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A Q&A with Marty Flavall, Principal Management Consultant

29th September 2021

Author Marty Flavall

“We are thrilled to have Marty join the team and bring his expertise in public sector consulting to the organisations we work with. Already it’s great to see the impact Marty is having and the insights he is bringing as we strive to help organisations create connected experiences that bring them closer to the people they serve and the outcomes they are looking to achieve.”

Kirsten Bockett-Smith, GM Consulting & Delivery – Southern


Tell us a bit about your role and what it entails.

I’m a Principal Management Consultant based in the Wellington office. In this role I help solve customer problems by taking a person-centered approach. This includes advising on strategy, leadership, governance and guiding successful change. Another way of looking at it is that I support customers and staff with the people aspect of experience transformation. In everything I do I try to promote a deep understanding and connection to customers and staff in order to create better solutions.

For the last four years I’ve been a business consultant, in my own business. I was very focused on the design and implementation of services and solutions that help create organisations that people love – whether from the customer or employee perspective. This is powerful, because our work should be a place that we want to turn up to and make a meaningful difference, and when we deliver exceptional experiences we can improve the lives of our customers.


Tell us a bit about your background, your mission in life, what gets you out of bed in the morning…

I live on the Kāpiti Coast with my partner Larah and our two young kids, Carter and Liliana. They keep us pretty busy most of the time.

Back in the day, I had the big OE experience, spending time in Ireland and Italy. It was great to be immersed in both an English-speaking culture and a non-English speaking culture. I learned a lot about myself, and about other people. I saw that there’s a lot of power in having different perspectives. The experience definitely influenced me.

I also come from a clinical background as I trained as a physiotherapist. In this role it was rewarding to see clients progress over time and help them achieve their goals. As a physio, you always try to listen, to be empathetic, to provide a good experience and leave a lasting impression. What I realised on this journey was that systems and processes could sometimes get in the way of being able to deliver good client experiences and outcomes. So I wanted to make more of a difference at a wider level. This prompted me to look at moving from working with individuals to working on improving the whole system.

This led me to join ACC. I was lucky enough to experience a number of roles there, and gain good exposure across a range of different activities, such as contract management, service design, procurement, and business management. I was then involved in ACC’s transformation program from the beginning, which ultimately inducted me into the world of customer experience and organisational design. This showed me the power of listening to people and working with them to shape better solutions and improve their experience, which in turn, improves their trust and loyalty and you. Alongside this, I’ve studied leadership and workplace culture to foster high-performing teams. These internal elements, combined with external-facing customer considerations, leads to an opportunity for human-centered change and transformation for an organisation.

This is what motivates me, this is what gets me out of bed and provides a sense of purpose. I love this stuff.

Marty and family

What brought you to Davanti, and what are you most looking forward to in your new role?

When I was working as a solo contractor I often didn’t have the scale to take on bigger projects or really juicy bits of work. Part of the reason I wanted to join Davanti was to have a team around me, so I could continue the journey that I began in the healthcare space. I also wanted to focus more exclusively on experience transformation. I started looking at how I could start working with others in this area, and when I saw this role come up, it spoke to me as it emphasised human-centered design.

In today’s day and age, it’s become very important to have resilience and constantly adapt if we want long-term sustainability in any organisation. I think Davanti will be able to do that for its customers, and provide fulfilling, meaningful and supportive work for me as well.


How do you help customers achieve connected experiences, and how does this improve their lives or achieve business outcomes?

Achieving equity is a huge potential benefit of creating connected experiences. I think it’s important for New Zealand to collectively contribute to and emphasise equity, particularly in the design space, where it’s so easy and ‘normal’ to design for the majority.

It’s through connected experiences that we can improve people’s lives. We can set up organisations to be able to actually work in a way that provides opportunities for those who don’t have great access, and bring in different perspectives. But we’ve got to go out and seek those opinions that we don’t already know, and understand deeply what people love and hate, and what the potential barriers to entry are.

This approach may take longer and be more difficult, but it will achieve better outcomes for everyone involved. In this, we need everyone to play a part and be supported to do so through strong leadership.


In your conversations with customers right now, what’s the one thing they’re thinking about and focusing on this year when it comes to transforming their customer experience?

I think there is a trend for transformation and becoming more person (or customer) -centric. This involves a number of elements, but is more sought after now. More recently we’ve seen COVID put a greater focus on organisational resilience. Again, these things require leadership in the organisation and the ability for the organisation to constantly adapt.

So I think this is what people are thinking about at the moment, and in terms of how we achieve it, co-design is a big conversation. This means we’re not working in isolation, and are actually working with the people who are involved or impacted and have different perspectives.


When you’re not busy helping our clients get closer to their customers, how do you spend your time?

I’m big on fitness, whether that’s running on the beach or taking the kids on adventures and bike rides. I’m also living in a house that’s 90 years old, so it always requires a bit of attention. I’m also often listening to audiobooks – that’s my main way of digesting books outside of work.


What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve got two, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

I like to mix up between personal growth and novels, but both of these are very interesting ones.

I’d also recommend The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek – it’s a very good book to think about leadership and business differently.


Sources of inspiration?

When it comes down to it, I’m inspired by helping people, and by my family.


Favourite quote or mantra?

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela