Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The CEO of a global management consulting firm explains the secret to being an effective leader

Trust, integrity, knowledge and expertise are key factors on the success of many business including consulting. Effective leaders shouldn’t hide who they are. Customers have to emotionally trust and connect. Interesting article!

Soledad Tanner, MIB

Johan Aurik, CEO of A.T. Kearney.

By: Peter Vanham, Contributor

It’s considered one of the cornerstones of a successful life and career: You separate your work life from your personal life.

But one executive begs to differ — and advises you to do the same.

That man is Johan Aurik, the CEO of A.T. Kearney, a worldwide management consulting firm with over $1 billion in revenue.

"You can’t hide your personal life at work," he says. "You can only be effective as a leader if you’re also able to share your life with others." 

Originally from the Netherlands, Aurik moved to the U.S. in his early 20s to pursue degrees in American studies at Smith College in Northampton, MA, and economics and international relations at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

After graduating, he started working for the Chicago-based A.T. Kearney in Europe and North America, eventually ascending the ranks to become its global managing partner and chairman in 2012.

During those years, he said, he learned to "open up" to his employees.

"I’m pretty open about my personal life," he told me in Brussels, Belgium, as I interviewed him for my upcoming book, "Before I Was CEO." That openness goes both ways: He’ll sometimes let his personal life enter his professional life, and he and his family have had to accept the high toll his professional life sometimes takes on his family life.

For example, Aurik went through a difficult period when his father passed away a few years ago. He made no efforts to hide that at work. "I had tears in my eyes, and people could see it. But why would I try to hide that?" he asked.

It’s a human reaction. And showing those is "a sign of strength, not weakness," Aurik said.

Letting the boundaries between work and life erode helps to make work with others more authentic and to create an emotional bond, he said.

"In a business like consulting, you don’t produce a physical object. You offer your advice, that’s what people pay for. But you can’t get people to rationally trust your advice and pay for it unless they emotionally trust you as well. That’s where the personal aspect comes in." 

That trust factor plays in his relations with his own employees as well — even at the highest level. His experience in a nationwide partner meeting in Colorado Springs in 2013 is testimony of that. "It was the first time I led such a partner meeting as global managing partner," he said. "I had an important role to play. But at the same time as the meeting, my daughter had her high school graduation."

Aurik felt he couldn’t miss the graduation, and did what many would consider to be the "unthinkable": A day into the meeting, after his remarks, he stood up and announced he was leaving the meeting, and left.

How did that go down? "A few people mumbled, of course," Aurik said. "But in the end, the prevailing talk now is that I set a positive example when I did that." People appreciated his honesty and respected his priorities.

Why could Aurik leave such an important meeting? "Because I was upfront about it," he told me. "I stood up during a plenary session and explained my decision to leave. That was crucial. There was no hiding. That’s what I mean when I say you can’t hide your personal life from your professional life."

Things would have been different, Aurik argues, had he left in silence and sent an email to his colleagues.

In this case, Aurik wouldn’t have left his daughter’s graduation for anything in the world. But that doesn’t mean he would leave important meetings for any personal reason. Rather, he believes the combination of life and career can succeed more often through another recipe: meticulous planning.

"I start planning my agenda a year and a half in advance," he said. "That way, I can set aside enough time for a family vacation or dinner."

Long-term planning allowed him to join his daughter for a week as she went on a U.S. road trip to visit colleges throughout Massachusetts and New York, for example.

However, Aurik’s plans don’t stay limited to week-long family vacations: Even a lazy night on the couch at home gets planned in advance, he says. "Those are the choices you need to make."

And what goes around, comes around. Just as he sometimes lets his personal priorities prevail on his work duties, he often has to let his work duties prevail over his personal life.

As an example, Aurik cites the management buyout A.T. Kearney went through in 2005. As the business went through precarious times, the partners of the company decided to buy out the shares in the company from its then-shareholders, EDS.

During a cold December night in 2005, as the deadline approached, Aurik says he and his colleagues sat in a London hotel, waiting eagerly for confirmation faxes that their colleagues had paid for the buyout.

Aurik had invested his own money in the buyout, "without having a guarantee, and without having an under-limit to my losses." Luckily, the confirmations of his colleagues came, and in the years following, Aurik and his colleagues could rebuild the 80-year old company "as if it was a century-old startup."

Those long hours, days, and years at the job meant he had to sacrifice a lot of time with his family. When you don’t clearly demarcate the line between personal and professional life, it requires giving as well as taking.

Are such sacrifices worth it? Aurik says they are. "You have to get everything out of life that you possibly can. That’s my leitmotiv, my constant motivation."

Peter Vanham is a media strategist at the World Economic Forum and a freelance business writer. He is currently writing "Before I Was CEO," a book on the lessons from leaders before they reached the top.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

¿Como mejorar la utilidad y productividad de su negocio? Radio interview # 3, KYST 920 AM with Enrique Noriega.

Many thanks to Matthew Cruz Velasquez for invite to participate in radio program: “Finance, Business & Insurance” and to Enrique Noriega for the interview on how Soledad Tanner Consulting is helping the community generate additional value and increase the profit and productivity of the businesses.

Soledad Tanner, MIB

Created with flickr slideshow.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Interview with Molly Ann Quigley, McNair Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

What pushed you to start your business?  What was the impetus? 

I worked in Corporate for 25+ years and had a wonderful experience. Last year, I started feeling the need to provide the market directly with my expertise and original value added, which was the base to start my Performance Improvement Consulting business.The impetus was to challenge myself supporting people with practical solutions that solve their main business challenges and allow them to thrive in the current environment.
How did you handle telling your family and friends? 

I shared with them the vision of this dream and they were all very supportive. My family and friends have always encouraged us to pursue challenges that makes us happy, healthy and contribute to society.  They are all proud!
How do you market it? 

First, I imagined the name and created a brand image. Then, I worked on the standard marketing channels: Website, Facebook fan page, Linkedin, blog, YouTube, publications, etc..  It is very important to meet with potential clients face to face, listen to their needs and learn about their challenges. Also, I attend industry networking events, meetings, coffees, lunches, cocktails, and support volunteering causes that are important to me, like: Mentorship and education, women empowerment, leadership and others. I think, the best way to market your business is not only the “word of mouth” with friends and colleagues, but also, the referrals from very satisfied clients.
 Who was one of your role models? 

There are many people that I admire, but one of my favorites is Elon Musk from Tesla, an immigrant from South Africa that revolutionized the automotive and energy industry and contributed significantly to the space technology and exploration. I believe his contributions are in 3 clear levels: first an innovate business (Tesla - automotive), then a business that considers the well-being of the planet (Solar city -energy) and finally a business that thinks on the future of the humanity (Space X- space technology and exploration)

University of St. Thomas (UST) McNair center for Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship

I am very honored to be the first entrepreneur featured in the University of St Thomas (UST) McNair Center website & facebook page. In the spring 2017 semester, the McNair Center for Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas launches its first minor: the Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship program. The timing of this launching is spot on, as it is aligned with a structural change in our society in the way we are currently generating knowledge, ideas and business in general.

Soledad Tanner, MIB

Monday, May 15, 2017

How to Avoid Anxiety When Managing a Business

Stop worrying about how to manage your business finances. Avoid anxiety and allow experienced financial experts to couch you with your business financial management. In order to succeed with your company, you need to have a strategic plan, structure, procedures and controls. We can help you!

Soledad Tanner Consulting offers financial management consulting, and helps you solve issues such as: Loss of revenue, margin reduction, high costs, obsolete processes, inadequate financial controls, lack of reliable budgets and forecasts to name a few. 

Soledad Tanner, MIB

Source:  https://journal.thriveglobal.com/how-to-deal-with-the-anxiety-that-comes-from-running-a-business-680e6736e4c1

A lot of business owners are professionals when it come to worrying.

How to Avoid Anxiety When Managing a Business

A lot of business owners are professionals when it come to worrying. This is because of the drive for success which means that they have to reduce their failure rate.

Every business owner wants to have a success story. As such, they develop anxiety when it seems that things might go wrong. As a business owner, you can avoid anxiety through any of the following:
Encourage social activities

As business owner, you will be under pressure on most days. The task of running a hitch free business will always put you on your toes. Sometimes, you may have to fill in for an employee that is not meeting up in one way or the other. All these responsibilities are quite demanding.

One of the ways by which you can balance things out is by creating time for social activities. You can let out the anxiety you had at work by hanging out with your friends. The thought of a well-planned fun time later in the day will make business time seem less stressful.

You can also encourage social activities among your employees. Encourage them to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and business achievements. All members of your staff should celebrate promotions in the workplace.

You should also create time to be a part of the social activities among your employees. This will make your employees to relax, and also improve their productivity.

Whenever there are positive results in the business, the anxiety you feel will reduce.
Set your priorities

You need to have a daily schedule that will guide you through the business hours. One of the reasons why anxiety will prevail is when you try to work on the right task at the wrong time and vice versa.

A common cause of anxiety is dealing with employee issues during productive time. You need to know the most important things on a daily basis and do them first.

Prioritizing tasks based on their relative importance will help you to keep a clear head. You will also be able to achieve more within a short period.

Setting priorities will enable your employees see you as an effective business owner. Such employees will be ready to allow you to take the lead role since they know that you are well equipped for it.

There will be a time in your business that you will have to do it all. This is usually at the start-up phase for most business owners.

You can avoid anxiety if you know when to allow other people to handle some parts of your business. You should know that business growth will lead to expansion.

Part of the expansion process is to bring in competent people to handle some parts of your business. The first step for expansion is to hire competent human resource personnel.

This does not mean that you cannot handle the employment process yourself. Employing an experienced human resource person will lead to hiring other competent staffs.
Avoid selling on credit

Running a business requires money. You need to handle your inventory, sales and revenue with much respect.

People will not mind buying your products or using your services without paying. This is because they don’t understand revenue inflow cycle. No matter how much you try to be liberal, you must always remember that your sales figure must be higher.

When a business does not experience quick turnover, the business will fail in the long run. To avoid anxiety due to impending shutdown, you should manage selling on credit. You’re running a business not credit scheme.

Sometimes, agreeing to credit purchases will improve your revenue. But you must know when to stop it or limit the group of individuals that can benefit through such system.
Tackle all sources of anxiety

You may not be able to separate anxiety from your business but you can avoid it as much as possible. As a business owner, you don’t have to run away from the issues that are giving you sleepless nights.

The best way to deal with them is to address each situation. Outline everything about your business that challenges you and proper solution to them.

Over a period of time, you would realize that you are rarely in a situation where anxiety is able to dominate you. This means that you will always be in control of your emotions when handling your business.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Being an Entrepreneur Means Writing Your Own Future, According to This Founder

I meet business owners, all the time, that share with me their daily financial challenges and their desire to grow. They wish they will have the time or expertise to solve them and move their company forward. Most business owners try to wear too many hats at once, and as result they are not so effective as they would like to be. 

Soledad Tanner Consulting offers financial management consulting, and helps you solve issues such as: Loss of revenue, margin reduction, high costs, obsolete processes, inadequate financial controls, lack of reliable budgets and forecasts to name a few? Contact us for a complimentary consultation: (832) 998-2136 & Soledad@SoledadTanner.com. For additional information: www.soledadtanner.com

How Matt McCall stopped working for 'The Man' and created a company aimed at helping other small businesses get funding.

BRIL 27, 2017

In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)

Who are you and what’s your business?

My name is Matt McCall, I have started 3 businesses in the last 13 years. My latest venture, CrowdVest, is an equity crowdfunding platform that allows small businesses to raise money from the crowd, and at the same time, allows the crowd the ability to take ownership in the companies of the future.

What led you to this idea?

Before mid-2015, only accredited investors (the top 3% of Americans based on wealth) were able to invest in private companies. After the final phase of the JOBS Act was passed it allowed the average American “the crowd” to invest in private companies. The new law is referred to as Regulation A+. I saw this as an opportunity to help entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams of expansion as well as opening up the world of investing in the next big thing to the average American.

What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?

The word entrepreneur to me is all about choice. As an entrepreneur, you write your own future. The harder you work, the higher probability of you being successful. I wake up every morning and I decide how I want my life to play out. I can get to work an hour early and stay an hour late and put in the extra work to achieve my goals or I can take the day off and lounge at the pool. That is my choice to make. As you can imagine, the latter is very rare in the early stages of a new company (as I am now working around the clock on my newest venture). But, with success comes the ability to choice time for yourself (as I did when I backpacked through Europe in October).

What was your toughest challenge and how did you overcome it?

My toughest challenge was not giving up. Before becoming an entrepreneur, I had a typical 9-5 job that regardless of my performance, there was a great chance I would get a paycheck twice per month. After starting my first business my financial situation changed. I cashed out my 401k and savings just to make it through the first few months. There was a point in time I considered going back to working for "The Man” so that I could once again eat food that did not come out of a box. Thankfully I was able to stomach a few more months of Tuna Helper and I never gave up on my passion. I overcame this because I believed in my passion and knew hat if I went back to my old life that I would forever ask myself, “what if”.

What’s the problem you are attacking now?

When you are selling a service that is new, it is exciting but also scary to most people. While we all talk about change and being on the cutting edge, most humans are sheep and will go with the masses. I am selling a service, equity crowdfunding, that will change the investment landscape forever and how companies ultimately go public. However, to be one of the first companies to go this route creates a fear of the unknown. I am solving this by laying out the benefits to each potential client and how they will be the poster child of how things will be done in the future. And ultimately, I am going to be their guide and assure them CrowdVest will be there for them and that we are in this together. The trust factor will create a lifelong client relationship.

What trait do you depend on most when making decisions and why is that useful for you? 

I look at the big picture with all decision making. Too many people make long-term decisions based short-term factors. For example, if a potential client is not able to pay fees upfront, many entrepreneurs will turn down the business because they need cash to fund the business today. However, in the big picture, this very potential client could turn into a long-term revenue generator that could be a client for years. Always look at the long-term ramifications of any decision you make.

How has your leadership style evolved?

As an entrepreneur, you get accustomed to running all aspects of your business in the early stages. You are the sales team, the CEO, and the cleaning crew at the end of the night. Once expansion occurs and others are involved you must realize that as a leader you have to be a successful delegator of tasks. In the early years, I would micromanage employees and realize it was a colossal waste of time. Today I tend to lead by example. I will be one of the first to the office and one of the last to leave, this alone will drive your employees to follow your lead.

Is there a particular quote or saying that you use as personal motivation? 

First off I am not a religious person, but I am spiritual, and this is a powerful quote from The New Testament, Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you.” This has been my mantra from day one. If you do not ask, seek, or knock, there is no chance of success.

Conscious Couture media kick off at west Elm-City Centre (Houston)

Created with flickr slideshow.

Photography by: Brandy G of Authenticallyb

West Elm, the location for the Conscious Couture Resale Event Media Kick-Off on March 24th, 2017 at 6 pm.
The Event: Conscious Couture Style Bosses, Host Committee, Sponsors, Team Members, and Media came together at West Elm - CityCentre over amazing food by Eddie V's - City Centre, to celebrate and introduce Conscious Couture to Houstonians.

The Guests: The guest list included; Style Boss Theresa Roemer of NI30d, Style Boss Anika Jackson of Philanthropic Fetes, Host Committee Staci Henderson of Philanthropic Fetes, Host Committee Erin Creeks of Ms Independent, Holly-Dae Aaron of Arts By Aaron, Mair Emenogu of Mair Fragrance, Soledad Tanner of Soledad Tanner Consulting, Style Boss Chloe Dao , Style Boss Sydney Dao of Squid Inc. PR , Karissa Littlejohn of WhysGirls, Designer Chasity Sereal , Kristin Perez of Trades of Hope, William Williamson General Manager of West Elm City Centre; along with a host of fashion Influencers anticipating Conscious Couture HTX on April 8th at City Centre 5.

Highlights: Guest enjoyed conversations, cocktails, and cuisine during the Conscious Couture Media Kick-off at West Elm - CityCentre. Attendees took part in the #EveryGirlDeservesCampaign sharing their wish for every girl. Partners included: Arts by Aaron, Eddie V's - City Centre, West Elm - City Centre and Beviamo International LLC