Meet John

About John

johnJohn Thurlbeck, founder and Managing Director of Wear Consulting Limited, has been working in organisational and leadership development and change management consulting since September 2003. John started his company when he saw the need in the youth sector, and more broadly since, for quality, independent thought leadership, organisational and leadership development, cultural change management and coaching, as an effective and unbiased response to difficult and wicked issues of the day.

Recognised nationally for great results, expertise and high integrity, John has consistently demonstrated strong leadership and organisational skills, knowledge and experience and an ability to create impactful and sustainable change by applying creative approaches to challenges, old and new.

That seems a little formal, so here’s some further insight into questions you might have about me …

What’s my story?

Starting out in Sunderland as an articled clerk, I moved to Birmingham in late 1975 to study for a qualification as a ‘youth tutor’ ~ then a modern day response to the delivery of youth work on school campuses. Qualifying as a trained teacher and youth worker in late 1978, I then embarked on a 25 year career, as a teacher/leader [Kent]; youth tutor[Sandwell]; youth worker, area team leader, and District Manager [Hereford and Worcestershire]; and, ultimately, as Head of the Youth Development Group back home in Sunderland in 1996. I served for seven years as head of that group, leading and managing youth work, community development, and adult education and play services, finishing in August of 2003.

Throughout my career in local government, I also undertook a range of sub-regional, regional and national roles and responsibilities that considerably enhanced the tremendous experience I gained in my working life as a practitioner, operational manager and strategic leader.

However, in May of 2003, I recognised that I was becoming increasingly frustrated with my role as Head of the YDG, seeing the ‘same problems, different faces’ scenario replaying itself and I was prompted to look for something new. I had begun to work in 2001, on a part-time basis, with a commercial national training provider, who was keen to secure my services. This and the advice of one close friend convinced me to think of becoming an independent consultant.

I reflected carefully about this; consulted with my wife and my son; and then took the very BIG and SCARY step of resigning from my role and starting out on a new phase of my life.

What did I do?

I decided to follow my passion and my heart and start my own leadership and organisational development practice.  I now work with current and aspiring leaders, teams and organisations that share my desire to make a real and lasting difference in the world, either within their current organisations or by considering new alternatives, such as developing mutual or cooperative entities. I worked under my own name for about eighteen months and then was advised to set myself up as a limited company. I needed to identify a name and eventually one emerged ~ Wear Consulting Limited.

Why Wear Consulting Limited?

I was born on Wearside and my family has a considerable history and tradition with the River Wear, being long associated as river pilots and shipbuilders. It was my son, Jack, who named the company at the age of 11, thinking the title would provide a great geographical focus, as well as a play on words ~ We ar consulting. Now, at the age of 21, Jack has developed a great new logo and website that retains his old thought but adds a great new perspective in emphasising ‘We Consult’.

What makes me different?

I don’t believe in a one-size fits all approach ~ what I do is tailored to meet the needs, address the problems and find solutions for the issues and challenges you face. I don’t do ‘off-the-shelf’ and a key part of my relationship with clients is in properly understanding their needs and developing, often co-creating, responses to them.

You, your needs and your professional approach are unique. I believe you hire me for fresh perspectives, different tools and models, new systems and approaches and to draw on the depth of experience I have garnered working across the youth and other sectors. I am known as an inspirational and motivational leader, trainer and consultant. I thrive on successfully completing complex projects that deliver multiple benefits to my clients and their stakeholders.

How am I qualified to do what I do?

Consultants generally fall into two types: firstly, those who know theories, models and systems but have very little real organisational experience of leading and managing, either strategically or operationally, people-focused services. Secondly, there are those who have the same or better knowledge and understanding and can complement it with years of strategic, operational and front-line leadership and management within a variety of settings and organisations.

I am definitively a category 2 consultant, with over 35 years’ leadership, management and consulting experience in a range of organisations across the public, private and third sectors, often at very senior level.

This is complemented by a number of professional qualifications:

  • MSc in Manager and Organisation Development [Distinction]
  • Diploma in Business Studies [Distinction]
  • BEd in Youth and Community Studies
  • Accredited ELLI Practitioner [Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory]

In addition, I am:

  • A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Commerce and Manufactures
  • A Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute
  • A member of the Association for Management Education and Development

Want to hear more?

I always approach every client with a genuine desire to help them make a real difference … and to deliver effective solutions for the issues and problems they face. I also genuinely want to support my clients in delivering best outcomes for the people with whom they work. So, I’d be delighted if you write to me, connect through my blog or give me a call ~ effective solutions come from great relationships ~ let’s connect!