Don’t let an algorithm decide what you read »

Partnering to Reduce Risk & Do More Exciting Work with Frank Hannigan

June 7, 2021
Episode 13
The Recognized Authority Podcast Cover

The podcast that helps experts & consultants on the journey to becoming a recognized authority in your field, so you can increase your impact, command premium fees, work less hours, and never have to suffer a bad-fit client again!.

Winning large projects as a solo consultant can be difficult. Partnering up with trusted peers allows you to pitch for bigger projects, smooth out the “feast or famine” rollercoaster, and allows you to brainstorm ideas.

In this episode, Frank Hannigan and Alastair McDermott discuss how to get clients, do successful inbound marketing and have fun in business.

Show Notes

Guest Bio

Frank is a Partner and Founder at StrategyCrowd. His expertise are in Commercialisation, Innovation and Strategy.

He accumulated a lot of experience as Startup Founder, Advisor, Investor and Senior Executive. He also worked with SMEs and larger companies and had non-executive director roles since 1999.

Since 2000, he served as mentor and coach with Enterprise Ireland, EBRD, World Bank, European Commission and SFA among others.

Frank is a Business graduate at Trinity College, University of Dublin and is:

  • MMII – Member of the Marketing Institute of Ireland
  • FIMCA – Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and Advisors
  • CMC – Certified Management Consultant
  • EMCC Accredited Coach at Senior Practitioner level


people, business, read, strategy, consultants, clients, bit, work, years, tenders, linkedin, frank, written, failure, companies, irish, partners, book, day, advisor

Alastair McDermott, Frank Hannigan

Frank Hannigan 00:00

The big thing for consultants I think, is to recognize the difference between the reality of selling and the Hollywood version of selling so Glengarry Glen Ross is always be closing. But especially if you’re in the eyepiece space, which we are, it’s always be qualifying. So be selling the right thing to the right person. For me, I want to work with clients, where my fee knows is a small percentage of the value I know I can create for them. If I don’t feel I can create more value than I capture. I don’t work with them.

Alastair McDermott 00:40

Hello, and welcome to Marketing for Consultants. Today, my guest is Frank Hannigan. Frank is a partner and founder at Strategy Crowd. He’s an expert in commercialization, innovation and strategy. And he has a massive background. As a startup founder as an advisor and investor, as a senior executive. He is management coach, he works with enterprise Ireland, the World Bank, the European Commission on lots more. And he is also a member of The Marketing Institute of Ireland. So he’s got a marketing kind of angle on things as well, which is interesting. And he is member of the certified management consultants, the fellow of the Institute of Management consultants and advisors. And he’s an accredited coach with an EMCC. So, Frank, thank you so much. That is just such a huge bio to read. And I think we’ll have very interesting conversation today for people to listen to. So what I want to ask you about first is in the pre show, I was just talking to you about kind of like what the definition of success is, for people who are consultants. And you know, I know that there are people listening to this, who might be at a stage where they’re not feeling that they’re successful, yet, they’re doing a lot of hustle. And they’re maybe at some sort of five-figure income level and they see people who are at the six-figure level and they want to get there. So can we just talk about how to make that transition a little bit? And also can we start with what success is for you personally?

Frank Hannigan 01:58

Yeah, I mean, for me, it’s it’s very clear its successes, doing the stuff that I love doing having impact, working with people, I like working with having enough spare time, so I can if you like, refresh, so my clients got all of me as opposed to half knackered overworked me, that’s for me what’s excessive, I get time with my family, I get time to read because as a consultant, if you’re as good in five years time as you are no, you’re goosed, you need to be changing, reinventing yourself faster than your clients or otherwise, you’re going backwards. So continuously learning constantly being freaked out by smart people who write books, go on YouTube and explain things you don’t understand. You know, that’s my intention would be to continue reinventing, continue learning until they can no longer operate. So that’s what success is. The big thing for consultants, I think, is to recognize the difference between the reality of selling and the Hollywood version of selling so Glengarry Glen Ross is always be closing. But especially if you’re in the eyepiece space, which we are, it’s always be qualifying. So be selling the right thing to the right person. For me, I want to work with clients, where my fee knows is a small percentage of the value I know I can create for them. If I don’t feel I can create more value than I capture. I don’t work with them. Let me say this to our SME clients, especially, there is a one to one correlation between the word mill and long term sustainable profit. So I would say for every piece of work, I say yes to I probably turned down two or three pieces of work, not because the work is good, but because I’m imagining how much it’s going to cost them. And I think that somebody else could do it for less, or I don’t feel confident that we’re gonna add more value than they capture.

Alastair McDermott 03:40

Let me just ask you about that. Do you use a value pricing model in how you price your your projects?

Frank Hannigan 03:46

No. So to a great extent, we have a flatline model, we charge day rate. And so for a given piece of work, we normally will charge a number of days multiplied by a number. And that’s it. We have number of relationships, which are slightly more complex. But the vast majority of our income would be on that basis.

Alastair McDermott 04:06

Right? And how do you calculate that day rate? I’m just interested in knowing how you get there.

Frank Hannigan 04:11

We basically just came up with a figure, we looked at our peer groups, we looked at the rates that were charged UK and Ireland for people with our experience. And that’s it pretty much. So we had a financial objective. And the idea was to hit that number with 200 days build a year, that’s that’s we kind of make the finger race solid. So we would, all we would do is the two numbers that we would measure would be on a monthly basis. How many days are we billing? What’s our blended average day rate? Those are the things that allow us know for our target for our annual figures, and we typically will, we will we will be putting we’ll be putting into the diary work for the next three years. So we have a financial target for 2001, two and three at the moment. We’re filling that at the moment. Wow.

Alastair McDermott 04:56

Okay, that is that that’s a long pipeline.

Frank Hannigan 04:59

Well A lot of our work would be recurring. So if we got a yes, typically as a lifetime value of two to four years, so we know what are our figures are for 2003. So we know we need to do this month, this quarter to make that happen. And to make 2003 happen, we need to get some recurring revenue and where the S happens in 2001.

Alastair McDermott 05:20

So it’s really interesting to see all the different models, I know that some consultants are very interested in breaking the connection between days or hours between between the number of hours that you’re working and your income, or as you’re actually embracing that.

Frank Hannigan 05:33

We embrace it because we think it’s easy to sell. But the harder thing to know is that what you’re suggesting, which is the much better way. So what I said at the start is my job was to create more value from the customers than I capture. And a natural extension of that is if I’m creating heck load of value, I’d like to be part of that. So we work with a number of private equity firms, and it’s on that paper. So we’re still teasing out how that’s gonna work out. But there are models and financial transactions that allow us to engage for 16 months, as well as getting a day rate, we get an upside in terms of shareholder, very creative.

Alastair McDermott 06:08

Right, yeah, of course, some sort of percentage of the deal in some way. Yeah, I have seen those deals before. They seem very complex. I mean, I can imagine for larger for larger deals that would make sense to go into that into that. But for smaller projects, it seems like it’s not worthwhile to try and set something like that up.

Frank Hannigan 06:23

As a general sense, in terms of business process, we’ll always go simple over the breaks. And if it breaks that will add a layer of complexity. So I think you’re dead, right? Like for if a day rate works for clients, and the transaction allows them to say, Genie mark, your man charge this much would seem like a lot. But he produced 3x, the cost of his fee note. That’s the kind of like businesses about storytelling. So the story needs to be understandable. And for most smaller clients, they want a very simple explanation, Frank will come in, it’s going to charge this much, our strategy will be better, which means we’re going to that’s going to impact pretty immediately on our p&l. That’s typically how we were about execution, not about we I don’t want to be a Yoda. I want to be somebody who helps a company execute and make money.

Alastair McDermott 07:07

So let me ask you a little bit about Strategy Crowd. So are you an employee Strategy Crowd? Are you founder and owner?

Frank Hannigan 07:13

Yes. The way we have, we have four partners at the moment, they run the company, and we work together and we work separately. And that’s the way it’s almost like it’s not dissimilar to the way legal practices work. So we have four partners, Jacques, Roddy, Margaret and myself, and we’re hoping to add two more. Each of them have domain expertise, and also vertical experience. And so they will, if it makes sense, we would prefer to always work in pairs. So I would have worked in pairs, little number of people, both partners and associates, that’s much more effective, because if the risks from the clients perspective. But it also you tend to have a multiplier effect if you have two guys coming in with the same problem with a different lens. But sometimes we all work on the same project. So we all work on projects, french fries are added together, which is grateful. And again, you get that network effects by having smart people beating each other up beating each other know each other or beating our ideas up together. And that’s good crack because we trust each other. But we have different starting points.

Alastair McDermott 08:15

Right? different perspectives on the same problem. Okay. And so one question I think that people struggle with is is what actually is strategy, and you’ve got a right there in the name, and you are an expert in strategy and strategy consultants. So can we talk about strategy for me, because I think people struggle with kind of trying to try to pin it down and define what it is.

Frank Hannigan 08:33

I think, if you can’t explain what it is, whatever your domain, then you don’t know enough about it. So strategy for me is desperately simple. It’s from a Latin word, or from a Greek word, which means general shift. So it’s the organization of people and resources over time to achieve an outcome. That’s really what we work with, the way we work with companies is to try and make that as simple and as practical and as operational as we can. So typically, we will start off not with the mission vision objective statements, we will start off we have a mapping process, which we’ve developed over the last five years. And we help them to talk about the roots of their company, who they are, where they came from, why they set up their company, then we try and get them to inc where they are right now. What their value proposition is right now, what their client base is right now, what their sweet spot customer is, right now. We build a whole range of if you’d like information that allows them to sit back and go, Well, actually, yeah, I kind of knew all this, but I never saw it written down on maps before. And then the next thing we do is we say, Okay, well, all things being equal. How will this company looked like in three years time, if you were successful, how we do exactly the same thing where we have a range of topics, which cover their strategy and culture, how we got them to ink. So it’s written then and they kind of they can see here’s where we are right now. Here’s where we are in three years time, and then the strategy really has to be written that way. Just the journey, which is to help them understand what’s missing, like, what are the things you need to add to your business? You’re a great bunch of people, great leaders. But do you need a financial director who sits at the top table, a lot of SMEs don’t have that, we go through the the value of having somebody with that different lens to look at the journey. And then the final thing we do is we, we do a kind of a must win battle analysis, where we break down the journey from present state to future state into a bunch of battles, you know, so you got a war, which is the present state the future, but the battles are individual things which are timed and measurable that they can do and we help them to map that against time. Like, for me, that’s the, that’s the strategic engagements. There’s a bunch of stuff we do apart from that we do the first 100 days, which is where we, again, looking at their war, we pick a bunch of pockets over 100 days and help them through that. In fact, my instinct is that most companies in three years or four years time won’t do annual strategic plans, there’ll be 100 day plans, because we’re kind of dumb, we’ve been trained to look for immediate gratification. So doing a 12 month plan, kind of misses the point of us. We like to understand what we’re doing now, at the see some physical manifestation of success within 100 days, my instinct is that the way that most companies who are agile will, will roll in the future. And I think what we’re very good at doing is we’ve worked with 1000 companies over the last five years. So our ability to recognize patterns, I think, would be fairly acute. And then if you multiply that by how much we read around, the whole idea of strategy tends to make us very effective. So we bring external perspective that allows them to understand their war better, and understand what weapons they have to fight that war. that’s it in a nutshell. So I don’t think strategies are all complex. And I think if somebody makes you feel foolish about how they describe strategy, either they’re a sham, Sham artist, or else they don’t know themselves, but it’s To me, it’s very simple. It’s organizing people and resources over time to achieve your objective.

Alastair McDermott 12:01

And the 100 day plan thing you talked about. I’ve seen this implemented. And I’ve done myself through the 12 week year, which is kind of a very similar idea concept. And there’s a book called 12 week Year. If anybody’s listening, I’ll link in the show notes. And it’s it’s a really useful way to map things out in the short term. Let me just shift gears for a minute, I just want to ask you about failures and setbacks. Because I think that one thing that we don’t do enough is embrace failure and embrace concept. So have you know that it’s a learning experience? I think people are particularly in this country, in Ireland, we don’t as much as our US colleagues, we don’t really appreciate people who have failed as much. Can you just tell tell us a little bit you know about any failures or setbacks that you’ve experienced, what you learn from them, how you got through them

Frank Hannigan 12:42

Moving forward, we’re talking about this before we started this, my idea of a good life is is a life of constant innovation, constant reinvention, hands baked into that is constant failure. So like I have, it’s it’s got a bad name and Irish culture, but it’s the only way to change. So what I would say to companies I work with, but also what I’d say to myself is, how can I fail cheaply, fast and often? How can I you know, how can I get the kind of discipline of reflecting on those failures to learn from, so my failures are constant, I’m a complete failure. That’s my career. And if you look beyond, if you like, the more recent past, I’ve had a career in media, I worked in print media, which I loved to death, but I recognized that that was not going to be you know, it was in terminal decline and I didn’t want to be in a an industry that was terminated, declining. But I’m always drawn back to media because it’s my first love. I worked in tech then and had some success below the failures as well. And I brought a lot of ideas from media into tech. I think those hybrids of ideas are very interesting in terms of learning from failure and success. Bringing in from other sectors seems to be a pattern of success from what I can see. But uh, like, for me, like picking out one failure,

Alastair McDermott 14:02

Just having a different perspective on things.

Frank Hannigan 14:04

Yeah. I, Steve Blank talks about his mates in Stanford, and Harvard Business School laughing at him because he’s really into, into biology. And he’s fascinated by how plants work. And they’re going, Hey, you’re an economist, you’re you’re an engineer, what are you wasting your time that rubbish? He said, I’m constantly looking at how plants operate and looking for new ideas. That might be epiphany As for how startups life’s operate, I think having worked in three different sectors. So I’ve worked in tech, I’ve worked in media. For the last 13 years, I’ve been a business advisor. Those three are all connected if you want them to be, but they’re three very different careers. So there is no kind of outstanding failure. It’s been constant failure, and I embrace.

Alastair McDermott 14:47

So let me shift them to something a little bit different. How do you generate sales now? How do you do sales or marketing for strategy credit?

Frank Hannigan 14:55

Very good question. One my partner’s asked me all the time. So I would say inbound is probably the largest driver for our sales. So I do a fair amount of slow and not hopefully not too brash, online inbound marketing activity. And LinkedIn would be at the center of that. We’ve talked about this and previous conversations. So I do on a regular basis, put content up on LinkedIn. And there are times where you feel like you’re screaming into the void. But then every now and again, somebody goes clear. How’s that thing going? It could be in England, it could be in America. I go cine America? Have you heard about that? You posted something on LinkedIn, I just thought I was stuck in an airport. So I read it, it was kind of interesting. Have you done anything else? So quite a large percentage of the income I’ve generated as a consultant has been inbound, either directly from people I didn’t know, or referrals from people who I didn’t know who said, have looked at what this bozo has written on LinkedIn, you guys should talk to him. So that’s the big inbound, we do a certain mode of tendering, I have to say, if I was a consultant, I would be thinking very deeply about how I react to tenders. So initially, we responded to tenders we felt we could do, which is stupid. So that’s not good enough. So at this stage, now, we look at what’s likely income, have we got a 50-50 chance? Or one or two odds of winning this? Will we do a good job with this? And is there is there a strategic value to it? Well, if we do this, will it open doors to bigger projects, or similar projects that we’d like to work on? So we go through a high level,

Alastair McDermott 16:27

So, you narrowed down the focus.

Frank Hannigan 16:29

So if you went back to five years ago, we were like blue RS flies, responding to tenders, if you looked at the last few years, we probably do less than one a month, I’d say 10 or 11 a year, we have a huge kill rate on those tenders, because there’s so highly pre-qualified that we picked something which gives us an edge and we’re likely to win if so that’s the second driver. And then there’s the the open end, where we basically research a client and say, I love what you’re doing. We think what you’re going to do over the next five years is going to be awesome. We’d love to be part of that. And we have an idea that would add value. That’s the third part. But it’s it’s the part that should be the biggest part. And I hope it will be in the future. But at the moment, certainly for the last five years, we haven’t done half enough active selling. The one reason for that was we’re too busy. So we’d have managed meeting saying, we’ve got to do more sales. And I think in 2019, Roddy Feely, who works with me said: What exactly do you want us to sell? Because I don’t have any more time. I don’t think Frank has any more time. So sure, let’s sell enter 2021. But 2019 is full 2020 was January’s at the end of 2019. And so I think the consultants who are good at their, at their job, at their peril, lose focus on sales. I know we’re incredibly aware that we need to commit time to sales, because when you’re doing well, you feel like you’re in a height. But unless you’re constantly filling the pipeline, you will eventually come down like a

Alastair McDermott 17:59

Roller coaster at the feast or famine.

Frank Hannigan 18:00

Yeah, that’s it. So somebody said to me that that’s the reason why we select strategy crab, somebody said that most consultants are either busy working, or busy trying to get work, but they’re never at a happy place. So we set up strategy credit, the idea was Alan Kasloff, came to me with the idea and said, wouldn’t it be interesting if we had a gang of people who trusted each other, maybe reduced that kind of roller coaster, but also we might go after more exciting work. And so though, we all have different personalities, and we all have different things, we’re good enough. So again, that kind of you build this kind of a famous live team that’s better than individuals wandering off into the forest and being beaten to death by by reality.

Alastair McDermott 18:42

So I’m really interested in this because like this business model, like it must require huge amounts of trust, because you bring in people out of partner level, right, rather than bringing people to do work as employees.

Frank Hannigan 18:53

Yeah, I mean, there are a couple attributes that are required. First of all, you got to trust people. So we tend to have worked with these people in the past, as well as trust you and they need to be a bit of crack. So we need to imagine facing these guys for next 5-10-15-20 years, and looking forward to meeting them. And I think that’s that’s true of all the people your violin. The other thing, which was a surprise is shouldn’t be surprised to us but culture is really important. So having people who stand for the same things we do, we don’t have anybody who’s a an Arthur Daley character. Most of us have just,

Alastair McDermott 19:27

Explain that for anybody who doesn’t know Arthur Daley.

Frank Hannigan 19:31

In History, there was a character. It’s not about selling. Like we have a crew that are obsessed about creating value for customers. Because of that we sell a lot. But we didn’t want to have people who were obsessed with making millions and having Rolls Royce cars like we make a very good living, we will continue to increase the amount of money we earn every year. It’s a key driver. You know, we were at a point in life where it’s one of the things maybe maybe this isn’t true for everybody, but I think he’s gonna older stuff becomes less important. So, you know, I’m mad about cars, but I’ve had my most expensive car. And I’d say I won’t buy another expensive car. So money becomes less and less important. The big thing is, am I still reinventing? Am I still learning? So I would turn down a very profitable piece of work that was built for a moderately profitable piece of work that scared the pants out of me, where I’d have to read dozens of books to come up with a solution that’s much more exciting for me now, they’re making tons of money.

Alastair McDermott 20:29

I’ve got a couple things when I asked you about So you mentioned earlier, the inbound marketing is like screaming into the void sometimes. And I just want to ask you a bit about that. So is it just on LinkedIn that you’re posting content? Or are you doing it across a mix of channels? Are you writing blog posts? Are you doing videos? What what exactly have you been doing in terms of event.

Frank Hannigan 20:45

I can tell you what I’ve done today, most of the work I’ve done today, it has been on LinkedIn, I do blogs, I do a bit of Facebook. I do. I used to do an awful lot of Twitter. Unfortunately, I gone onto a state board. And I was very busy tweet tweeter until that happened. And then my wife said to me, you’re on a board though, that has to stop immediately. No more giggling or no more being ill disciplined in public. So that is that interestingly, that was five years, at the end of the five years. worryingly for pubs, because it wasn’t part of my daily ritual. I don’t really tweet that much anymore. But I used to have a lot of people would interact with me on Twitter, and I was getting and I wasn’t professional, Frank was this silly Frank on Twitter, but not always, when sometimes I both a gang and relationships, which were light touch, where people could decide to just read or would read on respond, the serious stuff I put up on LinkedIn, I’m PR, you can’t fake if I think you need to put stuff up that you really care about. So I really care about how companies and countries compete. I read a lot about that. And so when I put up stuff, it’s typically around that content area. So it’s not simply about innovation. It’s about the economics of competition. A lot of people in business, it turns out, are fascinated by that. They want to get beyond the the kind of shiny marketing talk to some of the data. And so the interesting ideas, so I tend only to write about stuff that I care about. And I think that tends to have more of an impact, then there are people who I really respect, and it’s stuff that I enjoy writing. So it tends to be more readable, if you’re what you enjoy writing about. There are people who toss up Schiff every day onto social media. And I don’t know how that could possibly be anything more than screaming into the void. Because I don’t read. They don’t seem to care about if I don’t what’s the impact?

Alastair McDermott 22:39

Is it that it’s not good quality?

Frank Hannigan 22:41

Yeah, it’s like, it’s almost as if people go, Oh, I have to do my morning run. Now I have to do three tweets, I have to put them in and have them scheduled to repeat. That’s not the way people have conversations. And for me, social media is about this global asynchronous conversation. You know, it shouldn’t be about spam, it should be a very people Shut up, if you’ve nothing to say. And that’s why I don’t do that much on social media. But when I have something to say, I’ll finally craft it. And I’ll put it out there. And if people respond, I love having a conversation about it. And those conversations, I suppose if they’re genuine, and if they show passion that makes other people say, geez, I wouldn’t mind working with a fella. I think he’s got something interesting to say, I wonder what you make of our company and how we compete. So I think being genuine. I always think of social media as if I’m walking into a bar like Dottie and as butts I operate the same way I would with both friends, you know, the way I talk with friends, the way I talk with strangers, and a little bit of respect.

Alastair McDermott 23:43

You’re in, you’re in a social social setting, and you’re just talking to people like you would.

Frank Hannigan 23:46

A better respect for the strangers and no respect for the friends.

Alastair McDermott 23:53

So listen, that that’s a good segue because I just want to ask you about something that is kind of close to my heart. You can see Cartman behind me, he’s holding a rugby ball. And I don’t like to be all business all the time. I like to have a bit of fun. I like to have a bit of a laugh. And I don’t like things to be dead serious. So I’m just interested because I know that you’re you’re quite similar. And he talks a bit about the Twitter and the silly Frank and stuff. How do you manage combining being fun and having a bit of crack, as we say here with also, you know, the serious parts of doing business? How do you make both those work together?

Frank Hannigan 24:25

I don’t know is the answer. I mean, I’m not sure I’ve got it perfectly right. I mean, I would find I definitely have a bit of a devilment in me. And even if I’m in the middle of something that’s quite serious workwise that sometimes comes to the surface, but I know it’s can be annoying, but it’s the genuine it

Alastair McDermott 24:41

Can also relieve tension. Right.

Frank Hannigan 24:43

Sometimes it can relieve tension. And I think certainly, you know, the Irish humor is disarming, especially for you have where you’re dealing with pretty profound conflict. I think it can help you know, and I certainly like in some of the research I’ve done, the Irish tend to do well, internationally where people who are more black and white tend to find conflict very difficult and find the getting out of conflict very difficult. I think Irish people are naturally able to filter the gray and say, Well hold on a second here. There’s some synthesis here, you know, what you’re saying makes a ton of sense, what you’re saying is a ton. That makes a ton of sense. But neither of those two positions will hold, if you want to work together. So can we think of something in the middle like something, which is not a compromise, but is definitely great. So I think the way our culture has set us up, and I think perhaps even to a DNA level, Irish people have this astonishing ability to understand great to understand ambiguity. And I think that enriches our ability for crack and play. But it also, it tends to make us much more empathetic than other tribes in Europe. And I hope like I don’t think I’ve got to write it because I am very guilty. And I can concentrate really hard for very short periods of time, then I get giddy customers have to my clients have to deal with. And hopefully they do.

Alastair McDermott 26:06

I mean, I think it is possible to you know, to make business and having a sense of humor and just being you know, a person who likes to likes not be serious all the time. I think it’s possible to make those work together. And I think it’s important, but I’m always looking for ways to do it better. So okay, I thought you’d have all the answers for me,

Frank Hannigan 26:23

No, that’s the terrible thing when I was 20 years of age I was thinking I would lads, my age would have all the answers. No, this age free life. There’s no growing up. And just

Alastair McDermott 26:32

just for people who are listening and can’t see Frank looks like he’s about 30. So So okay, let me ask you talking about the about the youngsters. So if somebody is starting out trying to build their own consulting business, what advice would you have for you know, for young, we Frank who’s coming up 20 years behind, you’re 30 years behind you.

Frank Hannigan 26:50

I’m not sure you should probably start at that age to be a consultant, because I think consulting is probably distilling a lot of experience, you have an expertise that you build up. So my career to a great extent, was working in industry, it was only in 2013, that I really started thinking of a third career in advisory. By that stage, I have so many templates of success and failure, that I’m able to bring something to the table, there is a business model, which is build a central knowledge base, and have loads of young MBAs go out there and use us to solve problems. And that’s a very effective model is it’s the Accenture model to a great extent, you know, where you know, you’ve got a bit of truffle oil, the partners and directors are over the young fellas gonna do. But I think that must be really hard. Because to be honest, perspective is the most important thing and picking out a path that works in business. The, you know, what I’m betting on, I think I’m right is that comes with age. And the more life experience you have, the more valuable you are as a business advisor. So I’m hoping to do this into my 70s. Because if I’m still interested, I’ll still do it. But I don’t think you have that perspective at 25 like, from my memory, I read a piece that said, boys and girls don’t mature until they’re about 25. So one of the key things they don’t have is a very detailed three dimensional concept of risk. And that’s why turns for cars for people under 25 is so high because they literally can’t understand risk the way older people do. The three things that drive a business, our money, time, and risk money, exactly those those three things. So if you don’t, if you don’t grasp one of those three key drivers of business, you’re kind of useless. And I don’t think you really understand how people work or how culture works. Hopefully you’re in your 30s. So my advice would be if you want to be consultants, go into the big consultancy practices and work in a team with our lads like me, or else work in the industry and and be build up time as a practitioner of business as opposed to an advisor, which is why it is

Alastair McDermott 28:53

Yeah, you have to have that practical experience first, before you can go into advisory. Yeah. Let me ask you, have you read anything or listened to anything recently that has inspired you?

Frank Hannigan 29:01

There are a couple of people I keep going back to Clay Christensen from Harvard, who passed away this year is a constant. He’s like an uncle. And you know whether he’s on YouTube or on, he doesn’t there’s one YouTube go back to all the time, which is his case study about selling milkshakes. I’d recommend recommend that on YouTube, if you haven’t seen it but he’s just brilliant.

Alastair McDermott 29:21

Definitely link to that in the show notes. Yeah, that’s great. Well, yeah.

Frank Hannigan 29:24

His concept of breaking innovation into sustaining and disruptive, I think is transformational in terms of business practice. So I think he’s really cool. Not quite as much crack both his colleague, Michael Porter is boundless intelligence in terms he came from engineering into economics. So he’s completely different about the way he thought his problems. He’s brilliant. Again, that different perspective. Yeah. Steve Blank, who is another guy who I really love and he is an engineer. I think he teaches at Stanford engineering school at Harvard Business School, and his vision of a family. Have an effective business school, the future is one where leaders are taught those two different sets of solution creation or problem solving. I don’t have any engineering at all background. So I’m always agog at looking at how people solve things from an engineering perspective. For that’s

Alastair McDermott 30:18

Very methodically.

Frank Hannigan 30:20

Yeah. And that’s it. It’s not something that I, I instinctively have in my toolkit, like, I started with Fuzzy Wuzzy, and then bring it into a solution. And these guys,

Alastair McDermott 30:31

Let me recommend a book for you, then his cabinet traigo. And their analytical troubleshooting methods slowly, he might find that interesting. So let me ask you buy books and do a particular business book that is your favorite or that you’d recommend?

Frank Hannigan 30:45

I don’t have one because I knew even asking that question. I’m not going to pick one right now. But I think just keep looking, one of the things that I would strongly recommend is, “If You Smell Bullshit, Don’t Buy It.” So I would say 90% of all the business books that I have been recommended, I read the first I read the preface, and I’ve just said, this is actually just money making. I’m not gonna I’m not gonna learn anything with this. So I like people who go deeply into a problem, like Porter, for example, because I have an instinct that at the end of the book, I’m going to learn something. If there’s, you know, there’s like, there’s a whole lot of boyband economists. And they write this stuff with, “oh, I read this book, I read it in one goal, it’s amazing. It’s so much fun.” Really? And that’s going to teach you? Your customer is going to benefit from that? I don’t think so. So a lot of these, you know, half eaten biscuit, the three seconds working week, all this stuff, I think is entertainment, it’s of no interest to me, I can get entertained by Netflix, if I’m going to invest in a business book, I want it to be something that’s meaningful, where somebody has basically given up their lives to understand something small that allows companies to perform in a way they wouldn’t otherwise, that’s a good book for me. If it’s got a guru or a monk on the front cover, I probably won’t buy the thing I will find out.

Alastair McDermott 31:59

And, by the way fiction, are you reader of fiction?

Frank Hannigan 32:02

Yeah, I was trying to think what what I probably, the Lord of the Rings is probably anything he’s written is probably where I go to and I it’s no surprise, I love Star Wars, the Star Trek. So going back to the thing about being old, still have grown up still loved those incredibly cool worlds where you can, you can be immersed. And that’s the kind of I don’t read a huge amount of fiction, I’ll be very honest with you, I tend to outside of business, I would really not love a lot of history books. So I’m quite deeply invested in genealogy, as you know, that I have. I can’t think of his name. Now I have the 36 words for a field on my sideboard at the moment, that’s an Irish young Irish writer who has a caption, one book, all of these words from modern Irish and middle Irish, explain place names and stuff like that. So that’s the kind of stuff I geek out on. I find Ireland is fascinating. And our history, the physical nature of the country, the genealogy I just adore. It’s again, it’s it’s it’s a bit like Star Wars. It’s a complete world you can go into and get completely immersed.

Alastair McDermott 33:09

Super. Okay, so where is the best place to anybody’s interested to find you online?

Frank Hannigan 33:13

I’d say LinkedIn. So if anybody wants to talk to me, LinkedIn is where it’s the business of LinkedIn is business. So Facebook, unfortunately, is a well, maybe it’s cats, dogs, a lunatic right wing, human honors, all that kind of stuff. And it’s kind of fun, and it’s only if I’m going to do business with you that’s probably not where I want to be that mindset. If I’m contacted on LinkedIn, I know you’re serious and you’ll be focused on what you want.

Alastair McDermott 33:38

Okay. Well, Frank, thank you so much for being with us today.

Frank Hannigan 33:41

Great to be with you. Just.

Alastair McDermott 33:46

If you gained any insights or tips from this episode, please share it. It might just be the thing to help someone in your network. If you share the shownotes link it will include a podcast player and all the other information from today’s episode. Thanks for listening and see you in the next one.