The Portfolio Executives

Insights

Going International – North America

As a Portfolio Executive, North America can be a very attractive market. The exchange rate is very favourable (June 2024) and the fee rates that people are commanding for Portfolio Executive work in North America are generally higher than we can easily achieve in the UK.

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Going international in Europe

If you have a portfolio executive offer that has some success in the UK and you’re now thinking to develop a European presence, then it can be a great way to extend what you’re doing.  But recognise some of the barriers to going beyond your existing client base in the UK and consider what tactics you want to use and the trade-offs you are prepared to accept.

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Do you aspire to be a Perennial?

There’s been lots of talk about Millennials and Boomers and Generation Z but the most encouraging phrase that I’ve heard that characterises an age group is Perennials.   

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Going International: as a Core Strategy

As you build your portfolio executive client base you may, from day one, want to be international.  There are a number of people that I’ve worked with where, because of their existing relationships, when they step into a portfolio executive work style it makes sense for them to start with an international perspective.   

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Does being a carer subject you to ageism?

We have seen for centuries how women have been discriminated against because when they become available to have children, employers have seen them as ‘at risk of pregnancy’.  When they take time out to bring up their children, their future careers are constrained. 

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Scaling your Portfolio Executive Business: 1-2-1 and 1-2-Many

As your portfolio matures, there are opportunities to add additional elements to your offer and use that to increase your effective fee rate. So, if your primary offer as a portfolio executive is part-time responsibility for a function in a smaller organisation then that’s great, but now consider these other two offers that you can add to the picture.

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Ageism – Remaining human in a world that worships toil

I was intrigued by an article in The Guardian, in November 2023, where they were talking about how work has conquered every day of the week and how do we remain human in a world that worships toil? This is a particular challenge as we get older, when we recognise that our capacity to provide the same level of activity and, our desire to provide the same level of activity, can be significantly diminished.

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Scaling your Portfolio Executive Business: Providing more value to your clients

It’s really interesting to see how as your portfolio matures, there are opportunities to add additional elements to your offer and use that to increase your effective fee rate. So, if your primary offer as a portfolio executive is part-time responsibility for a function in a smaller organisation then that’s great, but now consider these other offers that you can add to the picture.

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Spot the ageist stereotype

Just to imagine that you are confronted with these positive and negatives views of people in the workplace.  I invite you to go through this list and answer this question, “which relate to younger people which relate to older people”? 

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Scaling your Portfolio Executive Business: Building an ecosystem

Let’s imagine you’ve got the stage where you’ve got two or three clients. You’ve got a basic Portfolio Executive workstyle, but you want to scale this.  Of course, it would be nice to have another couple of clients to move to four or five, maybe even six.   It would be attractive to perhaps be a little bit busier with some of your existing clients.  But my advice to people at this stage, when they’re trying to scale their Portfolio Executive business is to focus on pitching at a higher fee rate for your next client.

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Enjoying your work after 70: How do you deliver the optimum value whilst having the most pleasure?

I remember a very, very experienced professional who’d had some big corporate jobs and as he got older and more elderly, I would meet with him regularly.  He told me that now, as he moved into his mid-seventies, all he believe he should do was watch and pray.  To acknowledge this, he had a lapel badge with a heron.  This is a bird that stands very still watching and then goes in and makes a brief intervention to catch a fish.

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Understanding Stereotypes of Ageing

From the research that The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Report on Ageism drew upon, there is a very useful catalogue of different stereotypes, based upon different institutional settings that are represented across different countries.

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Scaling your Portfolio Executive business: Increasing your fees

Let’s imagine you’ve got the stage where you’ve got two or three clients. You’ve got a basic Portfolio Executive workstyle, but you want to scale this.  Of course, it would be nice to have another couple of clients to move to four or five, maybe even six.   It would be attractive to perhaps be a little bit busier with some of your existing clients.  But my advice to people at this stage, when they’re trying to scale their Portfolio Executive business is to focus on pitching at a higher fee rate for your next client.

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Back to basics

We can get caught up in moving forward with our Portfolio Executive workstyle and lose sight of what we’re really trying to achieve.  We can lose sight of why we are motivated to do this in the first place.

That’s what I mean by back to basics.

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Making Your Future Work – Consider a Portfolio Executive workstyle

If you have been following the different things that we have been talking about over the previous weeks and months, you will understand that I’m passionate about people having a working life that makes the most of everything they were created to be and enables that working life to support the wider lifestyle that they want now and in the future. 

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Ageism and the World Health Organization

I recently came across a report, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) : The Global Report on Ageism in 2021.

One of the things that is interesting in this report is how they see the definition of ageism.

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Enjoying your work after seventy: How much responsibility do you want?

I remember a very, very experienced professional who’d had some big corporate jobs and as he got older and more elderly, I would meet with him regularly.  He told me that now, as he moved into his mid-seventies, all he believe he should do was watch and pray.  To acknowledge this, he had a lapel badge with a heron.  This is a bird that stands very still watching and then goes in and makes a brief intervention to catch a fish.

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Know the Season: Part 2

In the first article we looked at the cycle of the financial year and the cycle of the school year to explore how much this impacted the way your clients and their customers respond to sales and marketing activities.

In this article we will look at two longer running seasons: the economic cycle and the season of your life.

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The Power of a Manifesto

As I work with Portfolio Executives, there are two things that become increasingly important. One is to help them to have a distinctive point of view about the world in which they inhabit and the second thing is for them to develop a stronger sense of personal purpose about what they’re trying to do through their work. One of the very powerful ways to start to articulate this and bring it into focus, is to develop a document that I call a manifesto.

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Know the Season – 1 of 2

As city dwellers, too often we lose track of the seasons.  For many of us we step out of one climate-controlled environment into another, home to car/bus/underground to office to gym or home to shopping centre, restaurant or cinema.  There are no seasonal foods any more with everything available anywhere anytime.  We are insulated from the rich experience of spring, summer, autumn, winter.

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Lifestyle Business versus a Death-style Business.

I was struck by the pejorative attitude with which so many commentators in the entrepreneurial world refer to a lifestyle business. Somehow the suggestion is you’re not a real entrepreneur if you’re running a lifestyle business. Somehow you haven’t got what it takes. You haven’t got the ambition. You will not be successful if you have a lifestyle business.

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The Capability Attitude: Build not fix

What is the ‘Capability Attitude’ and why is it about ‘Build not Fix’?  For senior professionals, whether as employees, interims or consultants, they are indoctrinated with the mantra: ‘don’t just bring me problems; bring me solutions’. 

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AI and Ageism

With the recent excitement around ChatGPT and Google’s response with Bard, Artificial intelligence is on the agenda as never before.  With the Goldman Sachs report highlighting the threats to employment for certain classes of workers, it has become something that is central to people’s perception of how our working lives are going to change.

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Making your Future Work: Maximizing your learning and development

As you get more senior in your career, increasingly what people are going to value is less of what you do.   Now what matters is what you have learned, what you known, the different range of experiences you have got and the skills you’ve developed.  Skills, knowledge and experience are the future for you as you become more senior.   

There are number of ways in which you can maximize your learning and development.   

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When is Reference to Age Relevant?

In an earlier article I talked about how the media has so much impact on the way we see ourselves.  It is interesting how a current campaign of the Centre for Ageing Better is calling out many of the things that the media do by default.   

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Understanding your Adaptability Character: Thinking Style

Within the AQAI framework one dimension is Character.  Character is a way that you can understand how people are motivated best in the context of change.  In this article we are going to look at what the Character of Thinking Style means and how it can affect your organisation.  

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Getting Enjoyment Beyond your Niche

When I work with Portfolio Executives, at the beginning of our relationship the most crucial thing is to get really clear about the niche that you can use to present yourself to the world.

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Making your Future Work: Plan your Promotion from Day One 

When you join a new employer, they haven’t hired you just for what you can do today, they have also hired you with a view of the potential you have to contribute to the business in the future.  To create the very best in environment in order to thrive, you need to start to plan your promotion from Day One.

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Ageism: Older People’s Commissioner

Wales is the first country in the UK to appoint an older people’s commissioner for Wales.  We’ve had Children Commissioners for a long time and the Welsh commissioner has been in post for a number of years now.  She has stated four key objectives as her commissioner priorities. 

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Developing your Adaptability Ability: Unlearn

Within the AQai framework there is a dimension called Ability.  Ability assesses the skills that you can develop to be more effective in your adaptability and one of those key skills is Unlearn.  Unlearn may feel a very strange term.  Let’s explain what Unlearn really means

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Ageism: Reflections on the Oscar Season

As I write this, in March 2023, we have just had the most recent iteration of the Oscars and there has been some backslapping, I would say, about the fact that an older woman has won an Oscar.  It is very interesting to see the way that awareness of promoting older women has grown within the acting community.  Coincidentally, I listened this morning to Desert Island Discs, the Michael Caine celebration, where he was talking about his life and his continuing role as an actor into his late eighties, early nineties.

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Making your future work : Make the most of your first 90 days

When you get a new position, either because you’re joining your employer for the first time, or you’ve got a significant change of role, the first 90 days will set the scene for how you’re perceived within the organization.  Your first 90 days will often afford you opportunities to do things that will become more difficult as time passes.

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The 2021 Census and Making Your Future Work

The most recent census in England and Wales was conducted in 2021, relatively recently. Census Day was during lockdown and the pandemic. Many people were on furlough or working from home. But there are still some very interesting things that emerged, which I think make a big difference when we start to think about the opportunities for us to make the most of our working lives as we get older.

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Understanding your Adaptability Character: Motivation Style

Within the AQai adaptability framework, a key dimension is Character.  Character is your preference for a particular way of responding to the challenge of change.  One of the things that AQai feels it’s important to measure is your Motivation Style.  As with all the character traits, there’s no right answer or wrong answer.  Motivation Style is measured across a spectrum where at one end you have those who prefer to ‘Play to Win’, and at the other end, a preference to ‘Play to Protect’

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Developing your Adaptability Ability: Resilience

Within the AQai framework, one of the dimensions of adaptability is Ability.  This represents the sub-dimension of adaptability skills that you can learn, develop and strengthen through explicit intervention. One of these things is resilience.

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 Transitioning to a Freelance Workstyle: Part 1

When you are used to working in a corporate environment then you derive huge comfort from the fact that others are holding you accountable for what you do. There are a whole set of external interventions that keep you on track.  People working for you demand your attention.

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 Age-Friendly Employers

In autumn 2022, the Centre for Aging Better launched its challenge to sign up employers to the Age-Friendly Employer pledge.  It is fascinating to see what that pledge consists of.  The Centre for Ageing Better believe that as well as being a good thing and the right thing, there is a compelling business case for employers.  The job market is changing.

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Is Your Corporate Relationship on Life Support?

One of the things that I have constantly been surprised about is how, even if I go through all the logical reasons why you need to plan for your 2nd Half Career, people like you are very slow to act.  It may be clear why you’re not going to be able to sustain your corporate career for the rest of your working life and why a Portfolio Executive workstyle makes absolute logical sense for you.

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Is Ageism Putting your Organisation at Risk?

I try to keep an eye out for recent cases where ageism has impacted the future of an organisation.  The truth is that more and more employment-related issues that come to dispute are featuring ageism as one of the reasons that employers are having to pay out at industrial tribunals

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Understanding your Adaptability Ability: Mindset

The work of people like Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology, recognizes the power of a positive approach to the way that you see the world.  In the Adaptability Quotient, one of the abilities that you can develop and grow is the ability to have a mindset that is adaptable, a positive mindset.

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Trends in retirement age

It’s very interesting to look at how different societies are responding to the changing age of their populations.  Some societies, with a rapidly growing young population, are responding to the challenge of providing futures for younger people by introducing lower retirement ages.

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Understanding your Adaptability Environment: Emotional Health

As far as the environmental profile is concerned in the AQai assessment, environment is all about the situation that you find yourself in and your ability to influence, adapt or renegotiate that environment.  The emotional health score is characterised as how often do you feel sadness or stress. 

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When is it time to start thinking about your 2nd Half Career?

I am constantly surprised how people’s 2nd Half Career milestone creeps up on them without them being aware.  Then, as the forces come into play that limit their future career progression, they are surprised that they’ve run out of options and they’re looking at a future of work that is entirely unsatisfactory.

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Is my Portfolio Executive Workstyle Making my Future Work?

Your Portfolio Executive Workstyle needs to be sustainable, rewarding and enjoyable.  It’s not enough, in my view, for it to just keep you busier and busier.  You don’t want to be moving from being enslaved by a Corporate Workstyle, to becoming enslaved with your own Portfolio Executive Workstyle.

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Developing your Adaptability Ability: Mental Flexibility

Mental flexibility in the Adaptability Quotient framework promoted by AQai.io is a learnable skill.  It’s something that you can develop and grow in over time.  The simplest way of thinking about mental flexibility is that it’s your ability to hold apparently contradictory or paradoxical ideas in tension.

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Ageism is not just for Older People.

There are very good reasons that most discussion about ageism has focussed on discrimination against older people.  However, ageism for younger people is deeply engrained in government policy and social norms.

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Using a four-day week to Start a Portfolio Executive workstyle

More and more employers are recognising the benefits of flexible working.  In fact, some employers are actively moving towards a four-day work week.  Whatever the implications of a four-day work week or flexible working, it can be extremely valuable to negotiate to reduce the number of days a week you work for your current employer.

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Understanding your Adaptability Environment: Company Support

Adaptability and the measures that the AQai adaptability assessment provides look at three dimensions: Ability, Character, and Environment.  Within the Environment dimension, Company Support is a critical measure of the extent to which your employees feel the organisation values their contributions and cares about their well-being.

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Can I be a Portfolio Executive if I’m over 60?

It is certainly better to transition to a Portfolio Executive workstyle sooner rather than later.  When I first started working with people wanting to transition to a Portfolio Executive workstyle, the people that I was working with tended to be 5 to 10 years younger than me. 

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What can I Learn from an Ageism Case?

The number of ageism cases coming to Employment Tribunals has been steadily rising.  Recently I had a look at the report of a case because I wanted to understand what kinds of things are going on when ageism becomes part of court litigation. 

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How can I Multitask as a Portfolio Executive?

For many of us, we have had a working life where we have one job where we’re accountable to one set of people and we are doing one thing.  When you become a Portfolio Executive, this no longer applies.  You will have multiple clients who expect the best of you. 

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Developing your Adaptability Ability: Grit

‘Grit’ is a colloquial term we use to express persistence and the capacity to push through.  In the context of the Adaptability Quotient, it has a much more specific meaning.  Being adaptable is strongly correlated with your capability in Grit.

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12 Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Success

You would imagine that success is something that we all desire.  You would imagine that when we have it, we are delighted and we celebrate it.  But there is a strange phenomenon, that many, many people have lurking in their subconscious, which can ultimately undermine their ability to be successful.  

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Rejecting Client Feedback – The Arrogance Trap?

As a Portfolio Executive you will have a level of confidence in your professional skill, wisdom and insight that you bring into the role as a trusted advisor to your clients.  You may often believe that your client is less expert than you in the field that you’ve chosen. 

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12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Failure

In our current society, we are always encouraged to set goals, set milestones, set KPI’s, in other words, define over and over again what success looks like.  But we are less comfortable with recognising that every time we don’t hit those goals or milestones or KPI’s we are failing.

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Can you measure Adaptability?

When I first looked at this, I was very sceptical.  What does adaptability really mean?  There are lots of responses to this rapidly changing world.  One of the most common things that people are demanding of their teams and organisations is resilience.

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Do I get to do more of what I want the older I get?

The cry of the youngster is, ‘when I grow up, I want to…’, sometimes I want to become…, sometimes I want to do… . When I leave home, I will be able to … .Maybe it’s get that job, be with that person, go to that particular part of the world, have the travel, have the house.

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Can I be a Portfolio Executive if I can’t Sell?

One of the biggest concerns that I hear from people, when we start talking about a Portfolio Executive workstyle, is that they feel they’ve got to learn how to sell.  Many senior professionals have never been in the situation where they’ve seen themselves as a salesperson.

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Why does Adaptability Matter?

We are in a VUCA world : a world in which Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity dominate the environment in which we operate. This creates all sorts of challenges for individuals, teams and organisations.  We are creatures of habit. 

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Is Ageism Real in Employment?

Sexism and racism provide a continuing challenge to the attitudes and culture of organisations and society at large, and have now been adopted under a broader agenda of diversity and inclusion. In the UK the Equality and Human Rights Commission has responsibility for encouraging equality and diversity, eliminating unlawful discrimination, and protecting and promoting the human rights of everyone in Britain.

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10 reasons why being a Contractor won’t Make my Future Work

Earlier in my career I was an IT contractor, working as a software developer, introduced by agencies.  Projects typically ran from three to six and sometimes as long as nine months.  I understand the opportunity that being a contractor can be for people.  It can appear to be more rewarding than permanent salaried employment. 

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12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitudes to Others

We are all leaders of some sort or other.  We don’t need to have a senior position be a leader.  We lead others positively or negative, simply by the way we are with other people.  Ultimately, it’s our attitude to those other people that will determine the leadership that we offer them.

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10 reasons why being an Independent Consultant will not Make my Future Work

Many people as a first step to leaving permanent full time salaried employment think, ‘I can just carry on doing what I’ve been doing, but as an independent freelancer working for my existing employer, then go and find some other organisations that I can be an independent freelancer for’.  This can be a great way to start, if you have a plan to move on from that.

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10 reasons that being an interim won’t make my future work

I talk to many people who have enjoyed the interim workstyle.  They like the excitement of working in a new situation every three to nine months.  The challenge of sorting things out and learning new things suits them.  It can be a great kicker to your mid-career.  But very often, I am talking to them because they realise that it won’t make their future work.

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Mental Health – Focus and Passion

In my work with CEOs, Portfolio Executives and Charity leaders, I regularly see things that are stress factors.  Addressing these is a critical part of what we do with people.  I have had people come to me sent by their business partner because their partner recognises that they are literally working themselves to death.

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12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitudes to Habit

So much of lasting change that we can embed in our lives comes through establishing habits, our attitude to habits is crucial to our long-term success.  We can go out and do a big push to make something happen but the change you can create by doing 1% better every day for 90 days is almost 2.5 times.  Habits are the key, once you’ve established a habit it’s a foundation on which you can build.

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How can I make the most of my holidays as a Portfolio Executive?

I meet many, many people who are freelancers or interims or who have moved into the Portfolio Executive workstyle and see themselves as almost self-employed. The mindset of people who are in that time for money business is, every day that I’m not looking for more work or not earning fees, is a cost. It’s a lost opportunity to make money.

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Essential 8: Financial Freedom

When I was a partner at Arthur Andersen, we were enveloped by the Enron scandal and suddenly a business of 60,000 people came to an end. It was a personal tragedy for many. What struck me was the difference in attitude around the offices.

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12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Self

Your attitude to self is a critical component of your success. I’ve recently become very interested in the thinking behind the model of Voice Dialogue. The people who founded the movement that has become Voice Dialogue realised, in summary, we don’t have one self.

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Cash versus Investment for a Portfolio Executive

As I work with people who’ve got through the initial part of getting their Portfolio Executive workstyle started, I often find there is a tension between taking cash out of the business versus investing in their future. I was talking to one of the Portfolio Executives I work with last week, and he explained that he’s now earning more money than he’s ever earned in his life before then, nearly £120,000 in the last 12 months and yet he feels that he’s constantly short of money.

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My Portfolio Executive Website

When people first start out as a Portfolio Executive. I believe that having their own website is unnecessary. But over time, people do want to have their own web presence and I’m often asked, “What should I have on my website?”

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12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Challenge

In my experience there are very different ways in which people carry an attitude to challenge. I see there are some people who want to go out and pick a fight with the world, and there are others who, when confronted run away and hide. Between these extremes some will step forward in response to those who move towards them, while others will step back.

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Essential 6: Know your true talents

One of my friends was recruiting a recent graduate in IT. This interviewee started to tell him about his time at university organising the annual ski trip. He enthused about arranging it, negotiating deals with the bars, dealing with illness, accidents and unfortunate behaviours, and getting everyone home in one piece. The story was nothing, and yet it was totally relevant to his job.

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12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Planning

It may be a trite truism that failing to plan is planning to fail but planning is an essential attitude for success. Planning is part of an overall process which is often initiated by goal setting. I want to focus on a rhythm of planning that reflects a powerful attitude for success.

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What’s the difference between an Interim and a Portfolio Executive?

A significant proportion of the people who come to me to develop a Portfolio Executive workstyle have been working as interims. And at first sight. they’re not very different. You’re coming into a business and helping them build a function or rebuild a function or cover for a function that for some reason needs external help.  

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Essential 5: Your Personal Brand

If you want to be known for everything, you’ll be known for nothing. Most of us have multiple talents and skills. However, others want to know us as the person who can solve specifically this, or address that. “She’s the fix-it person for turn arounds”. “He’s the guy you call on when you want to launch a product”. Whatever you choose to be, your story, background, and personality, all contribute to this persona or brand.

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12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Gratitude

Success can often be a lonely journey to achieve and there are many bumps along the way but there is a really powerful psychological tool that I have found makes a huge difference to how we see our world. And as we shift our attitude to our world with an attitude for gratitude then somehow the pathway to success seems smoother.

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Mental Health – Psychotic or Self-managing?

It’s hard to miss the increasing call for us to talk about our mental health.  The guilty secret of mental illness that has haunted individuals and families is giving way to increasing openness and recognition that mental health is an issue for us all.  If this was 25 years ago, I’d be very reluctant to share my experience of a very severe manic episode that I had in my late teens.

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Making your Future Work: Is your future doing what you love and loving what you do?

As I write this (Oct 21), the headlines trumpet that job vacancies are at an all-time high. Workers are expected to have more choice and opportunity than ever before.  But for many of us, as we consider our future, we are confronted by two, seemingly unresolvable tensions: our working future with our employer and our career path has lost its promise and yet our financial commitments stretch into a future beyond our hopes of early retirement.

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Essential 4: Courage to Succeed

We may not often see the choices we make as requiring courage.  In fact, too often, we find rational excuses to justify avoiding difficult decisions rather than recognise that we are motivated by fear, uncertainty, and doubt: deep seated emotional responses to the challenge of particular choices. 

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12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Change

Underpinning any desire for success is a desire that things should be different. If you have already achieved success, then you may not want anything to change but most of the people I meet who are successful are not prepared to rest in the status quo.

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12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Opportunity

We all want more success don’t we! When I look back through my life almost all my success has come from my attitude to opportunity. It was Napoleon who said, “Don’t give me great generals, give me lucky generals” and I think the attitude of a lucky general is to see opportunities and then seize them.

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Enabling people to buy through powerful conversations

Many years ago, I trained as a coach and as an executive coach you are taught to ask powerful questions and to engage in conversations which leave people at choice. I firmly believe that the most effective conversations with potential clients are conversations where you enable them to buy, particularly if you are offering them a professional service.

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Freedom & Joy – is This as Good as it Gets?

Working in a big professional services firm, I was waking up the train driver at 5:15am to get into the office by 7am and lucky to be home by 8pm.  I was often at an airport on Sunday afternoon so I could be in a foreign city the night before a time zone shifted start at 8am.  Even on holiday, I needed to reply to e-mails and deal with voicemails for an hour a day.  

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Audio Podcasting and the Portfolio Executive

Audio podcasting has now become a mainstream medium.  You only need to see how the BBC has jumped on the band wagon to realise that it now stands alongside TV, radio and audiobooks as an essential ‘broadcast’ medium. 

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Video and the Portfolio Executive

Social Media organisations have been promoting video as their preferred engagement medium for quite a long time now.  Making videos is more accessible for the average person than ever before.  But I think you want to consider very carefully how you want to use video to build your profile as a Portfolio Executive.

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Building a Pipeline of Opportunities

One of the great advantages of a Portfolio Executive working is that once you’ve got a mature portfolio of 4-6 clients who are staying with you for 4-6 years, then the number of new clients you need to find per year goes down to about 1.

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Can I earn enough as a Portfolio Executive?

We explore what ‘enough’ means both in the 8 Essentials 30-day challenge (see http://8essentials.biz/) and in some of other blogs about the different life stage at which you want to adopt a Portfolio Executive workstyle.

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Apply or Pitch? Having Courage for a Future you can Love

You can easily become hopeless making application after application for advertised positions.  Often, you need to customise your CV, write a tailored covering letter and fill in a detailed application form. Typically, you get no feedback but an automated acknowledgement.

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Can I really be a Portfolio Executive? Part 2

There are a whole host of other professionals, some which are fairly sector specific and some which are much more general.  Perhaps you have got 15-20 years’ experience in a particular field and you are wondering whether you can become a Portfolio Executive.

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Can I really be a Portfolio Executive? Part 1

There are quite well-established patterns of work for part-time Finance Directors and HR Directors and increasingly for people in Marketing and in Sales. I am also seeing more and more people being part-time CIOs and part-time CTOs. But what about some of those other professional roles that don’t feel quite so mainstream or that are not quite so well defined.

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Starting a Conversation with a Potential Client

As you start to engage with potential clients beyond your immediate network, you need to find a way of pitching your value to people who don’t already know you.  You may be recommended, introduced or just connected on LinkedIn.  How do you start that first conversation with someone who you don’t really know?  

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Success in Crisis

What do AirBnB, Uber and Groupon have in common? They were all founded during the 2008 banking crisis.

In fact, it was Andrew Wolstenholme who coined the phrase “Never Waste a Good Crisis” in his visionary report on the future of the construction industry as a sustainable, low-carbon industry at its lowest point in 2009.

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Who do you want to be known as on LinkedIn?

When I start working with people who want to build a Portfolio Executive workstyle, one of the key tools for them to develop their presence, build their reputation and find new clients is LinkedIn.  But, before we can do any of those things, we need to spend some focussed time thinking through who they want to be known as on LinkedIn

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Making the most of your Family as a Portfolio Executive.

Some of the people that I am working with to build their Portfolio Executive workstyles, are at a life stage where they want the flexibility to spend more time with members of the family.  There can be a variety of reasons for this and the motivations can also be radically different.

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Upgrading your Portfolio

When I am working with people who are building up their Portfolio Executive workstyle, very often they start working for smaller businesses than works best for them.  They are also offering lower rates than they eventually can demand from the market.  I encourage them to just get started. 

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Goldilocks and the Portfolio Executive

The first challenge for a Portfolio Executive is to work out what the ‘Director of’ or ‘Head of’ function you are going to adopt.

The second challenge is to work out what is the right size of business for you.  Like Goldilocks you don’t want something that is too hot or too cold, you want something that is in the middle.

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A portfolio executive working and drinking a cup of tea

Is Ageism a Myth?

It is very interesting to see the ‘Older People and employment: Women and Equalities Committee report’ developed by the House of Parliament Select Committee published almost a year ago, and the response to it.

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A picture of Portfolio Executives sitting

Portfolio Executive: DIY or …

You are an experienced professional. You know your stuff and are successful in your own field. Why can’t you just step out on your own and become a Portfolio Executive? Why can’t I do it myself? And if I’m not going to DIY my Portfolio Executive future then what are the other options?

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One person standing apart from the crowd

Key Persons of Influence and the Portfolio Executive workstyle

I’ve been very impressed by the thinking of Daniel Priestley and his book “Key Person of Influence”.  He tells a compelling story about how you build profile in your market place so that you become a key person of influence in order to attract people to your offer, to make your offer a premium offer and to build your business around being a key person of influence. 

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Should you have a side hustle?

So you have got your day job but you are recognising that this is not forever, and you would like to do something that you can enjoy, that is going to earn a bit of income, and that maybe something that will help you to create your future.

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Taking the career long view

It is very easy for us to stay focussed on the next promotion, the next job, the next assignment and to see our career as moving up an escalator one step at a time. But when we are asked to plan our finances, we recognise that there are times of investment and there are times of harvest.

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Preparing your Network for your Portfolio Executive Workstyle

Finding your role as a Portfolio Executive is a different kind of journey than finding your next job and often if we have been in corporate life for a long time, our network can be very limited in scope. Our network tends to be within the organisations in which we work and sometimes with our suppliers and with our clients.

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Eight Essentials for Freedom and Joy at Work

As I work with people who are developing their Second Half Careers, a pattern is beginning to emerge.  It seems that there are eight essentials that will enable people to really set out a future which is going to work for them into the second half of their working lives.

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Jigsaw metaphor with sunburst

Understanding Referrers and Connectors

Word of mouth marketing is recognised as the most powerful marketing tool we have in our armoury and as we build our portfolio of clients then word of mouth will be crucial to bring in new clients.  This is simulated on social media, but true word of mouth marketing is one person talking to another.

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An older couple at a kitchen table, the man is on the phone. They are smiling

Working until you are 100 – freedom or slavery?

In 2019, BBC Radio 4 celebrated the fact that the long-standing actress playing Peggy Archer was still working in her 100th year. The famous matriarch in The Archers continues to feature in the story line while being played an actress several years older.

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A busy City Street crossing

I am too busy to find clients

Having worked to help people build their portfolio executive proposition and to go out and win their first client.  I increasingly hear them telling me that they are too busy to find anymore clients.  At one level this is a great success story.  They have more work than they can cope with.  Fantastic!

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Who should I pay to help me be a Non-Executive Director (NED)?

I am continually active on LinkedIn and I am incredibly open to signing up to various email newsletters.  As soon as I had ‘Director’ in my job title, I was approached by several different organisations that promised me that they could make me a successful Non-Executive Director.  Maybe you are too?

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Hands stacking bricks methodically

Why Consulting is Not Fit for Purpose

I have worked for a global professional services practice where I was a partner and where I was consulting for large and medium sized businesses. After being in that firm for five years I became very disenchanted with what big consulting did for its clients.

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From success to significance

You are a professional who has worked perhaps ten, fifteen, twenty years in your chosen profession and you have achieved a level of success. You have a senior role, a reasonable salary and you are looking forward and thinking about what you want to do with your 2nd Half Career.

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Hands drawing a circle in a notebook

Can I only be a Portfolio Executive?

Can I only be a Portfolio Executive? Or can I have a richer portfolio than that?

As I continue to work with people building up their Portfolio Executive Workstyle, I am finding an increasing trend that people want to mix it up a bit.

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Meeting around a boardroom

Are we all millenials now?

So much has been written about millennials and their preferences and attitudes towards work and as I review these thoughts about millennials, there are three things that strike me:

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Pricing as a Portfolio Executive

As I work with people developing their portfolio executive workstyle, one of the biggest challenges we come across over and over again is pricing. There are two very different ways of thinking about pricing

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Close up of a handshake

Selling your 2nd Half Career to your Current Employer

Probably the context in which you have the strongest relationships and the strongest potential to develop your 2nd Half Career is actually with your current employer.  At first sight, you may question how favourably your employer will look at your proposal to become independent. 

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A little work will make your pension go so much further.

You may be aware that for many people the kind of annuity rates they can get when they cash in their pension have become very disappointing. I did a quick review of the kind of annuity that you could get for a million pound pension pot, aged 65 as a man and £50,000 a year, five percent, is high. 

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The power of becoming a Trusted Advisor

A critical part of your role as a Portfolio Executive is to build a relationship where you become the trusted advisor of the CEO.  Sometimes your role won’t bring you direct access to the CEO, but you should still become a trusted advisor to whoever is your sponsor.

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Maintaining a part-time role

As I work with people building a Portfolio Executive workstyle, one of the biggest challenges I come across is “how do you maintain a role part-time?”.  In this article I explore what is different from full-time and what stays the same. 

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How to use a diagnostic as an effective sales tool

As you start to identify clients, one of the things you need to do is establish a compelling reason for them to buy now.  You want to build a long-term relationship, but most people won’t commit to a long-term relationship until they have worked with you.

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Ageism – Victim or Victor? You have a clear choice.

When I was in my early twenties people would introduce me as a computer ‘whizz kid’ and that was really exciting! It was in the early days of the whole micro-computer revolution and being considered a ‘whizz kid’ was the equivalent of the fashionable ‘geek’ of today’s current generation.

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Building your runway for Portfolio Executive lift off

You have made the decision that you don’t want to stay in your current position in corporate life, despite the salary and the benefits. You also recognise that the transition to the more fulfilling Portfolio Executive workstyle isn’t going to be straightforward.

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When interim roles no longer hold their appeal

You are a highly experienced, seasoned professional, and you have stepped out on your own to become an interim manager. You’ve started working at very senior levels, where you get drafted in to sort out a significant challenge in an organisation.

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You need to define your clients’ success

When you are building a portfolio executive workstyle, your client will want to be clear about the value and quality you bring. Demonstrating that clarity will be beneficial for you too and will help you keep the relationship going for as long you want.

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A man looking wistfully out of a window with blinds casting shadows on his face

Turning disappointment into positivity as a Portfolio Executive

One of the toughest things to deal with when you are setting out as a Portfolio Executive is disappointment. You may have felt less sensitive to it when you were in your previous corporate life because you could always tell yourself that the ‘no’ wasn’t really about you – it was because of the organisation.

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Executives shaking hands

Building the right networks as a Portfolio Executive

As a senior executive, you’ll have developed very good networking skills within your corporate environment. You were good at connecting with other senior leaders across your corporate structure, you’ll also have built networks with suppliers and customers.

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Happy executives at a meeting

Becoming an interim…. it doesn’t come without risks

So, you’ve reached the point in your career where becoming an interim looks attractive. You’ve taken stock of your knowledge and experience and it feels like a route that’s worth exploring – and it may well be. But, as with any form of career change, there are pros and cons.

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Contracting … why it’s the career fix that fails

When you are working in a permanent salaried position, contracting can seem like quite an attractive option. You see contractors join your organisation, they seem to have less responsibility, they do their hours and go home (without taking work with them!).

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Executives at a meeting

What does ‘permanent full-time salaried’ employment really mean?

The recent announcement by Deutsche Bank of 12,000 job cuts reminds us all that there is no such thing as permanent employment any more. And yet for so many of us, our parents’ aspiration for us (and perhaps ours for our children) is a permanent full-time salaried job as a qualified professional in a leading organisation.

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A man with a box of office equipment

Are corporates having a mid-life crisis?

Corporates have created an ‘up or out’ culture, one that will ultimately lose the experienced professionals they’ve worked so hard to attract and retain. It’s a mid-life career crisis that’s impacting some very talented people, many with years of valuable experience.

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How to demonstrate your value as a Portfolio Executive

If you’ve read our previous blogs, you’ll know about the benefits of this workstyle and career path and how you can build a portfolio of rewarding part-time executive positions. But to make this new world a reality, you have to be able to demonstrate the value you’ll bring to the clients who are going to be paying you.

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Escalators on the London Underground

If only I knew then what I know now

Being a Bruce Lee fan doesn’t make you an expert at kung fu any more than reading a book about leadership makes you a leader. That’s why I joined the FuturePerfect CEO Growth Academy.

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