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An Awesome Advisor


An Awesome Advisor
Adrian Ashton has several national reputations and international awards for
supporting enterprises of all types across a range of issues and themes,
the latest being the Leading Advisor of the Year – UK award. We invited
him to talk about his work as a freelance and his thoughts in winning this
impressive accolade.

s a freelancer, I offer enterprise advice able to be pragmatic; and I also liked the response

A and support on a consultancy basis. I
also consider myself very fortunate in
of one particular person: ‘you’re awesome!’.

how I can do this, having the political In terms of the important role that advisers more
freedom to be able to explicitly lobby national policy generally carry out, including myself, I would say
Company: Adrian Ashton and legislation, where I see that it may not be best that organisations usually tend to focus on systems
Name: Adrian Ashton aligned with the changing needs of the sectors and and procedures as needing to be developed or
Email: adrian.ashton2@ industries my clients trade and operate within. reviewed. But having said this, I think it’s just as important (if not more so) for the people in an
Web: As a freelance consultant, I offer clients several organisation to also be involved in supporting their
Address: Office, areas of expertise and specialism which currently change and adoption. The use of external advisers
6 White Hart Fold include: who can share objective perspectives and stories
Todmorden - Impact reporting and planning future services from elsewhere can be a very powerful way to
OL14 7BD, UK and growth; ensure people are engaged and supportive of
Phone: +44 (0)7786 492313 - Enterprise start-up and growth; processes and changes being introduced.
- Governance and managing change;
- Financial modelling and pursuing investment; As a freelancer, I do not directly employ anyone,
and but do enjoy working with a close network of trusted
- Enterprise education. associates. Through our collaborations, we are able
to generate additional perspectives and access to
On being awarded Leading Advisor of the Year – resources of benefit to clients, as well as support
UK accolade, it’s an incredible encouragement and each other’s ongoing personal CPD.
validation of the approaches and impacts I try and
use and create through my work with clients and In terms of my plans for 2017 and beyond, it’s
others. I suspect my mum will also be pleased too. worth highlighting that the impact of Brexit on the
UK is still unclear, and I’m also going through some
Being recognised as one of the UK’s leading significant changes in my family relationships and
advisors means my clients and other organisations circumstances this year as well. Both of these
can be assured that they’ve commissioned the elements are creating significant uncertainty about
right consultant! It will also hopefully enhance my the future for me both professionally and personally.
existing brand and reputation further. However, as I’ve always sought to do over the
last 12 years, I intent to continue to maintain the
Supporting clients standards and approaches with clients I always
I support a range of client organisations that have, and to involve them where appropriate in
include: universities, sector bodies, private firms, helping to shape the future support and services I
charities and social enterprises, co-operatives, offer them.
national government departments, and funded
enterprise support programmes. In seeking to be Finally, I would like to point out that just as a good
consistent with the values I try and manifest in my advisor can have a powerful transformative impact,
work, I tend to prefer to seek introductions to them I’m concerned that clients sometimes don’t always,
or reply to direct invitations. Encouragingly, after 12 or are confident in being able to, manage such
years of working hard, people are now starting to support. As part of my own CPD framework, I’ve
introduce me to their clients and contacts in relation therefore developed a number of measures to
to my own specialisms and expertise. try and ensure transparency and accountability
(including being the only freelance consultant to
In addition, I regularly reflect with clients on their annually and openly report on my impact every
experiences of how drawing upon my expertise year for the last 12 years). I would also always
has been of benefit to them. This had led to various encourage a client organisation to question all
comments and testimonials that include me being the advice they’re offered – regardless of whom
compared to a ‘babel fish’ (able to translate complex it’s from. After all, it’s their organisation, not the
ideas and technical jargon into simple to understand advisors.
terms and concepts); acting as a ‘human google’
(having a breadth and depth of knowledge on a
range of subjects); clearly living out personal and
professional values that people admire; having high
ethical and professional standards, but also being

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