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Advisor Insights- Ken Goldberg Modus Management Certified Chair Advisor Consultant

Ken Goldberg’s professional career includes sales, marketing and leadership roles. He’s worked for family businesses, private equity held businesses, early stage, high growth and also in the corporate environment primarily in the tech sector in Australia and overseas.

Ken channels this experience into Modus Management, a specialised Advisory and management consultancy for aspiring business owners and leaders seeking to enhance growth and maximise their vision. Within his portfolio of work, Ken provides consulting, a 1:1 “board of advice” and formalised Advisory Board support as a Certified Chair.

In this Advisor Insights conversation with Louise Broekman, Founder and CEO of the Advisory Board Centre, Ken provides a window into how he supports business owners as an Advisory Board Chair. He also provides his top tips for business owners and Advisors to gain the most value out of their Advisory Board structure.

 

The Advisor Insights series are unfiltered conversations giving you a lens into real people and real businesses within the Advisor ecosystem.

 

 

The number one tip for Advisors, including myself, is that we should always ask how we’re relevant and what kind of value we can add to businesses. – Ken Goldberg, Modus Management – Certified Chair

 

Listen to the Podcast

Read the Transcript

Louise Broekman:
I’m here today with Ken Goldberg, who’s a Certified Chair and the ultimate professional in Chairing advisory boards. And so I’ve asked Ken to come along and to share his story. So welcome Ken.

Ken Goldberg:
Thank you. Nice meeting you.

Louise Broekman:
So Ken, let’s just start off, if you can share your story, that’d be a terrific place to start.

Ken Goldberg:
Sure Louise. Well, my background is sales, marketing and leadership roles. I’ve worked for family businesses, private equity held businesses, early stage, high growth and also in the corporate environment. Primarily in the tech sector, but that has enabled me to see a lot of solutions across industry sectors of which has provided a lot of insights around the challenges across functional areas, business processes, business models.

Ken Goldberg:
And so now I have a management consultancy called Modus Management. I’m working with aspiring and technically proficient business owners and leaders. I help them enhance growth and maximise organisational competence. And I’m also now involved with providing advisory board services as a Certified Chair and Advisor.

Louise Broekman:
Ken, moving into this whole advisory board space and Chairing advisory boards, what’s that experience been like for you? And maybe some of the observations of the businesses that you’ve been supporting about what was the situation for them to bring on you and an advisory board?

Ken Goldberg:
Sure, sure. So first off, I work with a range of clients across industry sectors. What I have been doing is I’ve been performing what I call a monthly board of advice, which is really an advisory board of one, but that’s enabled me to have a natural progression and transitioned to formalised advisory boards. I’m currently Chairing an advisory board, which is made up of three business owners and two Advisors besides myself. And we’ve been doing that for about eight months. That business is growing quite rapidly and pushing international boundaries. So that’s very exciting.

Ken Goldberg:
I’m also currently setting up two other businesses with advisory boards. They’re at different stages, but one is just ready now to submit a expression of interest and look for Advisors. They’re typically longterm engagements. And I think you asked me kind of what I find is that I’m providing is value or the advisory boards are providing value.

Ken Goldberg:
What I see is that, well as the Chair I initially am trying to identify their key priorities. I think that’s really important. I’m using things, actually advisory board center provides a diagnostic called the Growth Score and I think that’s really quite valuable. I also do other diagnostics such as the value chain assessment and a number of other ones if deemed necessary.

Ken Goldberg:
I think the important job of the advisory board is to what I call triaging priorities. So it’s really enabling the business to go from a reactive environment to a proactive environment. Things like determining scope for engagement is a really big deal. And then re-evaluating that over time. The advisory board gets into things like looking at the business model of funding arrangements, defending the core, expansion, capabilities, roles. And there’s a whole raft of things. I mean these owners hold the levers basically and you really, as an advisory board you need to help them see around corners if you will. So I kind of deem the advisory board as really providing strategic options in that expert think tank if you will.

Louise Broekman:
Ken, we caught up a few weeks ago and you were talking about how different the role of the Chair is to when you’re consulting. What’s the difference for you as a professional in those roles?

Ken Goldberg:
Yeah, I think one on one consulting it’s maybe a little more intimate. You become this trusted advisor of course, which the Advisory Board do too. But I think you delve into a little more detail, and it’s probably less formalised. I mean, my practices are I try to add discipline, but I think when you start adding the other group Advisors as part of the board, it really causes the business and business owners to get a lot more discipline and formalise the way they go about looking at their business and making commitments and being held to account. I think that’s a real strength of what the advisory board provides.

Louise Broekman:
I recall when I was Chairing advisory boards that you could see that transition. After six months they would change the way they make decisions normally on the run into a more structured approach.

Ken Goldberg:
Definitely.

Louise Broekman:
Ken, your top three tips, what kind of tips would you give business owners as well as Advisors in this space?

Ken Goldberg:
So in terms of businesses, what would I advise? My three tips would be, number one, continue to develop your business and financial acumen. It’s incredible- and I’m sure you can relate to this- how many business owners, they don’t really understand their financial statements. And I think it’s a really big deal to understand what’s going on in your business financially. So that would be number one.

Ken Goldberg:
Number two, there really needs to be a willingness by business owners to be challenged. Well, the businesses need to be challenged, but also the business owners themselves need to be willing to be challenged. And I think number three, really trying to find that time to become more strategic. And of course using an advisory board, that helps support being strategic and developing their strategy.

Ken Goldberg:
And it’s, I guess it’s what I deemed kind of moving from that, like I said, that reactive environment. I call it leverage dysfunction to a more proactive environment, which I would call an intelligent organisation. So, open and honest communication, managing your IP properly, getting the right people in the right roles. And there’s a whole bunch of factors involved with that. I think advisory boards can help with that.

Ken Goldberg:
In terms of the tips that I would give Advisors, the number one thing is I think including myself, we should always ask how we’re relevant and what kind of value we can add to these businesses. And I think that’s just an ongoing questioning of oneself as an advisor. Number two, I think Advisors need to be really good listeners and then ask the right questions to help close those knowledge gaps.

Ken Goldberg:
And finally for Advisors, I think there’s a responsibility as an advisor to continually scan the market environment and continue to learn. So things like the Advisory Board Centre offer quarterly meetings and provide research. And I think it’s really important because the more I understand, the more Advisors understand, they can provide that information to businesses and help them meet their vision.

Louise Broekman:
Ken, it’s so great to have you as part of this community, in this thought leadership space.  I look forward to seeing the continued success with the boards that you’re Chairing. And anytime you want to pop back in to provide your ongoing insights, please let me know. So I’d love to continue this journey, thanks very much.

Ken Goldberg:
That’s my pleasure.

About Author:

Louise Broekman
Louise is an award winning Entrepreneur, researcher and business advisor. Louise has received recognition from Industry and Government at a local and national level for her contribution to the Australian business sector. She is an in-demand speaker and is regularly called upon as the leading voice for Advisory Boards in the Asia Pacific region.