Working as an independent consultant is not always an intended destination. Such was the case with Netherlands-based Talmix consultant, Arthur Mathysen Gerst. Hailing from the fleet industry and having headed up various organisations from London to Sao Paolo, Arthur’s interpretation of independent consulting and getting down to the execution of advice takes a slightly different, and even somewhat controversial, approach to the norm.
Understanding organisational strategy and driving operational growth is in Arthur’s make up. Serving as the Managing Director for LeasePlan in Poland, Brazil and Belgium as well as heading up GE Capital EMEA – Fleet Services, Arthur is no stranger when it comes to understanding the importance of organisational strategy that is realistic, and achievable. So, it’s no surprise that he holds some candid, and even controversial, opinions on the independent consulting market in the world today and the way that organisations accept and implement advice from the consultants working closely with them. And it’s this insight that places him in a unique position of being able to comment from both the decision-maker as well as the independent consultant’s viewpoints.
“There is sometimes a questionable perception of external consultants within the corporate world”, he says. “Some arrive at an organisation and simply have not taken the time to get to know the make-up operationally of business. Many may forget that sometimes you simply need to get hands and feet dirty and truly get into the mechanics that make that organisation move. There are others who think that merely giving their advice on something is enough to get by, and get paid. The risk with a theoretical approach only, is that very often, that advice is mainly based on theory books. Any consultant should be prepared to get into the detail.” And Arthur is no stranger to getting into the detail. Having worked with several private equity firms and other organisations within the fleet industry, Arthur has extensive experience providing his insight on strategic & market-related information, guidance on emerging and developing markets as well as trends and competitors within the fleet industry.
An expert in his field
His decision to become an independent consultant wasn’t a conscious one. It was, in fact, quite the opposite. Given the amount of knowledge and expertise built up over the years, Arthur demonstrates a wealth of knowledge, especially when it comes to the fleet industry on a global level, having worked in organisations all over the world and rendering him as a sought-after commodity and expert in his field. “I’ve enjoyed being able to provide my knowledge and the experiences I have built up over time, in order to empower someone else. Although independent consulting may not be my long-term goal, providing independent advice and working with private equity firms has also allowed me to also keep abreast of industry developments and trends; which company is looking to acquire another company, which emerging markets are ones to keep an eye on. That type of thing.”
Advice with real content
Arthur firmly believes that the power of a good consultant or business advisor lies in how willing they are to understand all the floors in the organisation. “Good advice comes from someone who is prepared to go from the boardroom, all the way down to the shop floor. That’s why the most experienced business leaders are the ones who started on the shop floor and truly understand every single floor along the away, until they reach the boardroom.” He reflects on his own experiences working with independent consultants, within his corporate employment years. “A high value consultant, delivering advice with real content, should go deep and explore all the floors in an operation. If they don’t take the time to do that, it will always remain a paper exercise,” he adds.
Arthur is a strategist and knowledge-expert with transferable skills that far outweigh any CV and profile description. But there’s something else about Arthur. He’s also someone who can execute, as well as advise. A doer. And someone who does it well.