Speaker Interview: Ben Buckton
Get to know the thought leaders sharing their insights at the Future Work Scenarios event (12 May, London) in our dedicated speaker interview series.
Independent Forums: What are you currently reading? Ben Buckton: 7 Habits (Covey) – an oldie but a goodie, it felt like a good time to revisit recently. Love + Work (Buckingham) – literally just started; I love his work and First Break All The Rules was one of the first leadership books I read 20+ years ago, many themes have stuck with me and I’ve been back to it since.
Independent Forums: What is your favourite way to recharge?
Ben Buckton: My top 3 things would be:
Family time – spending time with my 3-year-old daughter is incredible for the soul; I love reframing the world through her eyes.
Beach walks with the dog and a podcast – we moved to the Devon coast between lockdowns last year and it seems to be the best decision we ever made, for ourselves and our family!
Reading and watching – immersing in leadership or business books; but equally I find a good sci-fi or fantasy book, TV or movie series can be great escapism and also wonderful for inspiring your own creativity.
Independent Forums: Who or what has inspired you this year and why?
Ben Buckton: It sounds corny as hell, but without a doubt it has been the people I work with every day. From my talented colleagues that I sit with at Group Board and in our Executive team; to my own incredible teams who bring their relentless energy, passion and ideas every day; and not forgetting the people across our organisation (new and established) who are truly excellent at what they do and inspire me every day to be better at what I do. I feel like I am never blessed with enough time with any of them, but in all honesty from all of them, I am constantly learning something new. Whether that is challenging my assumptions, exploring new ways of working or their creativity in how we fulfil all of our growth or cultural ambitions as an organisation.
Independent Forums: What is your biggest source of motivation?
Ben Buckton: At work, it is my team and my colleagues – seeing the great things that they do, being inspired by their stories and energised by their ideas fuels me every day. I’m blessed to work with and lead a team of awesome individuals! At home, it’s my wonderful (and very patient) husband and daughter – I couldn’t do what I do without their love and support.
Independent Forums: How would you describe a typical day?
Ben Buckton: “Drinking from a fire hose” – but in all seriousness, there is no typical day and I think if there was, I would not be operating at my best – in work or family life.
Independent Forums: What’s one thing about you that most people don’t know?
Ben Buckton: I’m a pretty open book to be honest… perhaps the intensity of imposter syndrome that plagues me at the most inopportune times might be something people don’t always know, although I’m pretty open about that and now I’ve told you now too!
Independent Forums: What’s one thing about your organisation that you wish more people knew?
Ben Buckton: How different (and awesome) we are to a typical, traditional legal or professional services company – we’re building a culture of empowerment with accountability and transparency to instil trust and love in what we do, for our people, clients and the communities that we serve. An example would be how we instigated and have embraced our empowered working philosophy – we don’t have an agile working policy, we have guidance that empowers teams and people to make choices about when, where and how they work centred on the needs of the clients, the team and the individuals. Teams are trusted and empowered to find the right balance that works for their team orientation and commitments, rather than being forced into hard boxes – we also encourage a test and learn approach to this. Another example is how we have pushed ourselves forward to become a Certified (pending) B Corp – we set out our responsible business commitments as a firm, but we’re also ensuring we hold ourselves to the highest standard of external endorsement on our journey.
Independent Forums: What habit have you picked up during the pandemic that you will maintain in future?
Ben Buckton: A couple came to mind – I know you only asked for one:
Making better, bolder choices with a ‘do the right thing’ lens.
My ‘why not today’ test – a simple life example being, why not open the more expensive bottle of wine today, what am I waiting for?
Daily (as travel permits) dog walks.
Reading the screen rather than the room!
Independent Forums: How has your perception about the world of work evolved over the past two years?
Ben Buckton: The infinite possibilities – change can happen and happen fast. It can happen to you, and you can make it happen – one is not better than the other; both are full of endless possibilities and opportunities. That might include changes (or disruption!) to people, behaviours, structures, expectations, infrastructure, tech, organisation, strategy, plans, ambitions and priorities. It’s all to play for, and it can all be a force for good!
Independent Forums: Where do you see the biggest opportunity to transform the way we work?
Ben Buckton: Human-centred design in relation to our people proposition and experience – whilst ensuring an offer of purposeful work. People have so much choice of when, where and how they work; the ‘who’ they do it for becomes an ever-more important factor and especially as consumer behaviours (like brand switching) flow through into work.
Independent Forums: What are you most looking forward to at Future Work Scenarios 2022?
Ben Buckton: Looking ahead and being inspired and energised by what the working world could be! And seeing some people in real life is always fun, and still feels like a bit of a post-lockdown novelty.
Ben Buckton will join a panel discussion exploring the intersection between sustainability, purpose, culture, and transformation at the Future Work Scenarios event on 12 May in London.
Register here to join the discussion.