Interview: Barry Trout
This month we introduce independent consultant Barry Trout. The former Boston Consulting Group and Oliver Wyman consultant was recently placed by Odgers Interim Consulting to support the growth strategy of a global consumer goods company.
What drew you to a career as an independent consultant?
“Like many people these days, I’m looking for a multi-faceted career that offers the opportunity to work in a variety of fields, with a broad spectrum of businesses, sectors and personalities.
“I don’t think many paths would have given me the experience that I’ve had already in my career. It has taken me on a journey through a plethora of roles, from devising a new pricing strategy at a component manufacturer to supporting an international hotel group break into emerging markets, and being CEO of a leading recruitment group.”
What has been the main difference compared to working at a traditional consultancy house?
“As an independent consultant, you often get the chance to operate at a more senior level within flatter and smaller teams. The flexibility I can offer in my current position is a significant factor in management decisions when appointing advisers and allows me to essentially become part of the team.
“In terms of the role itself, it is all about assessing problems and devising solutions. Independent consultants are often expected to help implement any changes they put forward and not just to offer guidance. Professionally, this means that I can see projects through from start to finish. Not only is it deeply satisfying to witness the impact and value you can bring, it also makes me a better consultant and helps create deeper relationships with my clients.
“For example, I spent six months with a leading British F1 racing group to help codify the drivers of high performance. Aside from the fascinating insight it provided into the mechanics of a top-level sports team and life in motorsport, I was able to really get to the bottom of what made the team succeed. We used these insights to deliver fundamental improvements to the operations of one of team’s principal sponsors.”
How has independent consultancy helped your career?
“It can be easy for some professionals to box themselves into their own comfort zone and stop learning. As an independent consultant, the constant arrival of fresh challenges and opportunities helps to keep my skills sharp and experience relevant.”
How has independent consultancy affected your lifestyle?
“At the heart of it all, I’m an entrepreneur. When I’m off placements, I dedicate my time to High Performance Life, a corporate wellness business I founded in October 2015 to help optimise clients’ working environments and enhance the physical and mental performance of their team members.
“In my spare time, I also get to see to my non-executive director commitments. I currently work with Succorfish M2M, a leading designer and developer of bespoke GPS tracking, data collection and asset management solutions for harsh environments. I’m also a trustee of the 52 Lives charity. The independent consultancy lifestyle essentially gives me the ‘best of both worlds’ and means I’m not tied to just one business.”