Interview with Amber Sherlock

Peter Selby, Australasia’s #1 Executive Advisor on Business Optimisation and Strategic Growth, is interviewed by television news presenter and reporter Amber Sherlock of TV’s Nine News. This video represents the entirety of Peter’s extensive interview with Ms. Sherlock.


Amber Sherlock: I’m Amber Sherlock and welcome to the Trusted Authority Alliance Expert Series Show. We’re here today with Peter Selby. Peter is Australasia’s number one executive advisor on business optimisation and strategic growth. Working exclusively with senior executives responsible for growth and sustainability, who are challenged to implement the drivers they need for their competitive advantage. In an era where businesses run faster than ever, Peter helps senior executives get their priorities in order so they can achieve sustainable success. In his book, Defining Your Roadmap To Profit And Growth, Peter shares the 10 critical disciplines that are essential for senior executives who want to achieve a sustainable and competitive advantage in their market. Welcome to the show, Peter.

Peter Selby: Thank you.

Amber Sherlock: Can you share with our audience a little a bit about your story and success you’ve had in your career?

Peter Selby: Yeah, I started my career in the row, is actually in the UK, I’ve been in heavy in infrastructure and industry ever since then. Moved into manufacturing and asset management of major infrastructure. Came to the southern hemisphere, gradually worked my way up the corporate ladder, I guess into senior corporate roles in blue-chip companies. And found a bit of a talent for spotting the underlying patterns and levers that need to be pulled to help optimise business results in any kind of operational business. And that led to the last few years really consulting and helping people. So I get to help people with their living which is pretty good.

Amber Sherlock: Why did you decide to write this book?

Peter Selby: Well, I spent a lot of my time advising senior executives and the book’s really an extension of that process. So, not only does it get to a wider audience, but it also gives them reference material. I can go and have quite deep conversations about things. With a book as well, they’ve got something to refer back to afterwards and some of the tips and opinions. The formula in a conversation can be referred back to the book.

Amber Sherlock: All right, so who specifically is this book for?

Peter Selby: Really any senior executive or business owner that is the point of a business where they’re responsible for the growth on the profit. So where sales and operations come together, if you like. Today, the executive having to do more and more margins are tighter, that doing more with less. So being able to find the underlying patterns and businesses more and more important, you know, so really in that space, that book is for anyone that has that responsibility in any business to be fair.

Amber Sherlock: What are some of the big ideas that you’d like your readers to take away from your book?

Peter Selby: The book discusses a numerous I guess topics, but if you think about the levers you can pull in a business from the price lever to the volume lever to the cost control lever, it really covers all those aspects from setting a strategy that’s team-based. So the guy at the top or the girl at the OPs, not doing all the heavy lifting, through to streamlining the processes, supply chain, cash flow, making safety part of the DNA of the business right through to the delivery to the customer. So it really covers all those aspects.

Amber Sherlock: So how will your book make an impact on your reader and help them?

Peter Selby: The book really helps the lead, the organisational leader think about what levers to pull for very aspects of the business, what to look out for, and something to reference back over time. So, you know, driving business improvement takes a long time and it’s a reference material that he can come back to and check, you know, the initial thinking against the results that he’s seen.

Amber Sherlock: Can you share one or two success stories of clients that you’ve worked with that have actually followed your approach?

Peter Selby: Sure, yeah we have numerous customers I guess, but I’ll give you a couple from each end of the scale. So we helped a large company with strategy that other very stressed CEO that just couldn’t get momentum on the strategy. Very well thought through business plan but the team around him just weren’t aligned to where he was trying to go. And as a result, the business wasn’t getting the momentum it needed. So I worked with him and his team to take a much more team based approach to strategy planning. And that gave accountabilities into the team, caught momentum into the team and that rippled right through the organisation over time and gave her the whole organisation momentum. Another example would be from the other end of the scale on the back of the business, we helped a company in Australia not that long ago where they were in absolute cashflow crisis. So they were at the point of criticality, Ashley, I’d been not going in when we have, they wouldn’t have survived as a company. And worked with them on their approach to market, how they work their demand from the market into the operations of the business and therefore streamlining what’s required for inventory to hold at any one time. And we actually turned the fortunes round at that because we actually doubled their cashflow, which is, we came out of that feeling pretty good actually.

Amber Sherlock: Yeah. Amazing. When you select the clients you want to work with, what are you looking for?

Peter Selby: We’re really looking for customers that understand that to get to where they want to go they really need to get an outside perspective on that. Just trying to keep doing what they’ve always done isn’t getting you get the momentum they want. Secondly, we were kind of look for the clients that are really motivated to get it done sooner rather than later. Because the problem with thinking about improvement, the longer you leave it, the harder it is to actually do because the further off track you are. So we’re kind of looking for those two areas really to have clients that need but also are motivated to solve the problem.

Amber Sherlock: What are some of the biggest challenges you think facing the industry now or in the future?

Peter Selby: Well, certainly in the industrial space where we do a lot of work, but you could probably argue it across a lot of industries. There’s a lot more disruption in competition than it ever was. So starting a business up is a lot getting into market, the barriers are coming down. There’s a lot more disruptive play. So there’s a lot more general competition if you couple that then with the fact that generally in markets margining are tightening as competition increases executives or last covering more, there’s less of them because of the cost and then they’re having to do more with less and that makes business improvement all the harder. So I think most two challenges sort of right off the back of each other, but really make it difficult for executives today to get the business momentum they need in the markets they need to do it.

Amber Sherlock: What is the single best piece of advice that you’d give to your clients?

Peter Selby: Don’t be scared to get professional help and you might see what he’s a consultant. He’s bound to say that. But when we work with businesses, because we bring best practice and I mean consultants, generally you’re bringing best practice from all industries. You end up in a position that the company would have never got to on its own. And most of our customers tell us that they wished they’d hired professional health a long time ago and not left it so long. So that’s probably the key tip really.

Amber Sherlock: And what would you say is the most fulfilling aspect of the work that you do?

Peter Selby: I’m pretty privileged because I’d make a living and helping people, you know we get to see it in all forms. We deliver quite a wide scope of services to a wide range of customers. I do a lot of one on one advisory work. So we get to see both by working with clients over time, we get to see both the improvement it brings a business, but also the individuals. And you know, that’s quite fulfilling personally. Quite humbling in a lot of ways.

Amber Sherlock: Well, your book is Defining Your Roadmap To Profit And Growth, Peter Selby, thank you so much for your time today.

Peter Selby: Thank you very much.