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
Chemical Engineering Company

Engaged to prepare the company for sale.

Profits fell during the engagement as considerable effort was put in to make the company more saleable.

£100,000 The owner was in his late sixties and wanted to retire. The Company was valued shortly before Philip was engaged at circa £2.5m by a globally renowned accountant.

The owner’s aspirational price was £4m.

The Company was acquired by a competitor for £6.4m.

Open Source Technology Services Company

Engaged to grow the business and 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.

£36,000 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.

£48,000 Changing the model and applying it to historic figures showed that profits would have increased 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.

Slaying Dragons

At some point in the distant past, a client was describing the problems he was having implementing a particularly tricky change policy on his company. While listening to him I realised that I’d been through this situation several times myself so we discussed what his options were to overcome objectors. Out of that discussion came a process I call “Slaying Dragons” which has the express aim of enhancing buy-in to Continue reading

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. I’ve deliberately chosen to make this page more “human” than the rest of this website. Hence the use of the first person everywhere on this page.

What Have I Done?

A former serial entrepreneur, I’ve built and directed many companies over the last 35 years. I’ve founded more than 11 companies worldwide, in various industries such as the motor trade, advertising and PR, software development/IT and telecoms.

I’ve been non-executive Chair of several companies (including VC and private equity backed ones), and the former Chair of a small charity working with children. These have given me the understanding and acumen to work with the diverse opinions, cultures and focus that comes from working with a Board of Directors.

All this has provided me plenty with of experience, and I’ve got a lot of scar tissue from the mistakes that I’ve made! I’ve got a proven track record of

  • Formulating and implementing strategy
  • Delivering growth
  • Risk management
  • Compliance
  • Identifying new markets
  • Increasing sales and profitability
  • Focusing on potential problems and creating suitable solutions
  • Improving efficiency and looking for economies of scale

I now use these to help companies grow, which often leads to a profitable exit for their owners.

What Do I Do?

So how did I find myself, though my current company Enhancing Clarity Ltd, mentoring CEOs, board level directors and senior managers both in the UK and abroad?

After I exited my last business, I joined a number of networks wondering what to do next – I was too young at that stage to retire. Through these networks people asked me to share my knowledge of strategy, planning, company management (i.e. compliance, risk management etc.) to help them improve their performance, their team’s and that of their companies. I suppose you could say that this role found me.

So what do I actually do you may ask? I don’t really “do” anything. I’m not a consultant so don’t expect me to write a report for you or come up with a sales strategy – that’s your job (or one of your team’s) because it’s your company not mine. I’ll help you figure it out by asking probing questions and challenging your thinking. According so several clients I give them “head space” to really think about what they want for themselves and their company.

I’m incredibly lucky because I love what I do. I get a real buzz when clients have that “ah ha” or “lightbulb” moment. Sometimes this isn’t what I expected and that’s when I learn something. I still can’t quite believe that I get paid to do this!

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. It is 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. And 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 using a tool called Core Process.

Other Stuff I Do

I regularly speak and lecture internationally on several “How To’s”:

  • How to buy companies
  • How to invest in companies
  • How to exit companies
  • How to implement change so that it succeeds

I also deliver leadership programmes and strategy planning workshops.

I’ve written several articles for 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.

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

Media Showcase

To get a flavour of who am I and what I can do for you, I’m including some links to videos and podcasts that I have either participated in or been referenced by others.

  • Get Ready for Investment
    In this webinar Rob Goddard of EvolutionCBS interviews me about how to get ready for external investment.

  • Mentorship for Creative Agencies
    This podcast is a discussion between the two owners of one of my smallest ever clients discussing how they found me and how I had helped them. It is included here with permission.
  • Beermat Radio Interview
    In this edition of Beermat Radio I’m interviewed by Mike Southon, co-author of The Beermat Entrepreneur, about by career and mentoring. It is included here with permission.

And Finally…

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 practised. 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.

I’m confident that I have the expertise, experience and focus to help you and your company identify your path forward into an exciting future. Big words I know, but what a journey …