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Consulting and Customer Service

Proving Your Value to A Client

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I was retained by a CEO to be his coach, and later to improve the effectiveness of his leadership team. As part of the process, I tested candidates and helped him select a new Chief Financial Officer. At one point I asked the CEO how I was doing. His neutral answer led me to believe he wasn't seeing my value. (Of course, he didn't see anyone else's value, either. That was a big part of the problem.)

I created this list of talking points, and then walked him through them face-to-face, item by item. At the end of the meeting he saw the value of my interventions, and I kept the assignment for several more months until I chose to resign it. I resigned because he wasn't "getting it," and I only work where I can be effective and make a measurable difference.

Accomplishments since 06.20.20—  
  • Bring an outside, 3rd party, big-company perspective to your business. Have your best interest at heart.
  • Served as your coach. Managers report "seeing the results" and "great impact." Made organizational suggestions without violating confidentiality. Item: Your new CFO.
  • As a catalyst, create the impetus for change. Serve as a symbol of change.
  • Met with management team confidentially, and gained their trust to describe their view of themselves, the organization, and their peers. Used this information strategically to shape my work with managers, the manager's retreat, my address to all-hands meeting, and my work with you.
  • Participated in planning of manager's retreat, facilitated the meeting, and delivered content (The 12 Success Skills, managers' role: to make you, the CEO, successful.). Began to establish managers' ownership and accountability with "Who/What/When" model. Participants described the offsite retreat as "The best meeting we've ever had."
  • Planted the seeds of career development in the organization (More of, Less of, etc) to give employees a sense of owning their jobs and "going somewhere." Exerted positive pressure on managers to reshape their performance. Gave Sandy [the Vice President of Human Resources] extensive feedback from the comments of others.
  • Addressed all-hands meeting. Quote from Director of Operations: "We were really glad to see who this Bill Frank is."
  • Initiated conflict resolution between CEO and CTO and re-design of CTO's position.
  • Retained key employee who was poised to resign.
  • Spearheaded discussion of strategic plan, and created preliminary document. Strategic plan included organizational SWOT analysis [Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats] and facilitated identified critical issues. Facilitated SWOT analysis for every department.
  • Raised significant issues that could be fatal to the company: i.e., one person controlling all of IT, and lack of a succession plan ("What happens if CEO is injured and can't function as CEO?").
  • Am available on a regular basis-not so overscheduled that I can't return phone calls and see people in a timely way.

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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.