Consulting on the side is a way to make some extra money, build your network and create credibility as an expert in your area. Over the past several months, I have had a client I have been assisting in setting up a compliance program. I find it very rewarding to help someone solve a problem through my past experiences. The problem is I’m a consultant…

Being a consultant means you have a paying customer. They have demands, you’re expected to meet those demands – “That’s what we’re paying you for”. They have moving targets on timelines, want to change the scope, tell you what to do and how to do it, etc. after all, they’re paying for it! Not to mention the additional “work” required on top of your normal day job, which spills over to your personal life.

In the end, it all comes back to why most managers hire consultants: to be the bad guys and make recommendations that the manager does not have the guts to make. The idea is to bring in an “expert”, control the messaging, and get what the manager wanted all along.

If your considering doing some work on the side, be prepared. In my experience as a manager and leader, managers hire consultants to move their political agenda forward. Leaders hire consultants to fill a blind spot. Choose your clients carefully. Your reputation is at stake and consulting for managers only waters down your permission. Finally, make sure your family is on board with the decision. There’s a price to be paid for the extra income: less of your time. If they aren’t on board, do not make the engagement.

I’m lucky. My client is a leader and my family supports my efforts. I got lucky, but moving forward, I’m making sure I work with leaders and not managers.

Will you have the guts to turn a paying client down if they don’t pass the leadership sniff test or your family is not supportive?

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The leadership challenge only grows with responsibility. I have found that as I mature in my faith and promote in my professional life, the burdens I face seem to grow.

Leaders save companies. This is not the sexy side of leadership. It’s the underbelly that few actually get to live through. When things are going down in flames, it’s those who stand and flight that make the difference. Those who make the hard decisions. Sometimes we can’t save them all, but we have to save as many as possible.

My life has taken a turn, and I find myself at this crossroad. Having to be truthful and honest with a few to save the many.

Anyone who thinks leadership is easy obviously isn’t a leader. With that big check comes responsibility. The responsibility to feed families, make decisions, and do what is best based on few facts and experience from past situations. There’s no short cut to becoming a leader. You have to get dirty, make tough calls and live with the repercussions of those decisions.

Before you decide you want it, you better take a look under the hood and make sure you really want it. There’s a price to be paid to gain the reward.

In the end, you have to know yourself and why you want it. If you want to get into leadership, then make sure your motives are based on helping others. If it’s $ that’s driving you, it’s not leadership you seek. It’s pride you look to feed.

Why do you want it?

No Control…

June 21, 2011 — 2 Comments

We have no control.

We can’t control other people – even our kids will do what they want.

We have no control over the external events in our lives – tornado’s, earthquakes, etc.

We have no control over other’s views and beliefs (see above)

So what do we control? We control what we believe, how we react, and what we think. From this comes everything. Accept that you cannot control anything else, and you’ll find life seems more controlled.

What do you need to stop trying to control?


I don’t lightly recommend people. In fact today I recommended my first person on LinkedIn. Simple because I believe recommendations are an extension of my brand and reputation and to give them out to everyone I know vs. the few who deserve not only protects my name, but also raises the credibility of the one I recommend.

When you ask for recommendations, please understand I give them rarely and purposefully. I hope you do the same. The challenge is saying no or never giving recommendations. Where’s saying no or ignoring a request leave you and the other person? You on your pedestal and them walking away – never to look back. Permission is delicate. Don’t abuse it nor ignore it. Nurture it and grow it. One recommendation at a time. Take a risk sometimes. You never know what impact you’ll have.

Make those recommendations freely, honestly and most importantly accurately. People are relying on your integrity in your recommendation to base their decision. Never underestimate the power in that…


If you’re the only game in town, and you create an organization that ranks the best teams in the game, and your company comes out as #1 in some obscure category in which you’re the only one who could possibly meet the criteria, are you really #1?

All marketers are liars. Be warned when someone is claiming to be #1 in some ranking system. While it may be legitimate, it’s likely a marketing ploy to make a company look better than they are. Why do you think there are so many ranking systems for MBA programs? Each system has a selection criterion which is not made public, thus giving more schools the opportunity to be #1. Otherwise wouldn’t the same school be #1 across the board?

This rule applies to church ranking systems, schools, universities, governments, cars… you get the point.

What do you do? Do your own research. Before you make a $100K investment in that MBA is it really worth it? Why? Do not get fooled by marketers. I have heard some of the scams universities pull to make it appear that they have really bright students in all their classes. Upon further examination, it’s a well thought out marketing ploy designed to give the appearance that the school is top notice.

What ranking system do you rely on? Is it honest?


 


Who do I love most? What’s most important to me? I use to answer these questions differently than I do now. I was immature (still am in many ways!) in my thinking. I loved my wife before my kids, and my kids before God. And this was a mistake and even worse a sin.

I did not properly lead my family because my priorities were wrong. My first love was wrong. It sounds right… Right? What’s wrong with loving your wife first? Seems like that should be number one. For example, we made decisions that I knew were wrong at the time, but in wanting to please my wife I went along with them and justified them in my mind – thus going against the best advice I ever received – and only to face the consequences later. Instead of doing the hard work and having the difficult discussions, I took the easy route and did what I thought was going to make things easy. Thus ignoring my leadership role in my marriage. I look back and see where I did this time and time again over the 22+ years of our marriage.

What should I have done and what do I do now? I have changed my priority and base my decisions on that priority. My first priority and love is to God and serving him. By making this change, I am able to discuss decisions with my wife that in the past I would not have discussed. We make many of the exact same decisions, but at the core of what has really changed is who I’m making the decisions for and who I am trying to please. By shifting my number one priority from my wife to God, I am able to look at things in a more objective manner and seeks God’s will in every major decision – then we discuss it and come to a consensus. This sometimes leads to tough discussions, but Sheri and I both agree that we make much better decisions now and more importantly for the right reasons.

I’d love to say that everything is perfect. It’s not, but it’s much better now that I am leading rather than following my family. My wife is and will always be my best friend and lover. But God is my first love.

Who is your first love? Does it need to change?