Having spent over 10 years working in a blue-chip consulting career, Philip moved into an independent consultant role where he has spent the last 15 years working predominantly in Private Equity. There are 3 components of his experience that help Philip to be effective at supporting clients: 1. cross-functional and cross-industry consulting experience, 2. line management experience in several portfolio companies and 3. PE portfolio management: having a shareholder perspective.
We interviewed Philip to learn more his experience, as well as his most significant accomplishment and what the benefits are to hiring an independent consultant.
My Talmix project:
My project was a PMO role, planning the integration of an acquisition for a PE portfolio company. Within a week of contact with Talmix, I had met the PE house, discussed the project with the company’s COO, and started working on the project.
While this industry sector was new to me, I utilised specific experience from previous work including project planning in similar situations, and software product management. We focused ruthlessly on key areas of opportunities to accelerate savings: this module delivered ahead of expectations, leading the project to finish ahead of schedule.
What makes a project successful?
Clear, shared objectives. There is often great urgency (for better or worse!) in project situations, so the consultant’s role can include defining and structuring the problem/ opportunity and we start with incomplete information. But a continual process of ensuring expectations are aligned and being met goes a long way towards establishing an effective partnership that achieves the goal.
Most significant accomplishment:
Following an introduction from a CFO I had worked with before, I joined a company that had run into financial difficulty following a US-UK merger.
In this product management role, I managed a team of 11 across the UK and US. The ‘business-as-usual’ included solving day-to-day issues and launching some great new products. In addition, we identified strategic customer segments to focus on, designed a desirable global org structure and transitioned to it. I also worked to break down the organisations “silos”: we defined and embedded structured processes for more efficient product development and product sales.
The changes helped us to double-digit growth in a static market and aligned the organisation around a portfolio of products that would continue to meet needs of strategic customers and ensure future growth. The company was successfully sold to another PE buyer; my final responsibility was to hire a successor.
Best bits of being an independent consultant?
As an independent, you can be flexible to pursue projects and work with clients that are of most interest and continue to help you grow. You are also able to balance work projects – which can inevitably be all-consuming – with other opportunities and interests.
Within each project, I enjoy the clear focus on genuine value creation for the client, rather than worrying about unproductive hierarchy/ politics. It is amazing how much more productive we can be with clear alignment.
Why work with an independent consultant?
Clearly this varies across companies and situations. Clients typically benefit from external challenge, and new perspective. Mid-sized portfolio companies often lack the management depth to pursue multiple projects and/or initiatives as quickly and thoroughly as they - and their shareholders - would like. Independent consultants can help hugely here, working flexibly and sensitively with management teams, while avoiding the high billing rates, overhead costs and pyramid structures of traditional consulting firms.
If you are interested in Philip’s profile or consultants with similar experience, contact Talmix today and see how we can help solve your company’s business challenges. Talmix – the home of independent business talent.