The Alternative Board in York is just over a year old. For me, it’s been a truly rewarding year – and here and now may I say ‘thank you’ to everyone who’s helped me in the first twelve months. But how’s it been for you? Last year one of these blogs was an interview with me. This time, it’s the turn of one of my first Board members – Rob Brooks of Wright and Pryce.
Rob, when you decided to join TAB, how much was down to your personal relationship with Ed, and how much was the concept of TAB?
I knew Ed, and knew he was a genuine guy – and I’d reached the stage in my business where I realised I needed advice and coaching. I knew where I wanted to go but I also knew I needed some help in getting there. And the combination of the Board and the 1-2-1’s really appealed to me. That – plus knowing and trusting Ed – made it the ideal combination for me.
Ed always says that TAB appealed to him because he “got it” straightaway. Was that the same for you?
I think so, yes. But looking back I definitely underestimated the power of the Board, and how much your fellow Board members can help you. I certainly didn’t anticipate how discussing other members’ issues could be useful – and very relevant – to Wright and Pryce
TAB clearly means sharing information. Did that make you uncomfortable at first?
‘Uncomfortable’ is too strong a word, but I was definitely nervous before my first meeting. I thought everyone else would be a sort of superhero millionaire. And then there’d be me… But of course it wasn’t anything like that – we all make mistakes and we all admit to them. And trust with your fellow Board members grows very quickly.
What are the qualities that you particularly value in your fellow Board members?
Honesty, honesty and honesty. It is no use them blowing sunshine all over me if I’m not hitting my targets. If I bring an idea for discussion, it’s no use being told it’s great if it isn’t. So positive honesty is the quality I most value – and all of my fellow board members have it in spades.
What’s the main benefit you (personally) – or the business – have gained from TAB?
Over the past year it’s been really working out how I’m going to achieve my 5 year goals. Ed and I have converted what-I-need-to-do into a Gantt Chart, and every Monday morning I know exactly what I need to do that week to achieve my 5 year goals
Part & parcel of TAB is the 1-2-1’s with Ed – how valuable do you find these?
For me it’s about 50/50 between the meetings and the 1-2-1’s. And one backs up and supports the other. It’s very much a case of 1+1=3. The most useful part of the 1-2-1’s is that moment when Ed says, “And why aren’t you doing that…”
The TAB strapline is “change perspective – improve business – enjoy life”. Have they delivered?
Simple answer. Yes
The financial services industry always seems to be in a state of flux. Would it help if your fellow Board members had expert knowledge of your industry?
In many ways the fact that they don’t have expert knowledge is helpful. Financial services “experts” are ten a penny. The other Board members are thinking exactly like my customers think. And that’s what I really value.
How much has TAB helped W&P move forward over the last year?
It’s a sort of snakes and ladders answers. TAB has acted as a springboard, but it’s also helped me avoid a lot of traps.
Do you think you’ll gain as much from TAB in year 2 as you and/or the business did in year 1?
I think I’ll gain more. The trust with other Board members is increasing all the time, and we can ask each other really searching questions about business, and in particular our KPI’s. So yes, year one was good. I’m certain year two will be better
How much do you enjoy helping other Board members with their problems?
‘Enjoy’ is the wrong word. It’s really fulfilling being with other people who are positive about their businesses and life in general. Helping them with their problems and helping them succeed is just tremendously satisfying.
Last question, which anyone new to TAB will ask… Is it value for money?
Absolutely. And it will be for everyone who is the right type of person. If you’re genuine, honest, determined to succeed and you’d like to help others succeed then TAB is exactly right. On the other hand if you’re not passionate about your business – or if an essential part of your business plan is seeing other people fail, then no, you probably won’t enjoy TAB. But it’s been absolutely tremendous for me and my business.