– Our Story – Superman vs. Harnessing the latent power of your team to drive transformation

A new client asked us what the difference is between our approach and that of other turnaround / performance transformation solutions. The answer is that there are many differences… so here is the last 12 years summary explained into a few words…

The common underlying assumption is that all businesses have an untapped pot of gold (their people and they are underselling what they do) through which we have found ways to deliver breakthrough value on day 1 at least cost.

Which statement resonates with you most? 1. People have an infinite capability or 2. People have a finite capability

The reality of delivering incremental value in the workplace today is increasing difficult: because the hidden challenge for us is this:

“When most of our responses as leaders are cast in stone before the age of 7 – How will we realise the benefit of improving our responses?

The story and underlying evolution of

In 2006 we developed an alliance with John Webster of CEOGB who shared some co

aching sessions with me delivered by some of the worlds best executive coaches. We took the best and applied these different executive coaching techniques at Huntleigh Healthcare whilst heading up a major acquisition / business transformation when they faced a post-acquisition challenge they could not cope with.

From our award-winning work at Huntleigh Healthcare we identified that it was emotional intelligence or thinking that enabled the best functional experts to transform their effectiveness. So the icebreaker executive team and business was born.

Investing in and developing our capability

In 2006 we launched a program comprised of learnings taken from a MSc executive development program and from our experience of coaching 200 FTSE execs. We trained 46 of the best interim operations execs / CEOs to take this forward. This led to the formation of icebreaker executive which harnesses and develops this capability, tag line “deliver results, transfer skills leave a legacy” with a focus on return on CASH investment and client written case studies. gives you specific knowledge encompassing how to improve your business from within and includes chapters that give vital knowledge and information that people often overlook or would otherwise go unnoticed.

When is presented, it is only then that you realise just exactly what is occurring and more to the point what is missing in your business”

What experience has honed our thinking?

From 2006 – 2018, we have delivered more than 200 company performance turnarounds in distressed, flat or award winning businesses. We have accumulated over 130 years of applying and refining this approach. As CEO of icebreaker, I personally have led 30 of these assignments and overseen many of the rest. is like a generic business plan, it’s not about increasing profits and achieving customer targets, if you put all these building blocks in place, then that’s your business plan for growing a solid business and solid business structure “

Superman evolves into proprietary superman

It’s very difficult to ascertain how good a leader’s integrity is until they face a really tough challenge. The common response to this is for the executives to start looking after themselves and so through this action, both the business and its future success often become compromised. We evaluate team capability off piste and use very complex, fast moving scenarios to test each employees criteria, so that when on assignment, we can tailor specifically to the correct needs of the business. Even then, we have had to pick up the pieces from well known professionals and in a few situations have had to replace people who went native or compromised the solution.

 “ is not about telling people what to do, however it does enable them to actually think for themselves leading on to their own self realisation being accomplished.”


We intentionally select specific people from our sector, to bring best practice through their experience to achieve breakthrough profit change and performance results. are a team who through a single member in the background, cluster our experience together, to scope work and deliver work seamlessly to the client. Through a single point of contact, we engage another team member to carry out a short specialist piece of work which is normally completed within a two to ten-day duration. We also have a proven network of professionals that we call on at no extra cost, to test the legal or check strategy vs insolvency or funding options as required.

“Its about using creative thinking through every stage of the business and utilising this to harness growth and deliver successful and long term turnaround results.” At our strategy day, we challenged people as to whether they were able to think differently – probably not.”


Oversight and robust governance

There is central oversight and governance and a 26 page legal team agreement to make sure that the businesses interests are put before interests. The devil is in the detail in tough scenarios, this structure enables us to as best as we can put the client’s business first.

Cost and Return on investment

Typical interim management transactional cost £50,000 – £100,000. The cash return on investment for 30 of these case studies has been 45x

The engagement challenge even though we developed an exceptional capability: leadership have a low awareness of the opportunity, don’t see the issues, lots of fear of failure preventing them taking action, engagement is disruptive, the cost is relatively significant, and they can’t cope anyway so it requires real courage to ask for help.

Benefits – such as immediate results where we have got businesses back to profit in 2 weeks from a situation where the business was haemorrhaging £400k / m and the funders had lost patience.

Awards are a nightmare? Being voted the best is not good enough and in fact a real problem

We have won awards since 2002, since then we have won 8 awards completely unsolicited by us. I do not search out awards – they create complacency in me and everyone in a business: an antonym to success.

Why reduce the cost by 100x and increase the winning thinking benefit?

The challenge for businesses is becoming exponential the rate of innovation has gone through the roof and most of human history has been boring:

The benefit has been for too few companies, and there is a real sense of urgency to stay ahead and protect people from themselves in very uncertain times. We malfunction badly with uncertainty. (more in

So we have taken 6 months out to develop, condensing the above experience into 35 minutes in total: 12 three minute video online chapters to enable business owners to achieve the results themselves with far less cost and a higher and probably more robust return. This breakthrough content is available now at £1000. provides the opportunity to continually drive improvement inside out

 is far more effective and efficient means to developing effective teams…

An effective team and team structure gives a team the tools to deliver and adjust the sub teams to suit the task as the challenge evolves… enables business leaders and teams to achieve

  • Self-realisation – complete ownership

  • Seamless driven internally – minimal external input

  • Lower cost of engagement – overcomes fear / risk of the unknown

  • Less fear of admission of failure: really tough challenge

  • Eureka – early intervention

  • You can complete the program yourself without telling anyone!


Why is leadership development so abused and such a dull subject?

Because there is a diminishing consistency in a leadership approach and the discussion and content has been focused on platitudes, but no-one has addressed the issue of how, and or how incredibly difficult it is to change behaviours. Many statements of the leadership sound plausible but are flawed (you will learn this for yourself from the content). The thought is that because leaders are not seen to make mistakes, they must be more credible. Platitudes however can be reassuring and create certainty and do get a following: it’s a human flaw!






Superman vs using the team to transform the business inside out

The downside of superman / superwoman is that they judge themselves on how good they are at their job. Therefore, when things go wrong, any external “support” and overt discussions about this are seen as threatening to the leadership. In addition, very few leaders have the courage or integrity to ask for help even when they know they need the support. delivering results on day 1? – these are the breakthroughs in 1.5 hours

Last week we ran an hour and a half long winningthinking session with a fast growth business leadership team – the participants created 4 breakthroughs for themselves each of which reduced their workload. This is what the participants said… is like a generic business plan, it’s not about increasing profits and achieving customer targets, if you put all these building blocks in place then that’s your business plan for growing a solid business and solid business structure.”

“I’d like to watch the implementing improvement chapter every morning, its dead simple, really quick, short snappy and takes you onto different patterns of thinking.

That’s where growth comes from and if you do all those things right,you will have a happy creative business that will naturally grow into a good culture where people feel supported in their environment.”

  “None of the chapters were half an hour of droning, when you go to a conference about improvement after 10 minutes you have drifted off and think I have not taken anything from that whereas the longest video which was the implementation chapter was only 4 minutes long because it was so concise and there was opportunity to talk about it afterwards you stay interactive and engaged for the whole time”

“Its about every stage of business using these tools for growth and things like turnaround, by taking the team right back to thinking creatively, some may say at our strategy day last year but actually are you really thinking differently probably not. We are probably thinking when we are learning. These chapters are about the growth of your thought process to apply to your business. Its your life science to growing Soyour business”

“Its not about the telling piece it’s about enforcing people to actually think for themselves and being responsible for their own self development and learning and growing as individuals”

“It gives you tools on how to improve your business from within, that without the chapters you would not have thought of or noticed. When presented, that’s when you realise that’s what is occurring in our business”

So what’s our steer?

If you are a SME / FTSE 100 that believe you would benefit from a different type of conversation with your team to get to growth, refresh your mojo, open new options and get a fully engaged team and results from day 1, we should talk?

Whether you’re after full time hands on support, delivery assurance, coaching & mentoring the cash return or change leadership training we can help.

You are fearful I know: what do you need to overcome?

If you’re thinking: what’s the difference between your approach and others, Change is extra work, we are too small, we don’t have the time, we can do it ourselves, we haven’t got the budget, we’ve tried that before, we are doing the best we can, when we win the next X we will be OK, we just need extra funding, once we’ve got this out of the way etc

PS this is not fluffy light weight content, these are the tools that have delivered engagement, transformed performance and profits from day 1 proven in 200 company turnarounds as well as cross sector SME – FTSE 100.

“Good leaders are courageous and humble because before taking action they won’t see the benefit because for it to add value the solution must be in their blind spot”

Take courage – overcome your fear and sign up Or call me to explain your concern then let’s get started? 07720 597869

My promise is if you are concerned I will make sure it’s a success or if there is no upside, I won’t suggest we engage at all. Cheers Tom