Day-to-day with… Jessica Gregson, Partner at Subsector

1st March 2021

Jessica headshot

Jessica and Telescopic go way back. Well actually, it’s our Founder, Rita, who knows Jessica best.

Previously Rita’s mentor, when Telescopic was born, Jessica came on board as a business advisor and has been considered an extended part of the team, and friend, ever since.

Following an impressive career leading teams in a range of disciplines and industries, Jessica now specialises in helping business make big decisions in high pressured environments using the N2D Method – a framework which is revolutionising the way businesses prioritise their workflow.

So let’s meet Jessica and learn more about her day-to-day.

Hi Jessica. Can you start by telling us what you do?

I’m Jessica Gregson, Partner at Subsector, an innovation consultancy. We also act as Non Exec and advisor to various businesses.

We’re now perhaps best known for our decision making and prioritisation framework, the N2D Method. The Method is used by people all over the world to make critical business decisions.

You have quite an impressive background so how did you get to where you are now?

I spent 20 years working in agencies and also as a ‘client’ in some enterprises, mainly in communication, marketing, and digital. I met my business partner, Phil Dearson, just under 20 years ago at exposure, where we both worked.

After we left, we stayed in touch on and off for a good decade. Phil was developing the N2D Method during this time, so we worked together on a few projects using N2D. We came to learn that we also had shared interests in helping businesses grow and innovate so I joined them as a partner 3 years ago.

What do you enjoy about your work?

On the consulting side, I enjoy the relationships and I’m really nosey about businesses!

As a Non Exec or long term advisor, you help leaders through some of their biggest challenges and greatest successes. For the most part, this means being a more objective voice or using your experience to spot a problem or troubleshoot but you also need to understand what people want more broadly and what motivates them, plus the other pressures in their lives – so there’s an element of coaching and mentoring as well.

Building our product business, the N2D Method, is fascinating and sometimes terrifying – it’s a brilliant journey. The levers you need to pull are quite different from the rest of the business, it’s about scale and automation, identifying and interacting with people in larger numbers.

There is a clear connection between the two though. Right now, we are focusing most of our attention on supporting our practitioner community, so they can grow their own businesses and succeed.

What’s your greatest challenge?

Focus. My nature is to try to do everything (sometimes all at once). I’m getting much better at this, much better.

My challenge is definitely being more selective and focusing more time to each thing.

What is perhaps worse about this is that I am really good at telling other people about the dangers of not focusing…

What are your favourite digital tools for getting your job done?

Our own tools of course – the N2D Method. The 3 tools in the Method, which is web-based, help to process and analyse any strategic decision. They are an aid to help people take control of their decisions – we call it getting decision making superpowers. The application is wide-ranging, but on the technology side, you could be deciding what should be included in the scope for a project or product, where a company should innovating or managing a transformation programme.

We have a Discord channel to support our practitioner community. Anyone can join the public areas if they would like to find out more about decision making and to meet and collaborate, then we have closed areas for practitioners.

For the more day-to-day tasks, we use some fairly standard tools like Trello for our roadmap and marketing plans, Hubspot as a CRM and G Suite for shared documents.

Calendly is a godsend for taking the pain out of diary management.

I also have a couple of personal favourites: ToDoist for task management, Spark for email and Fantastical for my calendar.

I think a big hero in our business is something that’s hidden in the background, Zapier. Zapier keeps everything speaking to each other and running smoothly. We’d be lost without it!

What do you consider to be your best business learnings?

Every business is different so this is a difficult question.

A thing that is particularly clear to me is that people are actually pretty bad at making decisions. They bring bias and emotion to the table that can fundamentally affect the quality of a decision. When the pressure is on, or a decision is particularly emotionally charged, this gets worse.

Where you can, employ processes that help you to remove some of the subjectivity.

Many businesses have had to make big decisions under pressure to adapt to the ‘new normal’, has this impacted on demand for the N2D Method?

We have seen a massive increase in the adoption, yes. By May 2020, we had trained the same number of practitioners as we had in all of 2019.

Making critical decisions in difficult times is never easy for a business. Sometimes the stakeholders don’t all agree on a particular challenge or share the same priorities. Focusing on the ‘why’ helps a business to focus and make systematic changes under pressure.

And finally, what are your hopes for 2021?

I hope we can get the pandemic under control to improve the lives of huge numbers of people – both personally and professionally.

I also hope the business community will retain some of the openness that has been fostered during the crisis. It feels like everyone has let their guard down a little as we’ve all been welcomed into each other’s homes and lives, like it or not!

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