Charles McLachlan Podcast Transcript
Charles McLachlan joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.
Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of The Digital Executive Podcast.
Welcome to the Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Charles McLaughlin. Charles McLaughlin is the founder and CEO of FuturePerfect. Charles is an advisor to CEOs and senior leaders in the scale up business community. With experience in founding and developing technology startups, he joined Anderson Business Consulting, becoming a partner in the Global Advanced Technology Advisory Team, shaping new propositions for the world’s fastest growing consultancy.
[00:00:38] Brian Thomas: Well, good afternoon, Charles. Welcome to the show.
[00:00:41] Charles McLachlan: Great to be here, Brian.
[00:00:43] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. Thank you again. And Charles, I know you’re hailing out of the country of the UK right now. So again, making the time on a podcast is sometimes challenging, but. We do appreciate that, especially a little wave here from across the pond.
So thank you again, Charles. Charles let’s just jump right in here. Let’s talk to you about your career as an advisor, partner, serial entrepreneur, and now the founder and CEO of FuturePerfect. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?
[00:01:17] Charles McLachlan: Yeah, I think it’s changed over time, but There has been three things that have been really important to me, one is I’ve always wanted autonomy in my working life. So almost all of my life, I have worked as a freelancer on independent. There was a phase when I spent five years as a partner in an international professional services firm, but even then, I had a level of autonomy, which was very exciting. I think the second thing is realized over the years how much I enjoy growing and developing other people.
And so even though, I started out in technology, even though I did a computer science degree, Actually, again and again, what I’ve noticed is that where I’ve thrived, it’s been about growing teams, developing people, helping people think about new ways of doing things. And I think that has fueled my career in so many different ways.
And one of the things that happened was I became a visiting professor at University College London. And that again reflected my desire to teach and develop people. But perhaps the third thing is. I’ve not been afraid to take risks. I’ve tended to do the things I want to do. Rather than the things that necessarily could make me the very most money.
I’ve tended to be prepared to work for much smaller organizations than perhaps other people have worked for. I’ve tended not to see myself as on a career ladder, but somebody who’s got a longer-term view about where they want to get to, but is very, very adaptable about the steps to get there. And so, I suppose that’s what has given me a really enjoyable working life.
There’ve been times when it’s been tough. There’s been times when I’ve worked very, very hard. But overall, I would say that my working life has given me huge variety, great opportunity and some opportunities to feel that I’ve made a difference, a difference to the people I’ve worked with, difference to the people I’ve worked for, and sometimes even a difference to a whole group of people in ways that I could never have imagined.
[00:03:17] Brian Thomas: Thank you. That’s awesome. And I like how you talked about early on in your career, you kind of freelance did this or that, but you did the things that you’d like to do or love to do. And I know that’s what truly makes us go every day. Sometimes working up the corporate ladder can be a dead end from a lot of different perspectives, physically, mentally, et cetera. So, thank you again for sharing.
Charles, Next question for you today. Could you talk to us about this powerful brand that you’ve built over the last several years, where you empower CEOs and senior professionals through a range of innovative new membership offers?
[00:03:52] Charles McLachlan: Yes, it’s evolved, I suppose, like so many things that I’ve got involved in, it’s evolved.
And what I began to realize was for many CEOs, particularly working in smaller organizations, it’s incredibly lonely at the top. And they may have built that business or ended up in that business through some professional or technical skill or some great passion, but actually. There’s so many other things they have to do that they never expected to do.
So, if I think about myself, I built a software development services business, but I didn’t realize I’d have to know about HR and finance and marketing and sales. I thought just being a really great software architect would be everything I needed to be. And so, it is for these CEOs. And so by building a group, the CEO Growth Academy, where they could come together regularly, share their experiences, learn great stuff from great international speakers, and then have one to one support outside that room, they could really start to get better at what they do, but also become more of everything they were created to be and ultimately build a future that worked for them.
Sadly, some of the people I worked with when they first joined the academy thought that the business was there to work for them, but they ended up working for the business. And for a CEO, that’s really quite disappointing. And the business they’re working for was not allowing the rest of their life to work.
And so going on a journey and examining the, not just the how of business, but the what of business and the why of business gave them an opportunity to completely redefine what being a CEO meant for them. And as I started working on that. I realized there were also lots of senior professionals stuck in corporate life who would have loved to start a business of their own, but really it was too much of a stretch to step out and build something from scratch.
And so this transition to becoming a portfolio executive Or what some people call a fractional direct, where you have a portfolio of part time executive roles with smaller organizations, allow them to draw on all the professional skills, allow them to be successful in making a difference for their clients, but also gave them the freedom to have a work style where by fee earning perhaps 12 days a month.
They could rebuild the income they’d had in full-time employment and create all sorts of opportunities for their future. So those brands really came out of my desire for people to make the most of their futures, to experience freedom and joy in their work, and ultimately to make their future work. So FuturePerfect comes from that idea about You won’t be able to get a future that works for you unless you step into the future and from that future vantage point look back on what has happened so far.
And that’s really the essence of brand, freedom and joy in your working life, making your future work.
[00:06:56] Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. Freedom and joy. That’s so cool. Helping others. It’s like planting the seed and growing a new plant. And it looks like you’ve just done an incredible amount of work mentoring others and letting leaders break out of that corporate box and be themselves and do something bigger than them. So, thank you.
Charles, we are a technology platform publication podcast. I’m a technologist. We like to chat about tech. Don’t need to get into the weeds, but we want to ask if you’re leveraging any of that new or emerging technologies in your business. And if not, maybe you found a cool tool or app you might share with us.
[00:07:34] Charles McLachlan: Yeah, so as somebody who’s spent all of my life in the technology world, I’m afraid I have a deep skepticism about tools. My wife is known as Gadget Girl because she’d always buy the next gadget, the next tool. She’s the one who had the first iPhone in our household.
She’s the one who had the first Mac in our household. So, I’m a sort of slow follower, but I have found, some things really make a difference the way I go about business. And maybe they’re not the most advanced tools, but they make a difference to me. So, I find LinkedIn a really powerful platform. Is it the cleverest tool in the world?
No. But it makes a huge difference the way I do business. I’m starting to play with ChatGPT, not because it’s got answers, but it helps me to tidy up the poor English that I write. So, it’s a great copy editor for me. I really love the power of video to make a difference to what I do. And then just making sure that I have the right CRM, that I have something that works for me around video editing that I can use a scorecard type app to drawing potential clients.
All of those things are working for me. And none of that is bleeding edge tech. All of that is just better mousetraps. So, I suppose my advice to people who are listening to this is sometimes all you need is a better mousetrap. You don’t always need to be at the bleeding edge and in the past, I’ve worked on the bleeding edge, and I’ve loved it, but now I want technology to serve me rather than to be the place where I get my personal adrenaline rush.
[00:09:09] Brian Thomas: Thank you. I like your perspective on that. And I’ve over the years always thought being on the bleeding edge was the place to be. Obviously, you’ll want to be out there listening, learning and understanding what’s being innovated and discovered and brought forward.
But Charles, thank you again for sharing that. I do appreciate your insights there. Charles, last question of the day. Can you share something from your career experience? That would be helpful for those listening today, looking to grow their career in business development or entrepreneurship.
[00:09:42] Charles McLachlan: This might not be a popular subject, but I really want people to embrace failure again and again. I look back at my working life and actually the things that have been the step change have been the failures. That business that I was thought was, I was so proud of that was going great guns. Ultimately, the majority shareholder shut it down from a financial point of view.
That was the failure. And so, what I have realized is that we’re not good, particularly in the UK, maybe the better at it in the U. S. Acknowledging failure, saying what it is and then embracing it, embracing it because yes, you need to mourn it. It’s a disappointment. But embracing it also because it has done something in you and for you, not just something to you. So, my advice is Embrace failure, acknowledge it, work it through, and then what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
[00:10:45] Brian Thomas: Thank you again. And that is so true. We’ve talked to many entrepreneurs like yourself, and failure is just a learning moment, something that you do need to take a pause and learn from it.
And then grow stronger out of it. So, thank you again, Charles. Charles, it was a pleasure having you on today. And I look forward to speaking with you real soon.
[00:11:04] Charles McLachlan: Well, Brian, it’s great to be here and I look forward to meeting with you on another occasion.
[00:11:09] Brian Thomas: Bye for now.
Charles McLachlan Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.