Vistage: The Elixir of Executive Youth

11/12/2014 posted in Business, Vistage Chair

It was obvious to my wife that something wasn’t right and I couldn't see what it was. As usual I hadn’t been able to hide it. I also hadn’t been able to put my finger on it. Something about the future, my future and our future, was missing. I literally couldn’t see what it was – what the future looked like. I had no vision, no direction to travel and no achievement to look forward to savouring at the end.

It was January 2003 and, like most families in the UK, we were recovering from Christmas celebrations. This time our holiday had been extended to include a nice break as a reward for having recently sold the business I had been running.

Elaine and I were chatting over dinner about a number of family things and particularly what the next few years would hold. We were OK financially but I still wanted to have my mind gainfully employed. Elaine loved teaching and she would continue to teach but probably on a part-time basis and at 52, still reasonably fit, I’d lined up some non-executive directorship work.

It was supposed to be looking good for us. My work would use my strengths and I would be able to offer a lot of experience without being in at the deep end all the time. So…what was wrong? Why couldn’t I see my way forward? What was the future not holding for me? We agreed to sleep on it which, of course, meant it going on some distant “to do” list while we got on with life.

Then it came to me, and I’m really ashamed to say this, in a flash one morning eight years later when I decided to become a Vistage Chair.

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How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Poor Business Advice

10/2/2014 posted in Business, Getting Ahead, Vistage Chair

Looking for high quality independent business advice can be an infuriating process. The market is flooded with consultants who propose blanket approaches and ignore the importance of your individual business needs.

As a business coach myself, I get very frustrated by the approach of some management consultants because their advice has often proved to be of poor value, or at worst they have caused more harm than good. 

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Why I'm saying NO to Retirement

8/8/2014 posted in Business, Work/Life Balance Issues, Vistage Chair


There has been a great deal of comment of late about the need for people to go on working after the notional retirement age of 60 for women and 65 for men.

Certain members of the trade unions have been very vocal in condemnation especially the fire fighters who consider that anyone over the age of 55 could not carry out their duties.

There will always be exceptions but, in general it seems likely that the official retirement age will go to 67 and probably for both men and women.

In a sense it is academic anyway as recent employment law made it impossible for businesses to enforce a mandatory retirement age on anyone.

Age patterns are changing and there is no doubt that something will need to be done with an ageing population. People will need to work longer for the nation to be able to sustain assistance to them as they grow older.

Having said all that, this is the economic view of the problem but what about the social aspects?

I suppose that I have a vested interest in the subject because I started as a Chairman in TEC (renamed Vistage) 23 years ago at the age of 61.

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The Reason Why I’m Not Retiring- Ever

6/18/2014 posted in Business, Life At The Top, Exit Planning/Strategies, Vistage Chair

I have no intention of retiring. None whatsoever. Even though I have spotted a few grey hairs now (how come you never spot them unit they are fully grown – at full length?)

I’m not saying that because I’m worried about my pension fund or keeping a certain salary coming in to protect my lifestyle. Working and being active is my lifestyle.

I love working – there I’ve said it.

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How FEL Can Help SMEs Get the 'Biggest Bang for the Buck'

2/5/2014 posted in Business, Exit Planning/Strategies, Vistage Chair


What's FEL I hear you ask? – It stands for Front End Loading, also called early project planning. It is an important stage in the development of major projects in capital intensive industries, for example the refining and petrochemicals. 
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