Discipline and patience are two of the essential keys that will bring you the greater Consulting success you are seeking.
Today I’m joined by seasoned consultant and passionate leader Ron Carucci. Ron and his partners at Navalent help companies that are in pursuit of a substantial transformational change, whether it be strategic formulation, organizational design, cultural shifts, or executive leadership behaviors. His work has taken him to over 20 countries in four different continents, and he is the author of several consulting and leadership books as well as a regular contributor to Forbes.com and the Harvard Business Review.
In this episode, we talk about how Ron shifted from working in an organization to working for the best ones, the ideal size of a successful consulting firm, and the effective ways to implement changes in your work so that you are attracting only the most ideal clients. Ron has over 25 years of experience, and he has worked hard to position himself as a truly successful consultant. You won’t want to miss the insights and experiences that he shares in this episode of The Consulting Success Podcast.
In Pursuit of His Passion For Organizations
Originally a student of the arts, Ron was performing in Europe when he found himself at a crossroads in which he had a life-changing realization about the importance of helping other people tell their stories. At that point, Ron began following his passion for examining the science behind leaders and organizations work together. Today, as a consultant, Ron gets to enter into the stories of successful businesses to help leaders write the next chapter of their adventures.
Creating meaningful success does not come by doing the easy things. It comes from making the decision to change, dedicating yourself to the change, and then doing a lot of hard work.
But today, we’re focusing on Ron’s story. He has learned plenty of lessons over the years, and the stories he shares on in our conversation are valuable for any consultant that wants to make positive changes to their work.
Inside the world of organizational development, Ron quickly learned that being an agent of change is a real challenge. As companies grow larger and larger, the work is no longer about effecting change. It becomes more about revenues and profits, leading and managing all aspects of the growing business. When Ron and some of his close colleagues realized this was the work they were faced with, they decided to start their own business in order to preserve their dream. Navelent was born and 13 years later Ron declares that he is still living his dream.
He tells about the lessons he learned from his first practice. Although exiting a larger corporation was liberating, and the work he was doing paid the bills, Ron had to be honest with himself. He knew that he didn’t have 30 more years of expertise that he could make money on. Those kinds of brutally honest moments are the pivotal ones — and they are essential for any consultant who wants to stay on the path toward success.
Building A Consulting Firm To The Perfect Size
Many consultants are successful as a one-man show, but Navelent is a larger consulting company by intentional design. Rather than marketing himself as the independent expert in his domain, Ron has built up his business with a group of colleagues that share his passion for the work they do. This expertise has provided the power to make the kinds of impact that they most wanted to make. As Ron explains, when you show up to a large corporation, you need to have enough resources ready that the company will be confident in your ability to get the work done.
At Navalent, they are deliberate and intentional about the partners they bring on and the training they have to complete. There are clearly defined levels of branding, standards of practice, and expectations from each consultant within the firm. Ron and the other two owners of Navalent also make sure that they are modeling the behaviors and practices that they expect from their consultants, starting with getting into the trenches with clients themselves.
Compensation within the firm comes from great client work. Rather than modeling overly bureaucratic or individualistic behaviors, Navalent has a compensation metric that rewards an intense focus on the client. Ron explains that the compensation model allows their consultants to feel confident about focusing on the needs of their clients, rather than how large their next paycheck is going to be. If you’ve ever wondered how to make that switch, you’ll want to hear how it works at Navalent.
Standing Out In A Crowd of Leadership Experts
As an author of several leadership books, Ron has worked hard to improve the perception of consultants and the importance of the work that they do. His first two books — The Value-Creating Consultant: How To Build and Sustain Lasting Client Relationships and Relationships that Enable Enterprise Change: Leveraging the Client-Consultant Connection — both focus solely on the importance of being a great consultant. From there he has shifted his focus to the importance of being a great leader and how consultants can effectively lead change within organizations.
Ron shares the experience that led to his most recent book, Rising To Power: The Journey of Exceptional Executives. When the CEO of a company told Ron that a recently fired executive wasn’t well prepared for his responsibilities, Ron wanted to know why. What could have been done differently? That question led to a 10-year, longitudinal study of more than 2,700 leaders in which Ron examined what makes leaders excel. 50% of leaders fail in the first 18 months of their assignments, and that statistic is both staggering and unsettling for those that are trying to succeed. His book addresses these harsh facts and also shares the key difference between those that fail and those that rise to the top.
While many consultants write about their methodology, Ron writes about the things that his clients care about, and that is why his work stands out. He also writes for Forbes.com and Harvard Business Review, both of which have had a tremendous impact on his business. Additionally, a few years ago Ron hired a coach for himself to greater refine his voice and set himself apart. Each of these steps has allowed Ron to rise above the cluttered market of consulting ‘experts’ and position himself as a leader who knows what his clients want and how to get the results they are seeking.
Have you ever considered hiring a coach for yourself? If so, you’ll want to listen to Ron as he shares some of the lessons he has learned. By hiring his own coach, he has discovered how to land the kind of clients he wants to be working with. The first and most important step is making sure that your ideal clients can find you. They have to have access to your ideas in a way that will resonate with them. By positioning yourself along their pathway, they can more easily connect with you. The second major tip Ron shares comes from his writing.
How To Get Your Writing Published
Many consultants dream of publishing their ideas into books or on world-renowned websites such as Forbes.com and Harvard Business Review. If you’ve got ideas that you want to share with the world but don’t know where to start, this conversation is for you.
Ron shares several effective ideas for getting published. First, you need to have ideas that matter. You need to be able to organize your ideas into insightful packages that make for a good read. An easy way to start is to base your ideas from the client’s perspective. Write about the challenges they are facing, and you’ll be that much closer to writing successfully.
Once you have your ideas organized in a meaningful way, there are several channels that you can use to try to get your writing published. However, Ron warns, it takes a great deal of discipline. You have to be committed to writing regularly. You have to be committed to writing about the things that your clients care about, and above all else, you have to be incredibly patient. If you really want to get your voice heard, you need to hear Ron’s experiences and the tips he shares for staying committed to your writing over the long haul.
Building Credibility Within Your Network
As we examine the overall benefits of writing books and online articles, Ron’s opinion on the importance of the two may surprise you. They’re both essential, but in addition to writing, in today’s world, you have to have more. A strong social media presence and taking on speaking engagements, including podcasts, will also contribute to your overall credibility. Building your credibility and social proof is essential to your success as an expert in your field of consulting.
Magazines, ebooks, and articles all work together to provide a conversation base for you to have with your ideal clients. Each of these methods alone will not be enough to build your credibility, but working together they all cast a very wide net that will bring in your ideal clients. Relationships that start online can progress into your opportunities to work with the kinds of clients that you are seeking.
Many consultants make the mistake of believing that it is the problem-solving expertise and smart solutions that make them valuable, but that mentality is wrong. As Ron’s first book The Value-Creating Consultant: How To Build and Sustain Lasting Client Relationships proves, the primary delivery mechanism of value is the relationship that you have with your client. There is no other approach to your work that will be as effective as forming meaningful, trusting relationships with your clients. It is essential that you continue to work your network and place your expertise in the path of those that you want to work with. That consistency that you work to maintain in the right places is critical to your consulting success.
Developing A Mindset of Discipline
According to Ron, desperation was the initial key to his commitment to consistently producing high-quality work. That may seem like a joke, but if you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, you will understand what he means. Once he realized that he didn’t want to work with crazy people anymore, the decision was an easy one. He knew that he needed to make changes in his approach to securing clients, and the next step was investing in himself. By investing in his own career and success and hiring a coach, Ron was able to affect the changes that he needed to make.
If you’re truly committed to making positive changes in your consulting work, you need to hear Ron’s story. Creating meaningful success does not come by doing the easy things. It comes from making the decision to change, dedicating yourself to the change, and then doing a lot of hard work. You will see rewards in your success if you can stay consistently committed to making it happen, and Ron is proof of that.
You can learn more about his work at navalent.com, where you can access his blog, books, and information about upcoming training events. You can also obtain a copy of his free ebook Leading Transformation. And you can find the inspiration you’ve been looking for to find your consultant’s voice of authority and leadership in this episode of The Consulting Success Podcast with Ron Carucci.
[:17] Introducing Ron Carucci, artist turned successful global consultant and author.
[6:01] How starting out small in the business led Ron to greater success.
[7:57] Shaping Navalent into a successful company.
[11:12] A look at a more rewarding compensation model.
[11:58] All about Ron’s writing and the importance of his consulting and leadership books.
[16:21] The impact of writing articles for Forbes.com.
[17:46] Key tips for getting your writing published.
[19:59] Building your credibility through writing, speaking, and social media.
[22:40] Networking your way to success.
[27:20] Steps to developing a mindset of discipline.
[32:52] Connecting with Ron Carucci.
Mentioned in This Episode:
The Value-Creating Consultant: How To Build and Sustain Lasting Client Relationships, by Ron A. Carucci and Toby J. Tetenbaum
Relationships that Enable Enterprise Change: Leveraging the Client-Consultant Connection, by Ron A. Carucci and William A. Pasmore
Rising To Power: The Journey of Exceptional Executives, by Ron A. Carucci and Eric C. Hansen
Ron Carucci on Forbes.com
Ron Carucci on Harvard Business Review
Tweetables:“Doing the work and running the firm are two different things.” — Ron Carucci “If you want to attract a certain kind of client … you have to make sure they can find you.” — Ron Carucci “At the end of the day, it’s all about relationships.” — Ron Carucci “Too many clients lead with answers instead of relationships.” — Ron Carucci “The consistency of your presence in the right places is critical to your success.” — Ron Carucci
Positioning Yourself As The Expert — How To Develop A Consulting Voice That Clients Will Listen To with Ron Carucci: Podcast #21 is a post from: Consulting Success
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