I started my practice in 1998. Management consulting was a natural extension of my experience at Deloitte as a staff auditor. Determining project objectives and deliverables, methodologies, working paper files, scope of work, sampling, gathering empirical evidence to support opinions and recommendations; all directly relevant transferable skills and techniques.
I have always loved business. I have a natural curiosity and love to learn. I also love to mentor and teach. Consulting is a perfect venue to apply my passions in a positive and meaningful way.
I love to learn about business. As J.C. Irving once said: "I like to watch the wheels turn!" Consulting, like auditing, is a "license to be nosey." We have direct access to the best and the brightest in a client's organization and can ask them anything we can think of.
Over time and dozens and dozens of clients in a broad range of industries, different levels of maturity and even different countries around the world, patterns begin to form and coalesce. It has been a fascinating journey.
Documenting systems and procedures is an important and necessary function - but as dry and tedious as watching paint dry!
My work with the African Development Bank was certainly the most interesting and challenging engagement in my consulting career. We were engaged to study whether "business format franchising", as we know it in North America, could be used as an economic development initiative to increase the success rates of owner-managed SMEs in Africa.
It was challenging, provocative, and cutting edge. The research and its findings were considered seminal in its field.
There are a few that come to mind. First, I have a gift to articulate and communicate. These traits lend themselves to being a natural teacher and mentor. Second, I have an "active mind". A natural curiosity and love of learning and understanding.
And perhaps third: I would describe myself as a "synthesist". I have an ability to remember, integrate, and apply the most obscure theories, principles, anecdotes and case studies from a broadly divergent range of fields and disciplines. Political science, economics, history, accounting and finance, business strategy – even my passion for Olympic fencing – it all goes into the pot.
Wow. Tough question! So many great books! Too many quiet passions. But of all of the books I love, my first and greatest passions would have to be Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" (followed as a close second with TH White's "The Once and Future King"), and a lovely bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape.
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