Interim versus Consultancy

When I set up my own business 16 years ago I was told to watch out for the silver foxes. My friend was fondly referring to the corporate chiefs who took a package and then went on tour. Then I heard the well known definition of a consultant 'They ask people for a lend of their watch and then they tell you the time.'

The other definition that was swirling around at that time was, 'They don't necessarily need to have a solution, but good money can be made by prolonging the problem.'

I should say that I have nothing against consultants as I have successfully used this service myself in the past therefore I knew these to be tongue in cheek references.  However, I do know we are all only ever as good as our last job.

For me, I wanted to differentiate myself from the outset. I understood the value of consultancy and the place it clearly plays in the business world today, but I wanted to offer something more, something different.

It's one thing going into an organisation and identifying issues and feeding back by way of report. It's a different challenge altogether doing something about it. Most people in businesses know what their specific problems are, but they often feel powerless to make the change that's required.

This is where I believe a gap still exists today. Even the best managed companies operate so lean these days that it can be difficult to address people change effectively in the midst of busyness and growth.

I've spent the best part of my career in this space, joining senior management teams for an agreed period of time (Interim) and helping make the change happen on the ground. I find I am most effective when I position myself in a low key supportive capacity where I can work on the key issues without disrupting day-to-day proceedings.

The key skill that has enabled me to be successful is connection. Being able to connect quickly with a wide range of people and win respect is vital to the success of any assignment.

I still believe that Interim Management provides real, cost effective and tangible solutions to many business problems on the basis that experience is a valuable commodity. Most of my assignments have centred around people change, family business succession, restructure, special projects and obviously performance improvement as a result.

If you haven't considered Interim Management in your business and you want to find out more about how it can help - why not get in touch for a chat.

Failure Avoidance

The biggest difference between people who flourish in life and those who don't is not money, health, talent, connections or looks - it's wisdom. 

Wisdom is the ability to make good decisions.  According to, wisdom is 'the ability to know what is true or right, common sense or the collection of one's knowledge.'

I used to wonder what it would be like if we could buy a gallon of common sense in the local hardware store...

A man called Harold Smith once said, "More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren't so busy denying them."

When making important decisions it helps to pause and calmly think about things. The balance here usually has to be struck somewhere between haste and procrastination. 

Wise people never make important decisions in the wrong emotional state. Seldom do people choose the right course of action in the wrong frame of mind. For example, an anxious mind and an exhausted body are never a good combination when it comes to making big decisions.

It also helps to have people around us with the wisdom to be discerning and the courage to be truthful - no one is an island really.

It's therefore easy to see why people hesitate and shy away from making decisions.

Some people actually believe growth comes as a result of avoiding problems (and the decisions associated with these) and navigating a carefully crafted pathway through life as a result. Growth however is the ability to handle larger, more interesting and perhaps more complex problems.

Usually, when people do failure avoidance, they will never achieve the kind of courage and risk taking that leads to bold innovation.  It takes courage to make decisions.  Some decisions can have big consequences not just for the decision maker, but for many others.

Risk is part of the process.  Wisdom when applied reduces the risk factor and is much more measured than knee jerk.


In summary, each of us live in a world of choice.  Each choice we make will have a consequence. 

Stephen Covey said:

"I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions."

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The Emotional Tank

I spend a lot of time in the world of business. I take part in discussions about growth, crisis, people, results, targets, pressure, competitors and customers on a daily basis.

My conversations can be with people who are on top of their game, some who are visibly under pressure, and others who seem to be going through the motions as it were.

One thing I've come to notice the longer I work is that we all possess something I'll call the emotional tank. Now I'm not a medic, but depending on how full the tank is on a given day, it can either positively or negatively impact personal performance and the work environment. There are occasions when the emotional tank is pretty full with all the issues outside of work, leaving little capacity for the challenges of the day.

Sadly, some people deal with tough situations outside the workplace and they try to leave these down as they sign in. The reality is that this is difficult to do.

Some people deal with or hide these better than others. The more private generally internalize the challenges they face outside work, whilst the more open tend to share with their close colleagues.

In summary, it's good to be mindful of the emotional tank in the people we work with, or do business with.  In fact, all of us humans can use a little encouragement regardless. We all genuinely appreciate support in tough times, whether we admit it or not.

Today, why don't we (myself included) reach out to someone who could use some encouragement, a person who's emotional tank seems a little full.  We all know somebody who could benefit from some support, and they're usually not that far away from us.