If you don’t know me, I’m Michael McLaughlin, a practicing business consultant working with organizations and individuals who offer high-value services to their clients.
For a long time, I lived the life of a typical big-firm consultant. My weeks often began on Sunday night in some far-flung airport, waiting for a cab to take me to a local hotel. I’d then spend the week with clients, working on and managing the day-to-day tasks of my current project.
I didn’t end up in consulting as a career because of a “steal your watch to tell you what time it is” streak in me–far from it. There are, by the way, fewer people like that out there than you might think.
Mostly, I realized that a job reporting to the same office every day, tied to a desk, would eventually make me crazy. But I loved the idea of learning all about the inner workings (and problems) of organizations, just from the outside looking in.
So I chose the path of a consultant–with Deloitte. In my time there, I worked on dozens of projects, most of which turned out well, some ended up so-so, and a couple bombed. Still, my career moved along. I became a partner at my firm, then a managing partner.
I wrote my first book, Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants, with Jay Conrad Levinson, and began publishing an e-newsletter I called Management Consulting News. And, after 12 years as a partner, I left Deloitte and started my business advisory company, MindShare Consulting, LLC.
From that point, I started to work one-on-one with individuals as they launched their own practices. I consulted with services firms on their strategies for growth, and offered workshops, keynote speeches, and training for my clients.
After working with many people on the challenges they face with business development and sales lead generation, I wrote a second book, Winning the Professional Services Sale, which became my blueprint for advising clients on managing the services sales process, especially for complex sales.
Through the great clients and colleagues I’ve worked with at Deloitte and in my own business, I’ve learned two things. First, as soon as you think you know something, you find out you were wrong.
And second, most of what we need to know to continually improve as business advisers can be summed up in six “personal” projects:
- Find the work, people, projects, and career path that ignite your passion
- Strike the right balance between your career and the rest of your life
- Master the intricacies of team leadership
- Become an expert communicator and educator
- Design your position of market authority
- Create influence and impact through the strength of your ideas.
These six personal projects are the things I’m most interested in and write about.