View From the Spire: Everyone’s at it again…(Part II)
March 2, 2010
Following last weeks’ post about tightly clad spandex fiend David Lee Roth now offering business consulting (finding the brown M&M in your business bag….click here for the sweet nectar of chocolate covered business advice for peanuts!) and having received information from several industry colleagues in the last week, I’m thinking “whatever (or specifically whoever!) next”….
Let’s have a look at a few pieces of recent ongoing evidence:
World’s worst banker – Fred Goodwin (you will note I have deliberately removed the honorific title as this should be reserved for those of significant rank or status) recently assumed a consulting role at Scottish architects firm RMJM (standing for Rich Morrison Junior Morrison?).
This appointment was met with surprise by all as despite advising on “international” strategy, he will likely not add any value to existing or potential projects the architects explore. Infact rumour has it his appointment has already brought a significant negative effect, as my sources confirm that Glasgow City Council, who with RMJM have a significant part to play on the development of the Commonwealth Games in 2014 have demanded Goodwin be removed from taking any part in these projects. Goodwin then surely removes himself to the Middle and Far East to focus on anything that’s not a political hot potato – good luck!
Let’s celebrate this ineptitude, by watching an amusing version of our national anthem with an RBS tinged Fred the Shred undertone here – it’s an oldie but a goodie…
Not consulting, but proving there’s no experience like…er, no experience (and this may be going back a bit now) but why oh why oh why oh why did the Scottish Football Association take on a former football player as CEO (“And Smith Did Score….!”) when the previous intelligent, smart, articulate incumbent in David Taylor was clearly a smarter person who still achieved a fraction of what he could have due to the impatience of the supporters. I understand that Gordon Smith is partially qualified IFA – perhaps he should apply for Duncan Hodges job – but if supporters are the ones to build you up, only to knock you down when things do not go your way, what chance does Smith really have running a sizeable commercial SME?
That aside, if you fancy a wee trip down memory lane to remind yourself of Gordon’s real skills – watch the extra time highlights of the 1983 Cup Final between Manchester United against Brighton when 6 minutes in, our “friend” Smithy – who played for Brighton and “… must score….” sadly didn’t…
Returning to rugby football, there are a number of key players who have made very clever, relevant moves down the consulting or self employed route. Firstly, Scotland, British Lions and lest we forget Scottish Claymore’s favourite, Andrew Gavin Hastings – Big Gav – who created Hastings International, working in rugby and sport but using this cleverly as a vehicle to develop his, and brother Scott’s, after career income by partnering the likes of MasterCard and HSBC as an attractive addition to any corporate schmoozing.
Fundamentally, it’s in keeping with their skills, experience and interests but more over uses their personas and likeable nature to work for them rather than just choosing any old industry to cut your teeth in. Gavin and Scott merged/sold to Platinum One to work on wider event and sponsorship management opportunities in wider sport. Gavin is now a founder of Positive Leadership which advises and consults on senior managers being equipped with the skills and the confidence to consistently win business – Gavin’s sporting role as Captain appears perfect for and relevant for that.
Rowan Shepherd, another Scots rugby International, set up Red Sky Management – playing to his strengths, and working little black book, as an official RFU player agent but also working with colleagues to deliver relevant business solutions to achieve results. Rowan looks after Jason White, Chris Cusiter, Ben Kilner, Euan Burton amongst many others. Box ticked!
I equally know many actors who after short spells with highlights including bit parts in Casualty, Eastenders, on the stage (everywhere but London) and even some interesting panto roles in the Highlands have been brave enough to stick to what they know through setting up children’s theatres, promotional companies or through modelling companies. In this sense it all appears to be a. relevant and most importantly b. working.
Having worked in sport, and in particular many years in the business of football, I have heard countless stories of Footballers who as the final whistle blows, tend to veer towards bar and nightclub ownership, who loose sizeable chunks of the financial payoff from a testimonial match in a fluid, well practiced movement of a pen on a dead cert legally binding investment and a few free pints of beer. Giving these athletes some credit – they generally tended to trust the ROI to others to deliver: managing their business interests honestly and appropriately and equally to ensure that the revenue is brought in. However, taking that credit away again, when did over pampered football players ever understand what it takes to recruit someone, undertake due diligence, manage employees and ultimately where did they gain experience to understand a balance sheet and identify any tiny cracks as and when their investment slides into trading freefall?
Is there a lesson to be learned amongst all of this? And what do you do when time is called on your day job? The answer seems to be to set up a consultancy of course!
As can be seen above, and is well known in certain circles that we are all the same. From senior business managers clinging to their polly pocket protected Prince 2 certificates, to well known entrepreneurs maintaining business bounce-back-ability despite the walls of their empires crumbling around them while incredulous staff run for the hills. Or sportsmen and women who just believe in earning a living once the lights fade on their sporting careers. It appears that whatever our background, capability or experience, business consulting is far from dead…but actually thriving in these challenging times – especially if it’s not really your bag.
Far from preaching an inability, David Jenkins, Director of Fettes Management, comes from 15+ years extensive experience of Senior Managerial roles in sport, leisure, technology, ecommerce and charity. For further information please see David’s CV here.