Archive for 2010

Think Like An Entrepreneur To Succeed Going Solo

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 by AdvisorCatalyst

A recent Wall Street Journal article (“How to Succeed in the Age of Going Solo”) further confirms an emerging trend that Peter Drucker noted years ago: we are entering the Age of the Advisor. More companies are looking to freelancers in lieu of full-time employees, but the more things change, the more they remain the same. The form of service delivery may be changing, but the essence of what is being offered has not.

All of us are hired for the services we provide and the value we create – whether that comes in the form of full-time employment, part-time work, or project-based consulting. In that sense, we are all entrepreneurs. The most productive workers are those who realize it.

As people lose their jobs in this economy, we see more and more “consultants” who approach their work as a temporary bridge to their next “real” job. This is a mistake. What is a “fake” job anyway? The person who reports to an office each morning to get orders from his supervisor is really not very different from the independent consultant looking for his next project. Both are individuals trading their skills for income. They are entrepreneurs. The more people think that way, the easier any work transition will be.

Business professionals – particularly those who have served in an executive role – possess tremendous ability in areas that can benefit a wide variety of organizations. They need to think more like entrepreneurs when looking for ways to share their expertise. In doing so, they will find that advising can be much more than a temporary step; it can be a very successful career!

Read “11 Steps to Effective Client Delivery” to learn more about how you can thrive in the Age of the Advisor.


Listen, Learn, and Lead

Friday, March 12th, 2010 by AdvisorCatalyst

The Detroit Free Press recently printed a nice article (March 7, 2010) on David Brandon, former CEO of Valassis and Domino’s Pizza and current athletic director for the University of Michigan. Brandon has been a very successful leader in everything he’s done – including his time as a UM football player when he was looked to as a team leader despite not seeing much time on the field.

In profiling Brandon, the article reviews several characteristics that contribute to successful organizational leadership, including a genuine interest in people, holding those people to high standards, and a direct approach to problem-solving.

One of his longtime employees at Valassis was Jim Craig. Yes, it’s that Jim Craig, the U.S. goalie on the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. He summarized Brandon’s style as “listen, learn, and lead.” That’s a nice mantra for CEOs to remember, but it also works for advisors. In working with our clients, listening and learning are so important, but they must be followed by counsel that is biased toward disciplined action.


Failure, a Great Teacher

Monday, February 22nd, 2010 by AdvisorCatalyst

As an avid reader of Peter Drucker, I have often noticed that he naturally uses examples of both success and failure to highlight various points. The ultimate goal is to identify what works, and there are lessons to be learned in both. As opposite as they may seem, success and failure are just different types of the same thing – experience (the best teacher).

Yet, how many of us make a habit of studying failure? During 2009, I embarked on a study of executive and organizational failure by tackling a number of books on the subject. I have captured some of what I learned in a recently published article entitled, “Failure, a Great Teacher.” I invite you to read it and welcome your feedback.


In 100 Words: Spending Time vs. Leveraging Time

Sunday, January 31st, 2010 by AdvisorCatalyst

Meetings: do they excite or annoy you? Your answer says much about how you leverage your time. You may be able to lift 100 pounds, but applying that same strength to the input side of a lever enables you to lift much more. That’s the power of leverage.

The same principle applies to time. You can do many things yourself, but mobilizing an organization to do those same things enables you to accomplish much more. Are you spending your time working solo, or are you leveraging your time by working with others?

Think about it. Now, when’s your next meeting?

“One of the greatest joys of leadership is assembling and knitting together teams of fantastic people.” (Bill Hybels)


The Need for Wisdom in a Time of Crisis

Thursday, January 28th, 2010 by AdvisorCatalyst

The current economic recession has been made more difficult by the fact that the preceding period of prosperity was so long. Most of today’s workers and many of today’s leaders have never known economic hardship, so they’re not sure how to handle today’s economic struggles. Think about it. Today’s 40-year-olds have spent most of their careers watching their investment values go up. When the market crashes, credit freezes, and demand plummets, they don’t know what to do.

Unfortunately, those who have the experience to lead in these times have disappeared into retirement. We need them back! Many of today’s business leaders are desperate for the experience of the very people they replaced.

With every economic disruption, some markets decline (because they’re no longer needed), and some markets rise. At this time, the market for experienced leaders is rising fast.


Managing Your Own Performance in 2010

Monday, January 11th, 2010 by AdvisorCatalyst

The beginning of a new year prompts us to reflect on the past and plan for the future. When that calendar flips from December to January, we feel as if more than just the year is new; everything is new. “This time,” we say, “I’m going to get it right!” It doesn’t matter what it is. Nothing seems impossible when we have a clean slate in front of us.

I would like to encourage you to take your New Year resolutions beyond the typical. Perhaps you have resolved to eat better or exercise more, to spend more time with your family, or to begin taking lessons on an instrument you’ve always wanted to learn. These are worthy goals, and I wish you the best in whatever you have resolved to do! However, how much thought have you devoted to managing your own performance?

Business organizations know the importance of annual reviews. Most hold an Annual Meeting during which they reflect on the previous year’s successes and failures and set a course for the coming year. Such results and future goals are data driven. Why not do the same for yourself?

What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? Your core values? In what type of environment do you perform best? How do you learn the best? How effective are you at making decisions? Don’t answer these questions based on what you think is true. Look at the record of your own performance and interpret the patterns of your own work. You will be surprised at how much you learn about yourself. I have been doing this for years, and I attest that its value is beyond measure.

So where do you start? Read “Managing Oneself” by Peter Drucker, and you will be able to take it from there. If you would like more pointers on how to conduct an effective personal review, please email me at I would be delighted to discuss it further.