About Mark and Jonathan
Dr Mark Powell is a business writer, consultant and entrepreneur. He spent ten years as an Associate Fellow of Oxford University’s Saïd Business School where he specialised in designing and directing senior executive leadership programmes.
Mark read Economics and Management and gained a PhD in Organisational Behaviour, both from the University of Cambridge. A business and strategy consultant for over 25 years, Mark has held Partner roles at Accenture, Fujitsu, Aon, KPMG and A.T. Kearney, in addition to running several start-up businesses. He lectures on subjects including strategy development, leadership, power and influence, strategic relationship building and customer and employee engagement, and was one of the first UK gurus in the Futureworld network.
Mark also had a long and successful parallel career as a competitive Latin American dancer during which he won more than 50 titles, including four English, two British and two World Championships. His increasing focus has been on the ability to use a deep understanding of the performing arts to solve modern day business challenges.
Jonathan Gifford is a business author whose books include History Lessons; Blindsided; 100 Great Leadership Ideas and 100 Great Business Leaders. His books have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Thai and Indonesian. Jonathan’s previous career was spent as a Fleet Street advertising man; he moved into magazine publishing with BBC Magazines, where he was the launch publisher of BBC History Magazine.
Jonathan plays saxophone, flute and clarinet and played in folk, jazz, soul and blues bands both in Canterbury, where he studied philosophy at the University in Kent, and later in London, where he continued to play semi-professionally throughout his business career. He shares Mark’s conviction that the techniques and mindsets of performing artists offer valuable lessons to modern business, helping to create highly-functional business ensembles focussed on delivering winning performances.
Mark and Jonathan are the co-authors of four books on the themes of organisational culture and organisational transformation – in particular, what individuals, teams and organisations can learn from the performing arts.
Their current books are: The Five Principles of Performance Thinking: The Mindsets and Techniques for success in the modern world; Perform to Win: Unlocking the secrets of the arts for personal and business success; Machiavellian Intelligence: How to survive and rise in the modern corporation and My Steam Engine is Broken: Taking the organisation from the industrial era to the age of ideas. Their books have been translated into Chinese, Russian and Vietnamese. They are also the co-authors of many journal and magazine articles, many of which feature on this site.
“Mark is a vibrant speaker with great depth of knowledge and a dynamic style that makes him unforgettable. His energy and enthusiasm never fail to capture the attention of audiences, and his experience and intellect keep senior business leaders engaged. Not to be missed!” A. Stewart, Project Director, BG Group
“Mark Powell brings a rare combination of imagination, structured thinking and a broad frame of reference to organisational challenges. He is able to see the whole picture whilst still empathising with the individual, the personal. He is collaborative in his approach and has an incisive ability to cut to the chase. Things generally become clearer when working with Mark!” T. Camilleri, Associate Fellow & Programme Director, Oxford SAID Business School
“I’ve seen Dr Powell speak at numerous events and he has always proven himself an exceptional raconteur. His ability to engage his audience and leave them on the edge of their seats is as good as I have seen. He is a proven natural in this field”
F. Aranki, Director, FTI-CL Energy
“Jonathan is one of the best conference speakers I have worked with: amusing, engaging and genuinely inspirational.” Mary Langan, Owner, Nua Training
“Excellent presentation, good examples of leadership, good books. Very relevant to requirements for good leadership.” Delegate feedback on Jonathan from Oxford SAID Business School
You can read more testimonials about us and our work here . . .