Working with Philip

So what’s it like to engage and work with Philip?

Firstly Philip passionately believes in having a plan. Typically this comes in two stages:

  1. What are the immediate objectives?
  2. What is the ultimate goal – frequently for him that’s when are you going to sell and to whom?

His company is called Enhancing Clarity for a reason – Philip helps to identify the quickest way to get momentum and then works with you to identify the best (exit) strategy, giving your business direction and purpose. His ability to do this, and quickly, is one of the reasons his clients value his time so much.

Secondly Philip believes in the old proverb “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Philip sees his role as strengthening the CEO and senior management team’s ability to deliver the agreed business strategy through mentoring, coaching, facilitating and the odd bit of coercing.

This does mean that Philip is very unlikely to ‘do’ things – although where appropriate he is happy to introduce people and/or resources from his trusted network to help with implementation.

This also means that the long hours you currently work are likely to continue for a little longer, but hopefully they should start to feel less of a burden as you see your business start to make progress, having momentum and the plan coming together.

There is only one way to measure success in Philip’s book – the outcome! This is more than just the return on investment (ROI) which may be difficult to measure until long after Philip’s involvement has ended. But to give a flavour of what it means to engage Philip, the table below lists a some of the many success stories he has been involved in in the last 14+ years.

Client Investment Outcome
Open Source Technology Services Company

Engaged to prepare the company for an eventual sale over a 3 year period.

£120,000 Company sold for £4m, 38 months after Philip was engaged. The acquirer had tried to buy the client at the very beginning of Philip’s engagement, offering a fraction of the eventual sale price.
Full Service Telecoms Provider

Engaged to help the founders grow the business with the intention of exiting shortly after 2020.

Ongoing In 18 months the company has reorganised its supply channel. Margins have grown dramatically and profits have quadrupled. Sales are growing faster than expected.
Financial Services Training Company

Engaged to help the founders grow the business towards an eventual exit. Identified that the business model was inefficient and that skillsets were missing.

Ongoing Changing the model and applying it to historic figures would have increased profits by more than 500%. The founders are now transitioning the business to this new model.
 Learning Solutions Provider

Engaged to help the board grow the business. Identified skill gaps which were holding back the business. Also worked with the CEO to improve his performance.

£15,000 CEO commented that “the business grew by 7% in first year which surprised some of us, and we expect to grow by 10% this year and 25% to 30% next.”
Picture Frame Manufacturer

A business stagnating for over 5 years.

Engaged to coach the founder to create and execute a growth plan to eventually sell the company.

£24,000 Sales and profits have increased and a pilot scheme is being introduced with a major UK retailer. Another major retailer is actively considering a similar pilot.
Risk Management Software Publisher

A short, sharp intervention to focus the founders on sales and delivery.

£18,000 Sales are increasing and a new version of the software is soon to be published, previews of which have been critically acclaimed.

Update 1: 3 orders received for the update on the day of launch, worth in excess of £150,000

Update 2: Philip has been re-engaged to help the board create a strategic plan for the next 3-5 years and to mentor them through the delivery.

User Experience Design House

A short, sharp intervention to focus the founders on roles and responsibilities and growth.

£6,000+ Sales increased by 25% in 6 months. Profits up 50%. Sales pipeline is now healthy. The client is choosing what work they want to take on.

Philip has been re-engaged to help structure the company so that the founders are able to exit in 3 years time.

An International Trade Body

Engaged to mentor the European CEO who was facing a number of challenges from the US parent body and the cultural differences between the various country membership in EMEA. Also facilitated a number of international Board Meetings

£120,000 Helped the European Board to articulate its vision and create the strategy for the future of the organisation. On a personal level, coached the CEO through how to prepare their exit from the organisation and to embrace new challenges.

Must “Rich” be Defined in Monetary Terms?

This article is not about business but about values and beliefs – and my personal ones at that. Having said that, I frequently recommend what I am about to share with you to mentoring clients.

I came across this wonderful poem about 35 years ago and it has haunted me ever since.

I’ve been incredibly lucky Continue reading

The Legacy of John Harvey-Jones

A great business leader, Sir John Harvey-Jones, died last month. For those who are not aware, he was a leading light in the UK business community since the early 1980’s when he rose to public prominence as the chairman of ICI, which he guided to be one of the most successful companies in the UK if not the world.

But to most people in the UK he is best remembered as the star of the “Troubleshooter” television series where he Continue reading

What Makes an Effective Chairman of the Board?

I was chatting recently with Dermot Hill of Intramezzo who posed this question. Given my experience as a Chairman and my love of this role, it set me thinking. Note that I’m going to use the word “Chairman” in a non-gender specific context in this article.

Companies appoint a Chairman for a variety of reasons. If they are about to float, or are seeking external investment, they may pick someone who is acceptable to the “money men” and who has contacts in that arena rather than going for someone who can add real value to the companies proposition. But I suspect Continue reading

The Pygmies are Taking Over the World

As an entrepreneur, I have created many businesses. And these businesses need certain advisers like lawyers and accountants. Like many of you, these “species”, and I use the word advisedly, are not my most favourite people as they cost me lots of money and don’t appear to deliver much value.

Recently I was with one of these advisers and the conversation was not pleasant. In fact it made my blood boil. In a nutshell, I was asked, point blank, why I wasn’t making more money currently. Notwithstanding the incredible rudeness of the question, I was appalled that this came from an adviser that Continue reading

What Clients Say

image of Philip de Lisle standingMany people have been kind enough to provide feedback about my mentoring and business coaching work. My thanks to them all. This is a selection.

I retained Philip to facilitate strategic development with the high powered board members of a multinational association. He quickly grasped the key issues, and used his Slaying Dragons process to enable 40 people from 27 countries with competing priorities to consider the issues and develop future plans effectively. I was concerned that the strategy workshop had the potential to fail spectacularly. However Philip swiftly picked up on the interpersonal relationships and politics, and handled some hard issues that emerged on site well. He faces difficulties head on and assists his clients with insight and good business nous.
Ermine Amies, European Managing Director, International Council of Shopping Centers

I have used Philip as a mentor and facilitator for key strategic decisions. His expertise in business development and mergers and acquisitions is substantial and he uses it well through asking great questions and inputing into discussions in a sensitive and highly effective manner. He is supportive, empathetic and yet never flinches from challenging and demanding conversations where they are needed. A thoughtful and engaging mentor at senior level and someone entirely trustworthy and reliable.
Professor Chris Bones, Dean of Henley Business School

Philip is a towering intellect and one of the finest mentors I have known in the last twenty five years. I have worked with thousands of people, but quite frankly, Philip is the governor!
Shaz Quereshi, Key Accounts Director, Thomas International UK

Philip is a brilliant executive coach who provides the right balance of pragmatism in his approach to helping you unlock the potential in your business. His style and approach is not to give you an answer to a problem, but to challenge your thinking and make you really reflect on what you need to do. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations and always came away reflecting on new ideas and doing things differently.
Darren Briggs, Managing Director, Flametree Communication

Very clear and insightful, Philip has the ability to both reflect what you don’t know you are thinking and clearly deliver what is needed for clarity in your own thoughts.
Ian Plumbley, Managing Director, Roth Kase USA, Ltd

Philip is a knowledgeable and skillful businessman and a valuable addition to any Board, however, his talents as a teacher/trainer, coach and mentor, particularly within the field of digital/Interactive communications, are, without doubt, amongst the finest I have come across. Highly recommended.
Chris Clarke, Clarke Associates and formerly Eisner Communications Inc.

Philip is, without doubt, the best business mentor that I have ever had. He is able to direct thinking towards a natural clarity that removes the fog that so often gets in the way of creating strategy. I would recommend Philip’s technique, expertise and generosity in the way he mentors people to discover their own direction and to anyone wanting to achieve huge results for themselves.
Stephen Harvard Davis, Assimilating-Talent

Philip has an excellent quality. He listens. He has great insight, questions effectively and has the patience & skill to mentor. He holds up a mirror of truth to you and you may not like what you see. But that is where he can help you begin to change what’s not working.
Marcus Cauchi, Managing Director, S.A>L.T (Europe) Ltd

Philip is a great entrepreneur who combines technical, management and leadership skills. He is a leader of leaders, a fine human being and I get inspired and motivated when I talk to him.
B Hari, CEO, Ontrack Systems Ltd, India

Philip is an outstanding mentor and an extremely knowledgeable businessman. He has unrivalled experience in building companies and in exiting them. His charming, efficient and seamless approach to business solutions is a refreshing change. The only problem is that he is immensely talented so there is a great demand on his time!
William Alexander, Entrepreneur

Mentor, Mentoring & Mentorship – Grasping the nettle

image of Philip de Lisle seated with clientMost, if not all, board level directors and senior management can benefit from mentoring. All of us at one time or another have found it useful to discuss things with an outsider who can critique (rather than be critical) and not judge.

Using skills honed over 25 years as a serial entrepreneur growing (and exiting) companies from zero to over US$1billion valuations, Philip is adept at understanding the problems faced by senior executives and helping them find solutions. It’s not about knowing the answers but thinking and asking questions together about the problem in hand so that the solution presents itself.

Philip firmly believes that it is his job to “ask the unaskable and say the unsayable”. He challenges, taking people far outside their comfort zone because, in his view, it is one of the surest ways to effect change – change which helps to develop the individual but, more importantly, improves the bottom line. He is passionate about inspiring people to perform.

When you engage Philip as your mentor, don’t expect him to solve your problems. He believes that a good mentor “works on the business through the individual” (TM). He will, as he puts it, “clear away the weeds so that you can find the path” – you must discover the answers for yourself otherwise you will not “own” them. But when this happens, the return on investment can be significant for both you and your company.

Philip is also represented by TXG Ltd.

About Philip

image of Philip de Lisle seated

“My name is Philip de Lisle and I’m a professional mentor and facilitator to and for company directors and senior management.”

No, I’m not in therapy, but I’ve deliberately chosen to make this page more “human” rather than adopt the corporate style that is used for the rest of this website. Hence the use of the first person everywhere on this page.

A former serial entrepreneur, I have founded, built and directed many companies over the last 25 years. Having founded over 11 companies worldwide, I’ve got a proven track record of identifying new markets, focusing on potential problems and then taking or initiating the appropriate action to create a suitable solution. I’ve also made plenty of mistakes! These companies have been as diverse as the motor trade, advertising and PR, software development/IT and telecoms. Through them I have gained a breadth of experience of business situations and solutions that has won many commissions of work for Blueprint for Exit (a division of my current company Enhancing Clarity Ltd) that helps and enables company owners to exit their business profitably.

It was this experience which drew me into the world of mentoring CEOs and board level directors professionally, as more and more people started to ask me to share my pretty extensive knowledge of company management (i.e. compliance, risk management etc.), strategy, planning, and my network to help them improve their performance and that of their companies. I didn’t seek this role – it sought me; but I found it increasingly attractive due to the number of people that asked for my help in creating strategies to enable their businesses to improve and grow. It’s fun work that I love – and I get paid for it which is a major plus! Recently a number of clients have used the same phrase to describe my impact on them and their businesses – I give them “head space” to think about what they want for themselves and their company, helping them to understand people (themselves, staff/colleagues and clients), their motivation and their fears.

As part of my one-on-one work, I help people to discover their unique gift – we all have one – using a “tool” called Core Process. The effect of this on people’s lives is dramatic and it is a real privilege to be part of that discovery. I urge you to think about your special gift and to understand it as it will make a huge difference to you. For what it’s worth, my Core Process is “Mapping Beauty” which means everything to me (see the bit below about thinking).

I’ve been non-executive Chair of several companies, and the former Chair of a small charity working with children, all of which has provided me with the experience and acumen to work with diverse opinions, cultures and focus that comes with a Board of Directors.

I’ve been published on a number of occasions in the IoD Herts magazine and contributed the chapter on Mentoring for Growth in the 9th edition (2007) of the Growing Business Handbook published by Kogan Page. I’ve also delivered leadership programmes and strategy planning workshop, and regularly speak and lecture on how to exit companies and how to implement change so that it succeeds.

Finally I’m an accredited legal expert in IT with Crown Court experience having worked for the defence against the likes of the DTI, SFO and FBI.

So What Drives Me?

I am passionate about building teams and helping people to succeed. I want to inspire people to perform. As a mentor, I believe that my role is to challenge and to help people discover solutions for themselves and not to tell them what to do. For me leadership is about ideas and strategy, and discovering and nurturing other leaders – it is not about command. I hate seeing talent wasted.

I am particularly interested making boards and teams work effectively. To do this I use mentoring and careful listening to understand the “fit” of the individuals in the team, often by way of their Core Process.

One of the things I’ve come to realise is that people are increasingly afraid to think. We glibly use phrases like “thinking outside the box” in planning and strategy meetings without actually trying to do just that. For me, thinking is a skill which has to be practiced. I want to help people rediscover that skill, and if they are receptive, to teach them to think differently so that problems actually become fun and easy to overcome.

In fact I believe that I have the ability and focus to help you and your company identify your path forward into an exciting future. Big words I know, but what a journey …