Tom Critchlow

How to work together

With a decade of experience in digital media, leadership and growth I’m a strategic advisor and consultant for leaders who are seeking to gain clarity about their strategy and develop new initiatives.

I work with a handful of clients every year and typically work with clients for extended periods. Clients include The New York Times, Google, Dotdash, Gartner, Etsy and Seatgeek.

I think of clients like partners and typically don’t get hired to make spreadsheets. I’ll make the spreadsheets anyway, but you hire me to care about your business.

Please get in touch: [email protected] / 917 414 9121

Engagements typically fall into four types:

Embedded Leadership

Many organizations struggle to execute projects where there is a high degree of complexity combined with types of work that the organization has not done before. For example launching in a new market, or pivoting from a B2B to B2C business model. These projects require an experienced leader who can be deeply integrated and embedded inside the organization.

Embedded leadership is useful because I’m often available to lead projects on short notice and can shape the strategy, work rapidly to define the roadmap and then over time work to build a robust sustainable team within the organization to own the work.

Example: I worked with the founders of Finder.com on their go to market strategy as they launched in the US. This started as a series of strategy workshops and then became fractional-COO role helping to hire and lead a team of 10 as they opened their US office

Example: Working with a large media organization to build clarity and direction for a new strategic initiative that included gaining internal buy-in and executive support followed by building a new brand marketing team

Example: Helping a large public organization strategically size up their investment in SEO, creating a strategy and roadmap for an additional $3m+ investment in SEO that was presented to the board. Once the plan was approved I helped source and hire a VP of SEO to lead the multi-year strategy and oversee growth.

Narrative Strategy

Executives often under-estimate the power of a consistent narrative. For leaders who lack a clear articulation of their vision and strategy, narrative strategy is a useful frame to increase alignment internally as well as providing opportunity for clearer external positioning in the market with partners, consumers, potential hires etc.

Example: Working with a large public media organization to create a unified strategy across their core business and recent acquisitions. Working closely with executive leaders to craft a coherent and clear strategy that is presented to the CEO and creates alignment across a variety of cross-functional initiatives.

!& Sessions

For leaders, executives and founders who are wrestling with ambiguity, executive sparring centered around “Yes! And…” is 1:1 generative work to explore and clarify tensions around internal organizational issues, power & status and unblocking strategy and vision through clear-eyed sparring session. Yes! And… sessions are often a mixture of opening up new ideas, reflective analysis around the people involved, a strategic look at the landscape and work to clarify internal vision and mission. The core focus is unblocking blocked executives.

Example: working with an executive tasked with setting up a new business unit to provide a sparring partner as the strategy takes shape as well as provide clarity on the roadmap

Example: working with a new CMO to clearly articulate the strategic roadmap and how the organizational structure needs to evolve and grow.

Example: working with a new COO as they navigate an extreme period of growth and complexity in their business, navigating internal power structures and external market competition.

Tangible Innovation

For organizations trying to do new things I bring a diverse unique skillset that ranges across user research, rapid prototyping, creative ideation, organizational design and go to market strategy. This often culminates in helping clients create innovations, product inventions and build new businesses to do new things in a way that allows us to escape powerpoint and actually launch in the market.

Example: leveraging rapid user research to convince a client to green-light new strategic initiatives that were previously stuck

Example: creating product innovations for a publishing business that combine core revenue paths with new approaches to brand positioning and differentiation in the market

Industries

I’ve worked across a variety of industries in the last decade but have a deep expertise in the content, media and publishing industry. Past clients include:

In particular I’ve worked heavily at the intersection of content & commerce both for publishers seeking commerce content capabilities as well as ecommerce clients seeking content strategy.

I’ve worked in SEO at all levels and have consulted with search engines, publicly traded organizations, startups, SEO agencies, VC firms and private equity firms.

In addition I’ve worked closely with product innovation across Google Creative Lab, Area 120, NYT R&D and the fintech sector.

How to work together

Building a trusted working relationship starts with getting to know each other. Feel free to grab time to chat informally on my Calendly link: calendly.com/tomcritchlow.

Engagements often start with a short, small group workshop where we can create clarity around both the problem and solution in a short space of time. These workshops often springboard into larger ongoing retainers and embedded leadership engagements.

Please get in touch: [email protected] / 917 414 9121