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10 Years of Change Formation: Celebrating a remarkable journey


December 12, 2023

This year, Change Formation celebrate the remarkable milestone of 10 years as a company. This anniversary is not just a celebration of time, but of achievements, learning, and growth. We had the pleasure of sitting down for a friendly chat with Managing Director Rob McWilliam to delve into the inspiring journey, the milestones, and the future aspirations of Change Formation.

surround yourself with great people […] become more comfortable making referrals, forming partnerships, and building lasting relationships – and that’s when truly great things start to happen!”


In 2013 the final season of Breaking Bad was hitting television screens, Lorde was winning two Grammy awards for the hit song ‘Royals’ and Rob McWilliam was busy establishing a learning and development business that would go on to support organisations across the globe.

Armed with over a decade’s worth of experience in the training sector, Rob set out to form Change Formation, aiming to help business leaders develop both practical and emotional skills that would help them, and their organisations, thrive.

Today, Change Formation celebrates its most successful year-to-date. Growing in terms of team members, capacity, and revenue in 2023, we wanted to take this chance to look back on the past 10 years, to celebrate the achievements of everyone involved with Change Formation.



Q: Rob, can you share with us how Change Formation has evolved over the past 10 years? What have been some of the key milestones?

A: Absolutely. The last decade has been transformative and in that time the company has evolved from being a concept I’d dreamed up to being a successful and trusted partner to so many great organisations.

Looking back, in June 2014, we won our first larger contract delivering a leadership development programme to a company called CGG – an industry leading geoscience organisation. We delivered this in Llandudno, North Wales. This felt like a real turning point for Change Formation as it gave me so much confidence knowing that we were able to deliver impactful and meaningful sessions to a large-scale company, who I’m proud to say are still a client today.

From there we’ve gone from strength to strength and expanded both our service offering, and client-base, drastically. The best feedback you can get from any client is “I’d like to do more work with you” and thankfully we hear that more-often-than-not.


change formation leader Rob McWilliam stands in front of branded exhibition stand.


Q: You’ve touched on it there, but could you elaborate on the biggest differences between Change Formation now and 10 years ago?

A: We’re much more certain in how we communicate the value of working with us. That has come from years of getting to know our clients and industry partners, learning to understand their pain-points and formulate carefully planned solutions to address those common issues.

Quite early on we worked with Mark Vaesen of Tomango on our brand strategy, which led to Change Formation becoming a much more sophisticated company. We developed a cleaner and more representative brand for Change Formation which was pivotal in helping us achieve a sense of clarity around our purpose and business strategy. For that, and your continued support, I’d like to thank Mark and the team at Tomango.

In the summer of 2019, Change Formation exhibited at the annual CIPD conference and exhibition at the London Olympia, and I remember stepping back and looking at the stand and really feeling a sense of accomplishment knowing Change Formation had become something truly tangible.

More recently, we came out of the pandemic with a renewed look at how we can deliver our sessions, now combining face-to-face delivery with virtual delivery. This made Change Formation a lot more flexible in how we worked with our clients and became a huge success from a tricky time in terms of cash flow.


Change Formation delivering a session remotely via Teams


Q: Change Formation’s team has been growing a lot more rapidly in recent years, that must be particularly pleasing for you to see?

A: Definitely, the first time I needed to take on extra facilitators was in November 2018, while delivering a workshop for GSK. At that time, it felt like a toe in the water, but in hindsight, it was crucial for us to achieve critical mass. Now, we’re regularly running workshops and seminars with multiple members of the team.

Working with Kim, Patrick, and Chris over the past years has accelerated the growth of Change Formation and I couldn’t be more grateful for their continued dedication, hard work, and support. Of course, I also have to thank Caroline for helping turn all of our Insights Discovery reports around with great care and efficiency. We’ve also recently taken on Sam Barker as a Client Relationship Manager, to support in ensuring our partners continue to receive the same level of service as we scale and grow.

Change Formation wouldn’t be where it is today without this core team supporting it!


Q: What do you think is the secret behind the positive team synergy at Change Formation?

A: That’s quite simple, I’m really invested in all the people I work with, and I am always interested in hearing their ideas. I treat my team members in the same way I treat my clients; with respect, compassion, and a genuine enthusiasm for seeing them thrive.

We are a long-term relationships business and want to be trusted and consultative advisors to our clients. Therefore, it’s crucial that we have a high retention rate and all the members of team Change Formation feel valued and capable of doing great work.

Whilst I’m on the subject of great relationships, I’d also like to thank Martin Cheape of Realising Potential who has been a great ally to the business, and to me, over the past decade. And Nicola O’Donnel at Paxton, who has been integral in establishing a long-term Insights Discovery based development programme for the company. I look forward to working with them both for years to come.


Change Formation discussing delivery of Insights Discovery as a team.


Q: What are some of the more challenging moments you’ve faced over the last decade?

A: On a serious note, the pandemic was a really challenging time for the business and for me as a business person.

On a much more light-hearted level, although I’m reluctant to air any dirty laundry, the hardest challenge that springs to mind was running a workshop to over 50 people earlier this year with a wardrobe mishap. Disaster struck when I ripped my trousers whilst setting up the equipment. With no time to change, I had to spend the rest of the session making sure I was facing whoever I was speaking to, almost like a weather presenter.

Aside from that, I’ve become a lot more stringent with my pre-airport checks as on 2 occasions I’ve been turned away at passport control. Once for not getting a visa whilst trying to fly to Moscow, and once for attempting to get through using my wife’s passport.


Q: So, would your one bit of advice be to always bring a spare pair of trousers and an up-to-date passport?

A: I would strongly recommend both, but I tell myself those things could happen to anyone!

If I were to give some serious advice to entrepreneurs in their early years, it would be to surround yourself with great people and have an abundance mentality. When you assure yourself there is plenty of work to go around, you become more comfortable making referrals, forming partnerships, and building lasting relationships – and that’s when truly great things start to happen!


Change formation delivering a session remotely via Zoom


Q: That is great advice. With all these fantastic experiences behind you, where do you see the future of Change Formation heading?

A: It’s interesting to see the way Human Resources departments are evolving; we’re seeing a lot more emphasis put on the role of learning and development as the glue that helps form a wider company culture. I think it helps create a sense of unity amongst colleagues, especially when so many are working remotely.

For us, this is great because the extra scrutiny from these departments means that we’re constantly having to ensure what we deliver is relevant, impactful, and worthwhile to all those involved. It’s this pressure that helps us to continue to improve over time.

Over the next decade, I’m aiming to more-than-double the size of Change Formation in terms of revenue, which means hopefully more team members coming on board, a more diverse product offering, and more tools & assets to help support our clients. I’m also keen to diversify our team to gather input and ideas from different backgrounds and experiences.

Long-term, I’m passionate about ensuring Change Formation makes a positive impact on our wider society. So, watch this space as we develop our approach to giving back to our community.


Q: I’m very excited to see where the company goes from here! Is there anything else you’d like to say to those reading?

A: Other than one last thank you to all of our partners, clients, and colleagues, I’d just like to say how immensely proud I am for Change Formation to have reached 10 years in business. It’ll be great to celebrate this milestone with everyone involved!

Rob and Caroline having a discussion at Change Formation office.


And there you have it! A decade of Change Formation, wrapped up in a seasonally appropriate heart-warming conversation with Rob. It’s truly been a journey filled with challenges and triumphs. As we look ahead, we’re excited to see what the next ten years will bring for Rob and his team.

Here’s to continued success, innovation, and the wonderful impact Change Formation will undoubtedly keep making in the world of learning and development!


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