Who am I?
My name is Richard Gledhill, I’m a Managing Partner at Geodesic and we specialize in digital workplaces and digital employee experience.
I was formally a Senior Principal Consultant and a member of the Board at Infocentric in Baden Switzerland, and have been helping them out with their complex digital workplace projects for a years both as a freelancer and later through Geodesic.
I spend my day working on projects and helping our customers get to grips with the revolution that is the Digital Workplace.
I lead a relatively healthy life, cycling in the summer, skiing in the winter and sailing whenever I get the chance. I’m an yachtmaster and RYA cruising instructor and would love to spend all my time doing that, but I’ve a few years more consulting in me before I give in to the pull of the Sea.
I’ve been working with computers ever since I discovered that I didn’t really want to be a doctor, couldn’t hack being a dentist (2 weeks work experience put me off for life) and found that after 2 years of teaching that I really wanted more money to get better computers to play on. I’ve been playing with computers a heck of a lot longer than that.
I’ve worked with mainframe operations, Cobol programming, Unix admin, oracle DBA, local and wide area data networking from 300/300 wide area networks all the way up to ATM and gigabit switched networks. I’ve relocated staff, carried out office moves on a building scale and managed telephony, call center management and data security… and that my last step was a big one…
In 2000 I had the wonderful title of Head of Voice and Data networking for the UK branch of a Swiss Insurance company. That job put be in charge of data security, which meant I had to try and keep some form of control over the new boys with their flashy websites that were trying to drill holes straight through into our core systems. I ended up to have a might too much to do with web designers, information architects and business analysts that I would have liked.
One day, during a round of company restructures, I was offered a choice, relocate from sunny Kent to Liverpool OR go to Zurich and be something to do with eBusiness in head office. I didn’t speak either language.
The former CEO of the UK branch, had been promoted the board and was head of European Division in Zurich at the time. He told me that I should think very hard about Zurich, that I would find the working culture somewhat more infuriating than Liverpool and that I certainly shouldn’t sign anything long term until I’d tried it out first. He was in the process of returning to the UK having found the Swiss impossible to work with. Of course, this made me determined to try and outlast him here. Which I did…
He was right. Partly. But it’s not the Swiss per se. It’s the corporate culture that has embedded itself in many organisations. Switzerland IS different, it’s more based on consensus than other countries and that can be hard to deal with until you understand it. But I’m not going to get into a discussion about stereotyping countries now (maybe later if you ask me nicely).
I moved to Switzerland and spent nearly 10 years with assorted job titles but essentially as head of e-business for that insurer and changed my life totally. I managed anything that needed a browser to work and drove myself insane, primarily arguing about the same budget and same necessary developments every year for four or five years. In the one of the company’s regular and cyclic restructures, I managed to make myself redundant and to take some time out to recover. I took more sailing qualifications, changed jobs and started happy again.
My greatest pleasures in life are working with good customers that challenge me and then relaxing ideally with snow or water in the vicinity!