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My professional career has been traditional...

Following college I started work as a design engineer in New England. After a couple of blizzards, I changed jobs and location to southern California where I worked for another big company in engineering, then manufacturing and then supply chain management. I got my Masters degree in '82. After 20 years in industry, I quit and joined Product Development Consulting, a small management consulting firm where I have worked since.

In the mid-nineties, I took an excellent series of advanced leadership programs, dubbed "executive charm school" by some of us, through the Center For Creative Leadership. One aspect of their approach that rings true for me is that successful executives must balance four pieces of their life: self, family, profession and community. Many miserable executives do not emphasize self or community to the degree they do the other two. This section of the site is focused on profession.

Consulting - It's not as easy as it sounds...

Successful management consultants "think" differently than other professionals and they listen more effectively to their clients' needs. They are focused on providing value that can not be found within a client company. There is no shortage of hacks out there to give the profession a bad name (cartoon at right).

In 2000, I was invited to present my perspective on management consulting to an IEEE conference in Universal City, CA. Follow this link to view the slideshow which may have some useful insights for others within or thinking about entering the profession.

I have also included a page under this section with a recent published article or conference presentation. Please check "What's new" to see when it is updated.

Consulting reference materials...

There are some excellent reference books on consulting which helped me when I was first starting out. This is a fairly comprehensive list:

Managing the Professional Services Firm, David H Maister (the best)

Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher & William Ury (also essential)

The Trusted Advisor, David H Maister (about building and maintaining the consultant - client relationship)

Flawless consulting: A guide to getting your expertise used, Peter Block (how to consultant guidebook describing ways of behaving with clients)

Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice, Alan Weiss (steps to developing & marketing a business)

The Secrets of Consulting: a guide to giving & getting advice successfully, Gerald M Weinberg (His definition of consulting: art of influencing at their request, usually they're seeking some sort of change, a down to earth entertaining look at how to deal with someone's request for influence and with client resistance)

The Consultant's Kit: establishing & operating your successful consulting business, DR. Jeffrey L Lant (the basics: what is a consultant, should you be a consultant, principles of networking, contracts, etc)

Be Your Own Sales Manager: Strategies and tactics for managing your accounts, your territory, Tony Alessandra, Jim Cathcart, John Monoky (addresses how to be your own boss, take on responsibilities, monitor your performance)

Teaching the Elephant to Dance, James Belasco (includes case studies, premise is orgs are like elephants, slow to change)

Marketing Your Consulting and Professional Services, Richard Conner and Jeffrey Davidson (message: focus on clients aches and pains)

Harvard Business Review - On human relations, Harper & Row (essays from over 30 authors addressing non-rational or human aspects of mgt which are often overlooked, counterpoint to standard scientific mgt tools)

How to Master the Art of Selling, Tom Hopkins, a sales trainer (covers topics such as prospecting techniques, pointers on asking questions of clients, etc)

Organizational Diagnosis: a workbook of theory and practice, Marvin Weisbord (hands on approach to learning what it takes to make an organization perform better)

Productive Workplaces: organizing and managing for dignity, meaning and community, Marvin Weisbord (Weisbord is an OD guru - book reviews theory and practice of change and includes case studies and specific how to instructions for involving people in designing new work methods, developing new strategies for Org improvement and building cooperation)

How to Select and Manage Consultants: A guide for getting what you pay for, Howard Stenson (a look at consulting from the other side of the table offering practical advice on how to select and manage consultants to help your organization, provides list of most common fears of managers who hire consultants)

Getting Started as a Consulting Engineer, DG Sunar (a quick read - 75 pg of the basics, focusing on important aspects of being your own boss)

Home Consulting 101 Publications

Mackey Group, Inc. 2002 - 2008
Email:  wayne@mackeyinc.com