Episode 28 - Andrew Denton - Alfa Systems

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“A lot of being a good mentor is listening and getting people to back themselves…if you tell somebody how good they are, that means a lot, and if you tell them to back themselves, someone who may not have gone for that opportunity or taken that role on, maybe they now do, and that makes a big difference.”

Today’s guest is Andrew Denton. Andrew is Chief Executive Officer of Alfa Systems, the leading international asset finance and leasing software company. Having joined the company in 1995 he successfully worked his way up, becoming a member of the Board in 2003 as Sales and Marketing Director. He was made Chief Operating Officer in 2010 and became CEO in September 2016.

In addition to his role at Alfa He is also Director and joint founder of the Leasing Foundation, an organisation that supports the leasing and asset finance industry through charitable activities, research and development.

Andrew was recommended to me by two close friends of mine as someone I must get on the podcast and he certainly didn’t disappoint. The advice and insights he shares throughout this interview are fantastic and I had a great time interviewing him.

We cover so much ground in this conversation including:

Andrew’s path to CEO and his advice to those looking to do the same.

The importance of developing sales skills regardless of your role if you’re looking to climb in your company.

What he learnt from Alfa’s IPO and his advice to others who may be considering doing the same.

The importance of finding and building relationships with Mentors to help you accelerate your career.

As my first guest from a listed software and services business it was great to get his unique perspective on the market and advice for others looking to emulate his and Alfa’s success.

You can find out more about Andrew and connect with him through his LinkedIn profile - https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewwdenton/

You can find out more about Alfa Systems at https://www.alfasystems.com  

Specific Things We Discuss:

The blokes guide to pregnancy by Jon Smith  - http://amzn.eu/d/9OF2V2d

The sixty minute father by Rob Parsons - http://amzn.eu/d/girxojz

The Jersey: The All Blacks: The Secrets Behind the World's Most Successful Team by Peter Bills - http://amzn.eu/d/iFCvidm

The Real McCaw: Richie McCaw: The Autobiography by Richie McCaw - http://amzn.eu/d/gBs2iG3

Numis - https://www.numiscorp.com/x/default.html

Barclays - https://www.investmentbank.barclays.com/

Tulchan - http://www.tulchangroup.com/

Whitecase - https://www.whitecase.com/

Alfa’s Non Executive Directors  - https://investors.alfasystems.com/media/board-of-directors

Tim Cook - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Cook

Bill Mcdermott - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_McDermott

Nile Rodgers - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nile_Rodgers

Madonna - https://www.madonna.com/

Bill Gates - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates

The Gates Foundation - https://www.gatesfoundation.org/

TED interview with Elon Musk - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQtMqdYgFH0

Flipboard - https://flipboard.com/

You can find out more about Andrew on his Linkedin page - https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewwdenton/

You can find out more about Alfa at https://www.alfasystems.com/eu/   

What we talk about:

00:02:30 – Andrew’s background and how he got to where he is today.

00:05:02 – Andrew’s path to CEO and his unusual advice to others looking to do the same.

00:10:05 – How to make the most of ‘dead end’ career moves and how you should learn from every experience. 

00:13:12 – The questions Andrew asked himself when considering the step up to COO and then CEO.

00:16:16 – The common misconceptions have about being CEO.

00:20:40 – The importance of sale skills if you want to climb in your career.

00:30:16 – Andrew’s book and resource recommendations when it comes to fatherhood and leadership.

00:33:21 – Why you should be looking to learn from and emulate those outside the Consulting industry as well as within.

00:34:54 – How Andrew’s kept his own knowledge and understanding of the industry fresh whilst being in the same business for 23 years.

00:38:31 – Andrew’s key learnings from the Alfa Systems IPO and his advice to other looking to do the same.

00:46:09 – Andrew’s advice on mentoring, why you need them and his dream mentors.

00:49:50 – How Andrew and the Alfa management team have built a culture that has sustained for such a long period of time.

00:55:47 – The common questions that Andrew gets from his mentees and his answers to them.

00:59:29 – Andrew’s advice for finding and working with a mentor.

01:06:00 Andrew’s additional book recommendations and his other go to resources for news and insights.

01:09:11 - Andrew’s closing advice for you whether you’re just starting out in Consulting, In the middle grades or approaching Partner level.

01:11:00 - How to get in touch with Andrew.

 

Episode 27 - Tony Restell - Top-Consultant & Social Hire

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“It comes down to listening to the market. Whether you’re starting up a new business or in a business and trying to stay current, it’s all about listening to the people in your market and what their challenges and needs are.”

Today’s guest is Tony Restell. Tony is co-founder of Top-Consultant, the industry’s leading career website, and founder of Social-Hire, a social media marketing agency that counts many consulting firms amongst its client base and helps Partners in those firms to generate client leads for their practices.

If you work in the UK Consulting industry then you will know Top-Consultant. It is a site that everyone I know in the industry uses, me included. In my case, Top-Consultant has led me to apply for roles that have turned in to friendships with some of the people who have appeared on this podcast.

 In a world where businesses are being disrupted and challenged almost every day I’ve always admired how Top-Consultant has been able to keep such a dominant market position for so long and Tony was kind enough to share his secrets for this in today’s interview.

 We cover so much ground in this conversation including:

How Top-Consultant started and the unusual tactics Tony used to grow the business in its early days.

 How Top-Consultant grew over the years and how Tony and his co-founder were able to stay receptive to changing industry demands to keep their offering front and centre in the market.

 Tony’s advice for other entrepreneurs or those thinking of launching their own business, in tech, consulting or any other field.

And the importance of understanding and leveraging social media like LinkedIn when it comes to building your career or your business.

Tony shares so much great advice in this episode and it was fantastic to speak with someone whose business has been such an important part of the Consulting Industry for so long.

If you’re considering launching your own business or want to understand how you can grow your current business then this episode is a must listen.

You can find out more about Tony on his Linkedin page - https://www.linkedin.com/in/tonyrestell/

You can find out more about Top-Consultant at http://www.top-consultant.com   

You can find out more about Social Hire at https://www.social-hire.com/

 Specific things we discuss in this show:

 Roland Berger - https://www.rolandberger.com   

Top-Consultant ‘Art of Selling’ training course - http://events.top-consultant.com/uk/careerconference/423/The-Art-Of-Selling-Consulting-Services/

 The 4 hour work week by Tim Ferriss – http://amzn.eu/d/5QUWzpd  

 Dot Com Secrets by Russell Brunson - http://amzn.eu/d/ilGFqsU

 What we talk about:

00:02:40 - Tony’s background and how he got to where he is today.

00:04:04 - How Tony met his co-founder in Top-Consultant.

00:06:26 - How Tony decided to leave his Consulting job to start Top-Consultant and the steps he put in place to ensure he could do so.

00:08:58 - How Tony and his Co-Founder developed their understanding of the recruitment industry when starting Top-Consulting and how they identified the market need for their business.

00:12:52 - How Top-Consultant overcame the challenge of being the first in the industry doing what they were doing and how the they grew the business in the early days.

00:19:32 - How Top-Consultant defended its position in the market against copy cat businesses looking to emulate their success.

00:21:17 - How Top-Consultant grew from an online job board in to a careers business with multiple offerings.

00:27:28 - The common challenges Consultants have when it comes to sales and how to overcome them.

00:33:59 - The impact LinkedIn has had when it comes to sales and marketing in Consulting.

00:37:20 - The common blockers that stop Consultants embracing social media like LinkedIn for business.

00:40:40 - How Tony built his massive LinkedIn Network.

00:43:58 - Tony’s advice on how you can use Social Media to help find your next role.

00:51:55 - How Top-Consultant has been able to stay relevant and keep its dominant market position for such a long time and what you can learn from their success.

00:55:29 - The importance of listening and how to assess the market demand for your product.

00:58:48 - The common traits Tony sees in successful entrepreneurs he works with.

01:07:15 - What you should consider when developing your ‘minimum viable product’ for the Consulting industry.

01:13:02 - What Tony would do differently if he was building Top-Consultant today.

01:16:17 - Tony’s book recommendations…these won’t be what you’re expecting!

01:21:30 - Tony’s closing advice for you whether you’re just starting out in Consulting, In the middle grades or approaching Partner level.

01:29:30- How to get in touch with Tony.

Episode 26 - Jo Miles - Master Your Transition

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"Most of the time we're more afraid of being seen as successful than we are of our fear of failure"

Today’s guest is Jo Miles. Jo is an Executive Coach and the founder of Master Your Transition, her Coaching and Consulting business.

Drawing upon two decades of Management Consulting and Coaching expertise, Jo empowers and supports individuals, teams and organisations to explore challenges, gain insight and take practical steps to achieve and sustain change.

Jo is a Coach and trusted advisor to senior Partners at some of the worlds biggest consulting firms and has worked with clients at the likes of Strategy &, Baringa Partners and North Highland to name but a few.

We cover some really interesting topics in today’s interview including:

How Jo became a Coach

What Coaching is, who should consider it and why it’s important for your career.

The common challenges Jo finds clients struggle with and her advice on how to deal with them

How you can tell a good Coach from a bad one and the questions you should ask when assessing whether a Coach is right for you.

The importance of using Coaching as a positive tool for improvement and not a negative tool to deal with poor performance

And much much more!

Jo was a great guest and gave some fantastic insights in to an area of the industry that many people have heard about but very few have experienced.

If you’re looking to take your career to the next level and want to understand more about how Coaching can help you do this then this interview is a must listen!

You can find out more about Master Your Transition at http://www.masteryourtransition.co.uk/ 

You can find out more about Jo on Linked In at https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanna-miles-0283461/ 

Specific things we discuss in this show:

Selecting your Coach – following our interview Jo wanted to add a key point on how to select your coach related to understanding their CPD. Enter Jo: “Please note that CPD can mean attending conferences, training courses, academic lectures and supervision.  Supervision is an important aspect of CPD, as it shows Coaches are consciously seeking to develop themselves and their practice through working with a supervisor”

Tatiana bachkirova - https://www.brookes.ac.uk/business/about/staff/myprofile/?wid=bus-academic-list&op=full&uid=p0035809

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey - http://amzn.eu/d/62NyrJC

The Chimp Paradox by Stephen Peters - http://amzn.eu/d/3aF7ggs

Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter - http://amzn.eu/d/3c1Obmh  

Intelligence In The Flesh by Guy Claxton - http://amzn.eu/d/8V5Mv2Z

Act Like A Leader, Think Like A Leader by Herminia Ibarra - http://amzn.eu/d/8j85oGk  

Presence by Amy Cuddy - http://amzn.eu/d/9M6cIKx   

Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on Power Poses - https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en  

Mastery by Robert Greene - http://amzn.eu/d/7yuT5uP   

What we talk about:

00:01:35 – Jo’s background and how she got to where she is today. 

00:03:55 – How Jo got in to Coaching and became a full time Coach.

00:13:02 – What Coaching is and who can benefit from it.

00:16:01 – The types of challenges that Coaching can help you with and the common challenges Jo’s clients come to her with.

00:21:00 – The benefit of Coaching vs self-analysis.

00:23:34 – The common misconceptions people have about Coaching and Jo’s responses to them.

00:30:45 – The commonalties and differences in those who work with a Coach.

00:37:55 – The challenges those at different grades face and how these change as Consultants climb the career ladder.

00:46:24 – How you can get the most from Coaching.

00:51:04 – How you can select the best Coach for you and the questions you should ask any prospective Coach to ensure they’re a good fit.

01:02:14 – What Managing/Senior Partners should consider when selecting a Coach to work with their firm.

01:09:13 – What junior Consultants should consider if they’re interested in getting Coaching.

01:14:10 – Jo’s book recommendations.

01:19:48 – Jo’s closing advice for you whether you’re just starting out in Consulting, In the middle grades or approaching Partner level.

01:29:00 - How to get in touch with Jo.

Episode 25 - Matt Rogan - Two Circles

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“The best thing you can do for anyone in your business is help teach them to be a leader next time around the block. Help them understand that it’s an ambiguous world of making tough choices but help explain the rationale of the choices you’ve made”

Today’s Guest is Matt Rogan, Matt is chairman and co-founder of Two Circles. Exclusively working with sports rights-holders, Two Circles is part strategy consultancy, part digital agency, and part data and analytics house.

Since co-founding the business in 2011, Two Circles has grown rapidly to a team of 150 people across the UK, North America and Europe.

Following the sale of the majority stake in the business to WPP in 2015, Matt took up the role as Chairman. Supporting and challenging the Two Circles management team to deliver bigger and better results across all areas of the business.

In addition to his role at Two Circles Matt is a published author and has been featured in the likes of the Harvard Business Review and the Journal of Sports Management.

We go in to detail on a whole range of topics in this interview including:

What led Matt and his co-founders to start Two Circles and the structures they put in place to set it up for success.

Leading a ‘millennial’ team and the lessons for anyone looking to grow a young, dynamic organisation.

The importance of process and systems in building a business, even at the start up phase, and how this helped Matt and the team grow rapidly avoiding many of the issues that new businesses face.

How Matt and his co-founders achieved work life balance while leading a rapidly growing business.

What to do if you’re a graduate looking to follow a career in sport.

And much much more!

I really enjoyed this conversation with Matt and took so much away from what he had to say. If you’re looking for clear, practical advice on how to grow your own consulting business or practice area then you’re going to love this interview.

You can find out more about Two Circles at – http://insidetwocircles.com/

You can find out more about Matt on Linked In – https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattrogan/

And Twitter – https://twitter.com/mattrogansport?lang=en

Or drop him an email at Matt.Rogan@insidetwocircles.com

Specific Things We Discuss In the Show:

Lane 4 - https://www.lane4performance.com/   

Adrian moorhouse - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_Moorhouse

Dom moorhouse - http://dommoorhouse.com/

Greg Searle - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Searle

Mastering Soft Skills by Julian Vyner - http://amzn.eu/d/fsSA1L0            

Players by Matthew Futterman - http://amzn.eu/d/fDflklv   

Managing the professional services firm by David Maister - http://amzn.eu/d/jc9ee62

What we talk about:

00:02:16 – Matt’s background and how he got to where he is today.

00:06:29 – Matt’s advice for Graduates looking to pursue a career in sport.

00:09:39 – The importance of being interested in both sport and the business of sport if you’re looking to break in to the industry.

00:11:16 – How Matt met one of his co-founders Gareth Balch and how they decided to launch the business along with their third co-founder, Matt’s wife Claire.

00:16:41 – The questions Matt asked himself and his co-founders before deciding to set up Two Circles.

00:19:04 – The challenges that having 2 of the 3 co-founders as a married couple brought and how Matt, Claire and Gareth overcame them.

00:24:41 – How Matt and Claire balanced their work and personal lives whilst working all hours to set up Two Circles in the early days.

00:30:40 – The key things Matt and the team put in place in Two Circles early on to set them up for rapid growth and future success.

00:34:45 – Why Matt and the co-founders divided their roles and responsibilities from the start of the business and how it was key to their growth.

00:36:22 – How Matt and the co-founders approached their business strategy definition and what you can learn from it.

00:39:30 – The key skills and roles you need in your business to set it up for success.

00:45:42 – The challenges Two Circles faced as it grew and how Matt and the team had to adapt to overcome them.

00:51:46 – How Two Circles develops deep, long lasting, relationships with their clients.

00:55:09 – Why most Consultancies are terrible at Marketing and what they should be doing instead.

00:59:07 – Matt’s Marketing advice for Consulting Partners looking to do it differently and stand out from the crowd.

01:03:11 – How Two Circles track the ROI on their own B2B Marketing activity.

01:07:00 – Matt’s advice for growing and leading a diverse, millennial workforce.

01:17:39 – The importance of bringing your team on the growth journey of the business and creating a collaborative, open culture.

01:23:34 – Matt’s Book Recommendations.

01:26:41 - Matt's closing advice for you whether you’re just starting out in Consulting, In the middle grades or approaching Partner level.

01:30:45 – How to get in touch with Matt.