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Upbeat Winter Newsletter

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The holiday season is the perfect time to communicate with your friends and business acquaintances. Just be sure to do it before the year-end rush. The week after Thanksgiving might be good timing.

In this letter I refer to a FastCompany article: "There is a place in the Arizona desert where high-powered professionals search for ways to redesign their out-of-kilter lives. Dan Baker is their guide. Can he guide you on your search?" The place is Canyon Ranch. The article appeared in "FastCompany," July/August 1999, page 120.

I sent a letter of introduction to Dan Baker at Canyon Ranch, and suggested that we work together since there is obvious synergy between our businesses. We spoke twice, and this produced a high-level executive coaching assignment. 

Winter Newsletter

In a time when unemployment is at record lows, and some of our competitors are laying off full-time staff, hiring part-time contract workers, selling their practices, or going out of business altogether, our offices are bustling, revenues are up, and business is booming! Our mission, simply stated, is to bring more success into the lives of everyone we touch. And that's what we do daily, weekly, monthly, yearly—as we have for more than 20 years.

Since 1978, we've worked for more than 225 corporate clients, and we've orchestrated remarkable career advancement for individuals . . . such as mid-to senior-level managers and executives, top professionals, consultants, and entrepreneurs. Our product line includes career counseling, management testing and assessment, 360-degree reviews, executive coaching, performance improvement, teambuilding, executive retention, and outplacement. Just that simple.

Ninety percent of our business is paid for by companies, ten percent by individuals. We don't actively seek individual clients; they come to us by referral. Many clients return repeatedly, as has Bob McElroy. He's establishing an Internet consulting practice now, but when we first met in 19—, I was working out of a 132 square foot bedroom in my house. My how times have changed!


  • A $500,000 senior partner in a law firm conducting a confidential job search
  • An orthopaedic surgeon who hired us to help him find alternatives to clinical medicine
  • The President of a $6 million steel supply company who wants out at any cost
  • A communications VP who wants to secure $10 million to spin off his own company
  • Many consultants launching million-dollar practices.
We're certified to administer The Birkman Method, the leading career assessment tool on the market, and we're "Birking" nearly everyone we meet. More than 1.5 million people in 5,000 organizations have taken the profile-accurate because it compares scores to a database of 500,000 profiles.

The Birkman is like a blood test, x-ray,  CT scan and MRI all rolled into one. It reports on managerial and organizational style, corporate adaptability, work motivation, usual behavior, underlying needs, stress behavior, 20 best and 10 worst job matches. It's incredibly efficient and accurate. It takes about 45 minutes to complete by paper, disk, or on the Internet. At only $695 for a 50-page report, The Birkman is so good I almost consider it malpractice not to use it.

Old-style performance review process where the boss reviews the subordinate can be biased and unfair. An alternative is the 360-degree model, where the candidate completes a questionnaire himself, then peers, boss, subordinates, customers, or vendors complete questionnaires. The data is tabulated confidentially, producing a report that measures 26 factors like leadership, energy, affability, dependability, and resilience.

Two current cases are revealing: one manager rated himself HIGHER than all his observers on 26 factors. Consultant Mary Ann Giancarli is improving his people skills. Another manager rated himself LOWER than all his observers. We're boosting his self-esteem, teaching him to manage his boss, and updating his computer skills. Performance improvement equals executive retention.

Half the U.S. hospitals have purchased physician practices in the last five years, and most of these practices are losing money. According to Ernst & Young's 1998 Physicians Benchmarking Survey, the average loss was $86,915 per doctor. 

We've teamed up with Jerry Traeger and David Clay from Brooks/Dunn Medical Capital Management to solve this problem. Together, our companies offer financing to enable doctors to buy-back their practices and fund the start-up in a private setting.  We also provide ongoing practice management. If a physician decides not to continue in private practice, or if they want to relocate or make a career shift, we'll guide them through the job market until they accept a satisfying job offer. This is a WIN/WIN for both doctors and hospitals—a "soft landing" for all.


  • Rachel Kupferberg has left CareerLab to relocate with her fiancé to Arizona. (Big loss.) For four years Rachel was our John Elway, and she left big shoes to fill (size 13EEE). Renée Renneau has replaced Rachel, and Renée also has big shoes (14EEE). Say goodbye to Rachel at [e-mail address], say hello to Renée at [e-mail address].
  • Our website, www.careerlab.com, still FREE, receives 1,500,000 hits per week. Some letters in the cover letter section receive an astonishing 3,000 views per week.
  • Our partner in outplacement, Lincolnshire International, has grown to 26 offices in the U.S., plus 18 in Europe, giving us a global presence in North America, Europe, and Asia.
  • Congratulations to Doreen McAlister, CareerLab alum, recently promoted from National Director of Finance to Vice President, Human Resources for Jones, Trotter in Kansas City.
  • I was asked to join the "Venture Guild," a team of 150 advisors for Colorado Venture Centers, Inc., which funds and manages biomedical, pharmaceutical, and medical device startups. My role is installing core management for new companies.
  • "There is a place in the Arizona desert where high-powered professionals search for ways to redesign their out-of-kilter lives. Dan Baker is their guide. Can he guide you on your search?" The place is Canyon Ranch. The article appeared in "FastCompany," July/August 1999, page 120.

If you want to chat about careers, Birkmans, soft-landings for physicians, shopping at Park Meadows Mall, or anything else, we would welcome a call from you.

With season's blessings,

William S. Frank


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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.