anything that doesn’t add real value. - it’s incredible how many talented people are underutilised, spending their time doing work that doesn’t add value.

We work with some public sector organisations and the paperwork is enough to put anyone off.

Far too many businesses do things as they’ve always been done, just because that’s how they’ve always been done. Employees and customers deserve better.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

We have ambitions to double in size (turnover) and increase our global reach working with existing and new clients. A growing team and a shift to more remote delivery will allow us to help even more people, in even more places.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

In a nutshell, more joined up operation, especially when it comes to business support, skills and enabling business growth.

Both governments should be providing more support to enable flexible working within businesses and piloting support initiatives such as four-day working weeks which have worked well in other countries to increase productivity.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

Never assume. I use this mantra daily with my team and with clients. We are programmed as human beings to try and follow patterns to make sense of the world in our own minds. This causes us to become lazy and make assumptions based on previous experience or how we have interpreted data or a situation. I now always put my detective hat on and dial up my curiosity to ensure I have all the data and clarity required to make informed decisions.

How do you relax?

I am not really a relaxed kind of person. I am naturally restless, and this probably won’t change. I have a yearning each day to get up and make a difference. However, we all do need downtime and mechanisms to switch off from the world to reset. I often try and recreate my days at art school and paint spontaneous canvasses, where I get lost down the rabbit hole while listening to music. I am a natural dreamer with an overactive imagination so plonk me in front of a window and I will find a story in the landscape.