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In The Round and me - Elliot's story

There has to be passion.

No this isn't the opening line to a bodice ripper or even a Mills and Boon novel. This is my philosophy in life. Whether it is within my personal life, my hobbies or my work, I have to throw myself into it wholeheartedly.

When I started my consultancy three years ago, I hadn't realised just how stale I had become. I had about 45 years in my previous life and whilst I had loved it for much of that time, the changes that I'd seen in my profession over the years had taken much of the joy out of the work. So, for the last three years I have rekindled that passion with the sheer variety of the work and the wonderful people that I have met.

However, something was missing. The one thing I had in my previous life was the collegiate aspect of my work. Whilst I had certain skills, the clients could only get the best out of me if they had a complete service . That is to say, when I recognised that they had other issues, I was able to introduce colleagues in house who could solve a client’s problems that I did not have the skill to help with.

One of the wonderful aspects of my work is that I engender trust from my clients to the extent that they consult me about a variety of problems, recognising that whilst I am not in a position myself to solve them, I may know of someone who can. They trust me to introduce the right person to their organisation.

That was the one thing that was missing from my work over the last three years and particularly when working with charities, that is what I needed most. Out of the blue I had a conversation with Ian Crocombe, a colleague in the UK Business Advisors network. As a fellow charity trustee his frustration was that the techniques he had used in private business, relating to continuous improvement, would be equally valid in the charity sector but he couldn’t talk to anyone about this. I thought this was an excellent addition to the services I could offer my clients but wondered whether providing a holistic service to my charity clients could be enhanced in some other way.

In the last three years I had come to know and worked with Rachel Hayward, whose award winning consultancy Ask the Chameleon had helped charities on funding applications and awards. At the same time, I had known Sue Thorn as both a client and a colleague in working with charities on both constitutional matters and her particular expertise of Learned Society publications . I approached both Rachel and Sue and wondered if they would be interested in coming together with Ian and I to provide a group of like- minded people for charities who could see them as an organisation “in the round” where a change in one area could impact on another.

Having one organisation to approach who could see and help them with all aspects of the charity would be something that charities would find really helpful.

What I found was three other people deeply grounded in the charity sector but with wider commercial knowledge who shared my passion to make charities more efficient and effective for their beneficiaries, staff and trustees. Thus, In the Round Advisors was created and in a short period of time we have already seen the impact of what four people of different skills working together can make to get things done. We still have our own businesses but as someone who advocates closer co-operation between charities, this is a perfect example of when working together can provide added value to our clients. Not only can we work together on projects but act as a sounding board for each other when needed.

It already feels like one of the best things I have ever done and despite the present issues surrounding Covid-19, we are open for business to help your charity in this most difficult time.

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