The Story of BCA Executive Consultants

BCA Executive Consultants is everything that I believed as an internal business professional, that we needed in terms of being the “right” kind of third-party assistance.  Throughout my career in business I witnessed the dance between consultants and internal resources and sat in amazement as they both tolerated each other, while each focused on an agenda that often didn’t  put the business first.  I saw dependencies created, saw huge opportunities missed and all because their focus was wrong.

I carried those experiences into the consulting world back in 2006, determined to not do or allow to happen what I had seen done with many of my employers (there were some good experiences along the way).

While I was able to use some of those experiences to leverage better results for my clients, it was still not enough.  I was working under someone else’s “way” of doing business and felt I could offer more.

In 2015 I decided that my ability to make the impact I wanted to make, and that I knew I could make, would require that I start my firm.  Working for myself has allowed me to invest back into my community, into small start-ups, non-profits and in all kinds of commercial organizations, public and private.  Roughly half of my “working” time is not “billed” time, but gifted time.  I am proud that I now get to choose how and where my time is spent.

Our corporate (large) clients stretch from coast to coast and cover a wide array of industries, each with their own very specific societal impacts.  Regardless of whether my client uses a triple bottom line approach to their business, I measure my value impact by working through a triple bottom line approach in developing my value proposition.

My goal, whether paid or pro-Bono is to perpetuate individual and corporate growth without me having to be constant or sustained catalyst.  I hate solving symptoms of problems and love attacking root causes of problems, that when corrected make permanent changes.  When coaching, I work to create self-sufficiency by helping my clients learn how to seek feedback and use themselves and internal resources for continued development after a contract has ended.  When training, I work with my clients in a way that almost always requires they become part of my programs, which in turn allows me to transfer some of my capabilities to them and frees me to help in other ways.  My goal is to create growth momentum that is not dependent on me or my firm to keep going.

While I do this for a living and the paychecks are nice, few things make me feel as good as an email or a call from a former client thanking me for something I said several years back or that I helped them learn, and then to hear what happened as a result.  Or, knowing that a project I take on will have impact far beyond what can measure or will be measured in my lifetime.

I’ve been part of ProFinder for a while now and have responded to several requests.  Although I haven’t been selected for any that I have responded, I believe that ProFinder will open some a door or two in the future.  Whether it is to a corporate client or for a pro-Bono project of significance, only time will tell!

Leadership Lessons from Santa

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I sit here a day after Christmas pondering the next 364 days until the jolly old fella makes his next appearance.  Rather that getting tied up in the normal commercialized frenzy of the season, I tried something a little different this year and really tried to spend some quality time looking for what I could learn from my favorite time of year.  After several weeks full of craziness, a several days full of food (and cheer) and a whole BUNCH of sappy Christmas movies I think I came up with a different take on Santa.  Never really thought about Good Ole St Nick as anything other than his normal cheery red robed self, but after really studying his antics in all of those movies I came up with seven critical leadership lessons that the spirit of the old fellow offers us.

A BIG vision – Santa is a worldwide phenomena.  Known by children everywhere regardless of religion or background.  He didn’t get to this status by playing small ball, no, Santa started off with a big vision.  He works every year to make it come true for all of those little boys and little girls, but more importantly he has enlisted the help of millions of parents around the world by helping them see the same vision he does, millions of children with millions of smiles.

Loyalty to those who create success – Santa could not do what he does without his loyal followers. There is little chance that he alone could make all of the toys and games needed by himself, even with Christmas magic.  St. Nick knows that the accomplishment of his vision lies squarely in the hands of his team hidden deep within the North Pole.  Santa is fiercely loyal to his team and as evidenced by all of the scenes I watched, his team (save the one or two misfits that always seem to show up) love what they do and who they do it for (kids).  They are loyal to Santa because he is loyal to them!

Can be counted on – The jolly old soul never misses.  While some years he may not leave as much behind in the physical sense, he always leaves the same love behind and he’s done it since 336AD!  That’s a lot of manufacturing and trips around the world.  If nothing else were true, the one thing we know is true is that we can count on the fact that St. Nick will make his annual ride.

Is humble as humble can be – How can anyone with a laugh like his be anything but humble?  Even in his great wisdom, St. Nick is still as gentile and humble as you can get.  I guess it would be hard to not be humble with the incredible number of little kids that cross your lap telling you what they want for Christmas all the while reminding you that you are fat and need a haircut.

Get’s the importance of logistics – If anyone in the world get’s how important the little things are (like the logistics of it all), it is St. Nick.  He knows that it doesn’t matter how good the quality of his toys are, or how good his intel is on what people want.  He knows none of that matters if he can’t actually deliver the gifts.  He doesn’t put all of his emphasis on the making, he also plans (as evidenced by the movies), he scenario plans, he creates back up plans and he checks his equipment out.  He knows how important the details are, but manages to not get so wrapped up in them that he can’t see everything else that is important.

It’s always about others – Santa really sets the bar high for how we should treat others.  He freely gives of his time, his magic, his means and his wisdom.  He does all of this while turning down anything offered in return.  Santa really gets the fact that happiness is something that we’re given when we give the same gift to someone else.  This is the real reason people long for the old man to come each year.

Really doesn’t keep a list – Growing up I was told (like most other kids) that I had better mind my parents and that I didn’t want to be on Santa’s naughty list.  Well, I’ve come to the realization that he really doesn’t keep a list.  Santa, more than anybody I know, knows that we all make mistakes and he allows for us to put our mistakes behind us.  The movies prove that he doesn’t keep a list because in every one of them, everyone gets a Christmas gift.  Now I will say that some of those gifts probably weren’t appreciated as such when they were first received, but in the end Santa knew just the right present!

Works tirelessly, but rests when its time – Santa sets the example for how we should work.  No, it’s not about cramming a ton of work into a 24-hour shift.  It’s about working and resting throughout the year so that when crunch time arrives you can be at the top of your game.

The old man is full of wisdom (given his age it’s no wonder), and I fully intend on continuing my study of St. Nick as I know he has many more lessons to be taught.  Meanwhile I challenge you to do the same.  Instead of looking at the jolly old elf as a sweet old man in a red velvet outfit, stop and ask yourself “what makes him special?”

Putting those answers into practice might not lead us to become big elf’s ourselves, but it might just help you become a better leader of those around you!   Santa HatSo I leave you with one question – “can you wear the hat?”

 

What Santa does really is pretty simple (creates millions of smiles), but no one ever said it was easy!

The Paradox of Success

tunnel-to-success_MyNLCtq_Success is a horrible teacher!

Over the past month or two I’ve found myself repeating that line time and again.  Why?  Because it’s true, success is not always a good thing for some people/companies!  I’ve talked about this for years, but until recently I had never quantified it that way.  I’ve worked for and with companies that were too comfortable with their success.  Case in point, I had coffee this morning with an old friend/former client.  We were talking about all of the changes that were going on in his company today.  He started off talking about how good their earnings report was and how their sales continued to grow (beyond forecast levels).  Then he told me about the new layers of management coming in and how they were decentralizing all corporate functions back to the individual regions (duplication/redundancy).  It was not those changes that drove the earnings report or the sales, it was the earnings report and the sales that are driving or allowing those changes.  The success of their old structure for the previous three quarters has created enough comfort that they are now beginning to relax and let go of the controls that had propelled them to where they are.  We halfheartedly joked that a year from now, the earnings report will likely look a lot different, and not the good kind of different.  In this case, the comfort and self-pride that success has created is leading to some key people taking their eyes off the ball.

In other cases, the comfort that success creates drives companies to NOT continue in their drive to be even better.  The disruption and pain caused by change is a great incentive to sit back on your haunches and simply do what you’ve always done.  The problem, as we all know, is that the world doesn’t stop changing, nor do the markets in which our businesses operate and it is that fact that companies often find themselves dealing with too late.

As we talked I started thinking about our, as in our country’s, situation with regard to government and how many companies are in the same place.  They are “okay” for now, but they have to know that change has to occur at some point to avoid calamity.  The problem is that it is always easier to change tomorrow than it is today, or at least that is what it feels like to many.  As we all know however, the opposite is true.  The longer we wait, corporately or nationally, to make the changes needed today – the tougher, more costly the changes will be.  The comfort of success will run out at some point and the discomfort (the cost for getting comfortable), will be significantly more than it would be today.

My hope is that more businesses, as well as our national leaders recognize that fact and take the actions that need to be taken.  One thing is for sure, if they don’t consultants will always have a job and its a good thing since my taxes likely won’t be getting lower!

The paradox of success is one that we all need to deal with.  It really is a pretty simple premise, just not an easy one to start.  Here’s to success and its teachings!

Fear – A Choice Between Two Outcomes

How many people do you know that live a life of defense?  You know, the ones that are driven by fear of making mistakes.  Better question, is that how you live?

Whether that description fits you or not, think for a minute and ask yourself the last time you willingly followed a “leader” that lived that way.  When I describe that kind of person most of us would conjure up a picture of a person with eyes wide with fear, sweating, nervous and meek.  Oh if it was only so!

We meet people that live a life of continuous defense or better said, live a life full of fear.  That dictatorial manager that acts more like a bully than a manager is living in fear of making a mistake as much as the meek one that is buried in his office with his fingers crossed that no one will arrive with bad news.

Fear Courage Buttons Showing Scary Or UnafraidFear shows up in a variety of ways in our world today.  Fear is a state of mind that can create a number of emotions or conditions, few of which are healthy for the leader or for those around her.  So what is a leader to do with fear (since it occurs naturally for most), the answer is actually pretty simple – use it as a driver rather than an inhibitor.  We all have a biological predisposition for fight or flight, and while neither in their purest form are necessarily healthy (unless the stakes are life or death), either one can be controlled, harnessed and use for positive benefit.  The key is in the word “controlled” – that is where it all starts.  Interestingly enough, “control” is occurring one way or another.  We either control our response to fear and choose our behavior, or fear controls our response and drives our behavior.  The dictatorial manager that berates and micromanages her employees is likely acting out of fear (of some kind), just like the inspiring leader that is achieving high levels of follower engagement and positive business results.  The difference between the two is a simple decision – control or be controlled.  Unfortunately too many lack the awareness to see the opportunity or the folly in their behavior.

We all know that fear resides within us all, the question we need to ask ourselves (and maybe others about ourselves) is, what choice am I making?

Dealing with fear the right way really is pretty simple, just not always as easy as it is simple!