The Camelot Network: 3 Year Journey
The Camelot Network
STRONG INDIVIDUALLY, STRONGER TOGETHER
Being independent does not mean working alone. The Camelot Network, founded by David Clamp, is a leading example of the power of a network in action.
After a rewarding and fulfilling career working in the corporate insurance sector, founder David decided to branch out and try something very different.
“Six months. I’ll give myself six months, and if it doesn’t work out, I can try something else. Worst case scenario, I will have learned so much”.
After by no means an easy transition, David established his own independent consulting business, Merlin Digital Consulting.
5 years later, David is very successful as an independent advisor, but along the way, he encountered a big challenge. Human beings, he believes, are wired to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Indeed, author Shawn Achor goes so far as to say “when we try to be successful by ourselves, we are swimming in the shallows of our potential”. In other words, while we may be able to work on our own, we really thrive when we work together.
David found he missed the sense of connection and community that accompanied working within a team. Being a one-person company does have its benefits; in fact, the advantages are several. Independent consultants are free to do what they love, cater to their specific skills and devise the role that they choose.
But even so, they inevitably lose out on some of the human interaction sides of working life. The ability to bounce ideas off of team-mates can be paramount in pushing towards further growth.
“I had this vision that collaboration is far more impactful than competition. I think that’s a really powerful thing, we are taught to be competitive whereas actually there are far more opportunities to collaborate than compete.”
Hence The Camelot Network was born.
But why the name Camelot? Why not something more obvious, like ‘The Network of Independent Consultants’? The answer is simple – the notion of equality and collaboration lies at the root of the network itself.
“We are all equals around this virtual round table. Nobody has a higher rank, company, job title. That’s all left behind. We are all in it together, and that togetherness means we are more trusting and much more collaborative.”
A look back at Camelot’s journey will demonstrate why being a values-based network has led to growth and success of an amazing and powerful network.
It boasts over 160 members now, but Camelot was not born this size. Like us all, it grew slowly over time in a nurturing and safe environment.
“Your passion for helping people succeed is evident, David. It’s the raison d’être of the network and I’m proud to be a part of it”. – Des McCavitt, Camelot Member
An effective model should be all about connecting, not competing. The Camelot Network does just this. It strives to amplify the potential of members while increasing their pool of available resources and maintaining a safe environment for self-development. It is this atmosphere that fosters and encourages members to ‘walk tall’, and provides an invaluable environment from which to draw advice, support and encouragement.
“The whole ethos of helping each other with no personal agenda is so healthy and I have seen people grow as a result of this over the last 6 months.” – Hugh Hessing, Camelot Member
But how does it all work? The jump from employee to running your own business can be complex and unpredictable. The Camelot Network comes into its own through this, facilitating connection and interaction with people who have ‘been there and done it’, irrespective of physical distance. Its ‘values above rules’ approach gives members the freedom to find their feet on their own terms, not anyone else’s. These values include helping others first and facilitating their upskilling- through Member Workshops.
“Thank you for the fantastic session yesterday. It was priceless! It is a confidence booster. I have gained some valuable insight from it. I am better prepared and equipped than I ever was to overcome fear and build self-esteem.” – Workshop Delegate.
Camelot Members already have the expertise required to be successful in their particular field – this goes without saying.
Members also take opportunities to work alongside each other on issues they are passionate about. Camelot has numerous ‘Think Tanks’, covering topics ranging from Sustainability to Innovation. Visions of these groups are turned into reality by the Think Tank Leader, ably supported by the Camelot Crew, be it through a Camelot Live Webinar Event, a Whitepaper or a workshop open to all.
That’s where we’ve seen real industry-wide impact – where people group into areas they are passionate about. There are people who are interested in say Compliance, in Sustainability, or in Innovation. They do it because they are passionate about the topic – not for payment – and that like-mindedness and common purpose is where the magic happens.
Member Meet-Ups are held twice a month, including one morning ‘Coffee with Camelot’ and one evening ‘Meet-Up’ session. Always aptly manoeuvred by David Clamp, Master of MC-ing, guest speakers and sponsors alike enrich the networking experience for all involved. It’s a wonderful chance to sit and see familiar faces – albeit virtually – and spend some time with others who are both equals and genuinely want to see each other be successful.
“I wouldn’t underestimate the mental comfort a network like this has in these challenging times …” Lee Timms, Camelot Member.
PROVIDING VALUE TO COMPANIES
What began as a supportive space for independent professionals has grown into a very powerful resource with a great deal of potential. With so much collective expertise, the question arose – how could The Camelot Network benefit the insurance industry?
We’ve all been there – you finish up a heartfelt pitch to a board room and look up at the sea of blank poker-faces staring back at you. Followed by the polite:
“Thank you, very interesting. We will be in touch.”
Whether resulting in an eventual yes or no, the current formula followed by companies offers very little feedback or insight into the minds of your target audience. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some way to test your pitch in front of these industry titans first?
Enter the Camelot Road Test. Twelve members, one company pitching an idea or potential solution followed by an hour of actionable feedback. All previous members of the target audience, Camelot Members are uniquely placed to offer insightful, frank and unbiased feedback. The members have ‘been there and done it’ previously as C Suite and Senior managers from across the insurance spectrum and beyond. An ingenious concept that benefits all sides.
“Diversity of thinking, diversity of experience, diversity of knowledge, diversity of questioning – all that comes to the forefront. People have no corporate filter, it’s all unfettered, unbiased free-thinking on the real things that need to be sorted out.”
Due to the flexible nature of Camelot, its services are not limited to the Road Test format: The network has held bespoke, tailored “Collaboration Workshops” with numerous Tier 1 insurers that allow the breadth and depth of Camelot expertise to be brought to brainstorming sessions, alongside giving these companies access to professionals from across the industry.
“Woods and trees can be difficult to tell apart when you’re too close to them. The Camelot Network reminded us of that in straightforward style this evening – a hugely helpful refocus. We got strong, constructive feedback that will guide us in refining our pitch and approach. I can’t recommend enough the Roadtest experience to anyone – vendor, provider, consultant – seeking a lot of learning / constructive challenge in a compressed amount of time.” – Chris McKibbin, Co-Founder, LogicLayer
The real focus is on building relationships with these partnering companies. Members have a genuine desire to help companies succeed and excel. That trust, once established, means The Camelot Network and its individual members – are always there as a safe pair of hands to commission when needed – as individual experts or by forming unique hit squads to tackle larger engagements.
“The Camelot Network enables the fast provision of skilled expertise to support the development of key growth areas at Chaucer, and is also a flexible resource that we can plug into on an ad hoc basis – I would highly recommend them to any insurance business looking to overcome a challenge.” – Hayley Maynard, Head of Strategy and Corporate Development, Chaucer
David Clamp should take a bow for the incredible community he has created. We live in a world divided by politics, a pandemic, and people’s reluctance to share their experiences and feelings with each other. The Camelot Network is a floating oasis of acceptance, positivity and encouragement in the wake of all this chaos.
Many people have big ideas, but not many people have the courage and conviction to turn them into reality. And it wasn’t just his time that he dedicated, as, in an unusual display of generosity in an age often driven by cash and profit, David started this network out of his own pocket and has only recently begun to charge a nominal administration fee to the 160 and counting members. His selflessness and infinite time for others is something King Arthur would no doubt be immensely proud of, and it shows through the success of the model that other networks should strive to replicate.
The possibilities are endless. Although recent circumstances have taught all us how difficult life is to predict, Camelot has an exciting future ahead.
Camelot USA/Europe/Asia? Expansion into other industries? Expansion into other industries?
One thing is for sure – The Camelot Network has reached this level of success because it has never strayed from its core belief in the power of a network and its mission: to help independent consultants be successful, and use that success to really help businesses be even more successful. The commitment and passion of David and the members will undoubtedly continue to drive growth and help others for years to come, especially as today is the network’s third birthday – we wish them the very best!