Interim Book Launch: 90 Days to Profit
Claire Lauder interviews one of her Interims, Steve Shoulder, about his new book '90 days to profit'.
How long have you been doing interim work?
My first assignment was in 1996 so it is 21 years now.
How many assignments have you done in that time?
I have been very lucky. I have successfully completed 29 assignments in 20 different industries in that time. I have worked with some fantastic people and some fantastic businesses.
Do you get most of your work through specialist agencies like Interim Partners or do you use your own network?
I must confess that I am not great at marketing my own services so I tend to get most of my work through specialist agencies like Interim Partners. I am a big believer in letting people do what they do best. The agencies are great at finding me work and I am good at delivering real value for my clients.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have taken the last year to write a book which is coming out on 25th April. It is all about the process that I use to transform businesses and it is written in the form of a novel with strong characters. As well as being instructional I would like to think that it is a good read. The people who have reviewed the book so far have said that it is great but of course they all know me!
What made you decide to do this?
It is something that I have been thinking about for a long time. I have always been acutely aware that there is only one of me and I can only work with one client at a time. There are thousands of companies out there that could use my help but I will never get the opportunity to work with all of them. I decided to write this book to give the benefit of my 21 years of successful business transformations to a much wider audience. This book will be of interest to consultants, interims, business owners, PE houses, banks, senior managers and in fact anyone who has an interest in positively transforming a business.
Where do we get the book?
We have a website where you can register right now to get the book for free on the 25th of April only. Just go to http://90daystoprofit.co.uk/book/ and you will see the form to register for the free book. There is also a launch event taking place at the IOD Cafe Duke on 26th April at 7pm. There will be signed copies of the book available at this event but they must register at our Eventbrite page here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/book-launch-90-days-to-profit-tickets-32684676748
Why are you giving the book away for free?
The interim lifestyle has been very kind to me so I am not doing this to make money. I want to get this book into the hands of as many people as possible in the shortest possible time.
I know how I felt when I first started out in my interim career and it was not easy going into a client with no real structured way of approaching their problems which is why I developed this methodology. I want to give everyone who needs this knowledge a leg up so that they can get great results by using a tried and proven method.
What is your method?
It is a process called the 7 Steps to Profit and the word PROFITS is an acronym for every one of the steps so that it is easy for you to remember. For example the first letter P stands for Problems and it means that before you do anything you must first establish what problem you are going to fix. In every assignment that I have been in, I have never fixed what I was brought in to fix. It is always something else which is why I make such a big deal about getting this step right.
What do the other letters stand for?
P = Problems
R = Review
O = Opportunities
F = Fine Tune
I = Implement and Test
T = Tracking
S = Shape and roll out
The whole point of this process is that you can explain it to anyone in 30 seconds and they "get it" straight away. This is key to its effectiveness. People will follow a process that is simple and that they can instinctively understand.
So can anyone use this process to transform any business?
I believe that they can do exactly that. I have done it in 20 different industries in which I had no previous experience. If you have a real desire to positively transform a business then this process can work for you.
Are there any special skills involved?
Well it helps if you have a good basic level of intelligence and the drive to make things happen. There is no need for any specialist knowledge as this process is self contained. It certainly will help if you have things like influencing skills, presentation skills, good standards of communication etc. Also, the actual process itself will not let you move to the next step without crossing what I like to call the "hurdles".
What is an example of a hurdle?
Well I gave an example earlier about making sure that you have firmly established what problem it is that you are going to fix before you move forward. The hurdle in this example is that you cannot move to the actual resolution phase until this problem has been clearly articulated and communicated to every person in the business by the most senior person such as the CEO or MD. If you have not done this, you cannot move forward.
So the process is self regulating in a sense? It makes you lock in the important stuff before getting into the next part of the process?
Exactly right. I have seen many good managers and consultants get sucked into fixing things, which is all well and good, but if it is not the "one thing" that everyone agrees will have the biggest impact on the business then the chances of getting it right are very slim. You can spend 6 months fixing things and not really moving the business forward. On the other hand, you can spend 3 months fixing the one thing that will make the difference and you can take a business from loss to profit in that time scale. I know that this is possible because I have done it.
What can you offer people who would like to find out more about your methodology in practice?
I am running a live webinar on 3rd May for anyone who would like to find out how to do this really well. It is completely free of charge and it is only 45 minutes. They can register here:
Claire Lauder is Director - Manufacturing & Engineering