A good friend of mine once said that I’m the only one who does what I do.
I’ve had business running through my veins from the time I was a 17. I left school to work in the family timber business in Victoria and learned about business financials, marketing and looking after customers. More importantly I learned about the politics of running a business, particularly those unique to family businesses.
I worked in my family business for 20 years. In the early 1990s I began the process of “buying” the business from the rest of the family. This experience heightened my awareness of one of the big issues that can arise with a family businesses – that of concrete direction as to how the business should be run and how important a hand-over strategy is for the future.
Over the past 15 years I’ve built on that invaluable grounding by working with hundreds of business owners, either directly as a consultant or in my roles as TEC Chair or Family Business Australia Forum facilitator.
In that time I’ve played the role of confidante, counsellor, coach and facilitator – depending on what was required at the time.
And though my roles often require me to be “direct” with my clients, I’m happy to say that I hold on-going professional relationships with all of them still today. Those relationships are not the result of circumstance. They’re the product of the pleasure I get from my work and the value I place on maintaining relationships.
Clients tell me they appreciate my candour, confidentiality and ability to ask the right questions. They also talk about my willingness to be a sounding board, an independent person they can confide in, air their thoughts with and relate back to past conversations and understandings about goals and values.
When you hire me to work for you, you’re getting much more than a coach or consultant or a facilitator. What you’re getting is a trained professional who can take in the available information and use the power of simple questions help you to identify the best way forward. Confidentially, of course.
It is this capacity to join the dots and to help you to arrive at the right way forward that I think my friend was talking about when he said there is “only one” of me.
I am a generalist consultant. When required I consult on issues concerning family businesses, strategic planning and leadership. More often than not however, my consulting work is less specific – a hybrid of sorts between consulting, coaching and mentoring.