7 Questions with Charles McLachlan
Name: Charles McLachlan
Current title: Founder
Current organisation: FuturePerfect
Growing people and growing businesses are my passions. I work with leaders to transform their organisations and break through their personal barriers to success.
I am convinced that a leader who fails to invest in personal growth will hold back his team and his business, so I now bring my passions to FuturePerfect and the Growth Academies that we run. But most importantly, I will help you find joy, freedom and reward in your working life.
Since 2002, I have been living a portfolio executive workstyle, directly supporting a number of other businesses as a part-time member of the management team and now offer this opportunity to others through the Portfolio Executive Growth Academy.
I bring 30+ years of experience of developing and growing business: start-ups to global organisations. For example, I worked to grow an international IT services consultancy for Andersen (partner in 2001), built 2 companies from scratch and supported 2 others into the Tech FastTrack 100 and now offer this insight to others through the CEO Growth Academies we run.
A project I helped found during the COVID-19 pandemic is InspiredCEOs - an online community for CEOs, business owners, and other senior executives who recognise it's time to see, think and do differently.
Specialties: Building & growing successful commercial organisations. Bringing insight, innovation & challenge. Creating business advantage using technology. Developing leaders to achieve their maximum potential. Peer to peer learning, experiential learning, business best practice, personal & professional development, world class speakers, peer group sharing, executive mentoring.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Building the right team.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I have always been passionate about having the freedom to do the things I enjoy most. Starting a business has always been part of what I wanted to do. Over the years I have founded a number of businesses and more recently I have been building businesses that focus on the development of the businesses of others.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
It works well for me to start my day at 5am.
I like to clear my 'in-tray' by 8am.
With CoVid taking a break from Zoom at lunch time has become more important but most of my day involves talking to others by phone or Zoom.
Occasionally, I have evening meetings but I usually try to be finished by 5pm and then keep all electronic devices out of reach until the following morning.
I probably spend at least 30% of my time on business development and try to keep at least 20% time open to opportunities and pro bono activity.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
It is not enough just to work harder and smarter - thinking differently and believing differently matters much more: love, hope and faith are the real game changers.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I am constantly exploring a range of different books and thinkers so it is difficult to name a single book.
However, I am been very impacted by the life of Cadbury, a Victorian chocolate maker who realised that business could do so much more than just make profit. His range of interests was extraordinary - teaching, social housing, marketing, overseas development, campaigning for the vote to name a few.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
I believe you need to empower others with more and more responsibility but never forget that you still have a responsibility to manage and lead.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
For many years, I desperately wanted a team. One day, I looked around me and saw there was already a team but I hadn't realised that there were 10 people working with me in a variety of other ways. Now, I needed to treat them as a team and encourage them to work with one another without always involving me.