Life At Work

Actionable Tips and Inspiration on How to Restore
Joy, Purpose & Meaning In Our Work

Why Your Client Doesn't Care How Smart You Are (And What They Really Want to Know)

The number one way that really smart consultants get in the way of their own success is struggling with the fear that that they don't have what it takes.

Despite years of education and experience they stay up at night wondering what is the best way to let their future clients know about how much they know and what they can bring to the table. They pursue certification after certification hoping that one of them will be the silver bullet that will make them irresistible in the marketplace.

But here's the thing - your clients don't care about how smart you are. And the more you worry about it and try to force yourself to shamelessly self-promote and showcase what you think is all that you know you can bring to the table - you have already sub-optimized your effectiveness. 

Again, your clients don't care how smart you are. They don't care about your certifications or even your degrees

Instead this is what they care about and what they really want to know about you:

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What is Authentic Leadership?

Authentic leadership isn't a style. It's a stage of maturity and growth. Authentic leadership is where power and love intersect. Power and use of power are familiar concepts in business and the defining power as control, authority, capacity and influence is more than likely readily understandable and accessible. Love is a different story.

When I talk about love, I am not talking about the feelings shared between parents and children, friends or even lovers. I am talking the concept of love as expressed in Greek as agape which relates more to service and esteem.

Sources of power can be internal or external. Focuses of love can be internal or external. How these relate to one another result in one of four leadership styles:

  • External source of power and internal focus of love: Alliance Leadership. This style of leadership is about who you know and where you work. Power comes by association with powerful people. Your boss becomes very important to you as you seek to gain what you want...
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Gotta Have More Cowbell and the Power of Commitment

Uncategorized Dec 21, 2017

One of the most hilarious Saturday Night Live skits is the one where Christopher Walken demands from the “Don’t Fear the Reaper” band (Blue Oyster Cult) that he needed more cowbell from Will Ferrell. I was watching this skit the other day with a good friend of mine who is an actor. When we finally got a hold of ourselves and wiped the tears from our eyes after laughing so hard, he explained that this was so funny because Christopher Walken was just so committed to his role. He further explained that this type of commitment is the secret behind why Jim Carrey is so funny. Whatever they do, they do it with their whole hearts and don’t worry about making fools of themselves. When this friend portrayed the Quasimodo in live stage show “Hunchback of Notre Dame”, multiple times a day for a number of years, he kept the show fresh because of his commitment to the part. He always looked for a new ways to bring this story to life.

It’s not just in the...

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#3: How to Overcome Your Client's #1 Fear About Change

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One of the most challenging experiences you'll ever encounter as a consultant is dealing with your client's resistance to change.

We get blindsided by this all-to-common reality because we are only working with our clients because they at some point expressed a desire to change.

But when reality hits - they act like it was OUR idea.

Let me explain what is happening inside your client and why they are all of the sudden backpedaling on their commitment. 

They think that if they change and mature, they are going to become something that they don't want to be, which in most cases some mythical image of a large bureaucratic company that has lost its ability to have fun and be creative. It's not unlike a teenager thinking that if they take on more responsibility and grow in their maturity they are going to be their joy-killing, stodgy parents.

In my latest episode from my podcast series Consulting Matters: Mastering the Art & Science of the Business I...

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#2: The Art and Science of Consulting to Change

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When it comes to organizational change, most consultants think it's either all about project plans OR it's about managing the emotions and resistance that come with change.

But the truth is - it's both. 

Leading change is both an art and a science. Your clients need to get to understand that there is a science behind how their organizational systems function and how changes in one part forces change in another. And they need to appreciate that there is no magic formula and there is an art when it comes to appreciating the impact on their own people. 

And as a consultant, you have to offer them balanced solution that helps them towards this end.

Why You Need to Listen To This Week's Podcast

In the second podcast in my series Consulting Matters: Mastering the Art and Science of the Business, I will share with you:

  • The five parts of the science of change leadership (and it's not what you think it is)
  • How to apply these principles of change...
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Is Your Client Ready to Lead Change?

Alan was the CIO of an Information Technology organization that had employees across the globe. His instincts were absolutely correct – his organization was not set up to deliver what it needed to for his team’s internal clients and the company’s external customers. He started an initiative to re-organize his department. He did many things right – he brought in outside expertise, he got strong project managers, and he set up an effective cross-functional project team. However, a project that should have lasted six months, went on for a year. His executive team not only was not supportive of the project but spoke vehemently against it. The IT employees were even less productive than when the project began because their anxiety was an all time high. At the end of the year, corporate took over this department, installed a new CIO and Alan was demoted significantly.

Jack was a City Manager and Susan was his Assistant City Manager. Together they lead the teams...

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Many Parts, One Body: The Key to Organizational Health

“There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body.”

I created this visual to depict the essence of what it takes to create healthy organizations and sustainable success: respect, appreciation and value of each part of the organizational system.

Every business line matters, regardless of the business model or competitive advantage. A “sales driven” company cannot exist without an amazing operations team who consistently delivers on promises. An “efficiency focused” company’s profits are still fueled by revenue generated through sales and customer service. And no company can stay in business for long without the contributions of the Human Resources, Finance, IT, Legal/Risk teams.

Every role matters, regardless of positioning and compensation. Executives cannot lead without the support of their administrative assistant and direct reports. Managers cannot execute without the contributions of...

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Why Conduct a Current State Review before Redesigning an Organization?

Imagine this scene. There is an operating room with patient prepped for surgery and lying on the table. The anesthesia has taken effect and the surgeons and the rest of the medical team are positioned for the big event. The surgeon utters the words which we all know from medical TV dramas signals it is time for action, “Scalpel…”

But what if this scene were instead a first office visit and the surgeon decided after hearing a few complaints that surgery was the answer and started cutting right then and there? The scalpel, instead of being viewed as a revered tool of healing, now becomes more like a knife in the hands of someone who could easily be categorized as a criminal, because a competent surgeon would never cut into a patient without a full-scale diagnosis. First, blood would be drawn and CT scans and MRI’s would be ordered.

The fact is that organization redesign is like surgery on an organization. You as a leader are the surgeon and your organization...

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10 Questions to Ask in a Current State Review

Several years ago I wrote an article on “The Ultimate Guide to Organization Redesign.” This article gave the big picture of what it takes to lead your clients through this strategic and high-value consulting solution. The first step in any organization design project is the current state review. Here are the top 10 strategic questions you need to get answers to by virtue of your current state review:

1. Who are our customers? What do we provide to them?

2. What is the value proposition or brand promise? In other words, what outcome or benefit to they receive as a result of their relationship with us?

3. What is the source of our competitive advantage? Do we compete based on having the best product, the best price or the best total customer experience?

4. In what ways has our strategy changed? Are we pursuing new markets or customer bases? Developing new products lines or service types for existing customers? Transforming the way we deliver our products/services?

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#1: Have Trouble Connecting with High-Level Buyers? Here's What To Do.

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Whether you are new to consulting or have been consulting for a while SURELY you have considered the possibility of landing work with the larger companies.

Perhaps this question has been top of mind for a while. You've probably wondered:

"How would I meet those larger companies?"

"Can I speak their language? Can I get them to trust me? 

"What would I offer them? Do I have what they are looking for?" 

But you didn't know where to search for the answers....so you invest more money in your marketing, consider getting a new certification and continue working with small clients...

But there is a better way. 

I'm excited to announce my brand-new podcast channel that I am calling Consulting Matters: Mastering the Art and Science of the Business.

The truth is - in order to do good as a consultant, you have to be good, maybe even the best.

With this series, I am going to unveil for you the secrets behind how organizations function and create...

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