A weekly roundup of news about, and insights from, our global community of management consultants.


Blockchain – Changing the Future of Insurance

From The Burnie Group, an informative article on Blockchain technology and how it can open new business opportunities, reduce transaction costs, and improve trust, security and efficiency of existing processes.


The Key Benefits of a Discovery-Hosting Play Strategy

James Phimister highlights the benefits of Discovery-Hosting play as a strategy for information providers of scholarly communications.


Organisational Culture and Leadership – Understanding the Connection

Paul Millerd discusses the importance of understanding a company’s culture from a leader’s perspective to procure positive results.


Are You Making One of These Obvious Mistakes?

Sometimes the most obvious mistakes are the ones we make. David A. Fields keeps us on track with this post on the fundamental courtesies expected of professional behaviour. The comments below add extra advice and value to this popular article.


The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Backlog

Tirrell Payton offers a valuable and comprehensive workbook that is guaranteed to help you totally transform how you build backlogs.

A weekly roundup of news about, and insights from, our global community of management consultants.


Get the Pricing Right

Ian Tidswell closes the division between product development and product commercialization with a structured approach to pricing based on 5 clear steps.


Dealing with Death and Dementia

Francois Jacques offers insightful and practical advice for busy professionals who find themselves with the dilemma of looking after aging parents while maintaining a focus on their career.


Clearing the Path to Promotion

Ben Dattner’s article for the Harvard Business Review provides valuable advice and key steps to take that will turn an interim role into a permanent job.


Understanding Innovation to Develop a Successful Market Strategy

Luca Ottinetti defines the four dominant forces that drive innovation and outlines three archetypes of innovation and the challenges faced when taking new innovations to market.


Get Immediate Insights with this Visual Management Strategy

Tim Fisk provides three simple and useful visual management methods that will help you understand how your department or project is running.


Dipsticks, Foots, and Fire Drills

Take a moment to refresh your knowledge of business jargon with these eloquent and amusing pithy posts from Jason George. Enjoy.


Helping Leaders Lead

Mirko Jens Luebke received an award this year from the World Human Resource Development Congress for one of the 100 Best Global Coaching Leaders.


Julie Gupta on pro bono consulting


Our guest today is my friend Julie Gupta, who has a Masters in Material Engineering from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Julie started her consulting career at Bain & Company, and after a series of roles in the tech industry she started her own practice, Gupta Consulting, in 2006 – so she has been a successful independent professional for 11 years.

In our discussion, we focus on Julie’s pro bono work, which I find incredibly inspiring. She has done pro bono consulting work at fantastic organizations that include Guide Dogs for the Blind, NPR, the Girl Scouts of America, Boston Public Schools, City Year, the Humane Society, among others.

Julie shares one question that has shaped her thinking and her life: “Are you optimizing your resume or your eulogy?”

We talk about how as an independent professional to find those pro bono opportunities, and some best practices to make sure that you have impact and that your time is well spent.  We also talk about the unanticipated benefits – such as relationships that have led to work with for-profit clients, and skills she has learned.

Read more about Julie’s practice at www.ConsultGupta.com.



Will Bachman on 27 steps to set up your firm


In this in-between-isode, Will Bachman offers suggestions on 27 action items to consider as you set up your firm.



A weekly roundup of news about, and insights from, our global community of management consultants.

The Role of Culture in Risk Management

Alistair Hodgett flags the importance of understanding the role of culture when developing a risk management strategy.

Teach a Man to Read…

Kevin Terrell and Pam Longfellow, founders of the nonprofit “Start Reading Now” were recently interviewed by the Star Tribune on their new initiative to help kids get on the right track by introducing them to the pleasure of reading.


A Critical Factor in the Shift from Continuous Improvement to Step Change in Product Development

Tim Fisk illustrates the need for putting a functioning capable management system in place when moving to a step change improvement for product development to ensure visibility on performance and problem solving.

Agile and Outsourced QA Testing Tips

Tirrell Payton offers 3 best practices to get the most from your Agile efforts and your outsourced qa testing.



A Key to Creativity

Kaihan Krippendorff extolls the benefits of being alone and takes us back to the original meaning of the word ‘alone’ to give insight into the benefits. Kaihan is the author of four books on business strategy, Outthink the Competition, The Way of Innovation, The Art of the Advantage, and Hide a Dagger Behind a Smile. His books explore the patterns used by great military strategists, and he applies these strategies to current multinational corporations  to understand the key to competitiveness and innovation.


Epic Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Sugath Warnakulasuriya shares valuable lessons learned from a time when he was the co-founding CTO of a startup.



Let’s Not Forget the Limitations of Algorithms

Martin Pergler weighs the pros and cons of entrusting algorithms to make decisions.



Will Bachman on establishing the strategy for your practice


In this in-between-isode, Will Bachman offers a perspective on the questions you should answer to create a strategy for your practice, namely:

  1. What is your definition of success? Or in other words, What is winning?
  2. Where do you play?
  3. How do you win on the battlefields where you have chosen to play?



Mike Feiner on High Performance Leadership


Our guest today is Mike Feiner, who has been an influential figure in my own life since I took his class High Performance Leadership at Columbia Business School.

Mike is now on his fourth career.

He was the Worldwide Chief People Officer at Pepsi – so the head of HR and the top advisor on all people matters to the CEO.

Here is a factoid: in the last three years, according to The New CEO Report by Feigen Advisors, 81 individuals have ascended to the CEO role. in the Fortune 250.  Of those 81, eight of the CEOs had worked previously at Pepsi, several of them while Mike was the head of HR.  Something special was clearly going on.

After Pepsi, Mike developed and taught one of the most popular courses ever at Columbia Business School.

While he loved teaching, after ten years he wanted a new challenge and took the role of Senior Managing Director at Irving Place Capital where he Lead firm’s efforts in guiding portfolio company management teams build, grow & develop their leaders & managers.

And now Mike is an independent professional, serving as a consultant to CEOs and senior leaders.

Mike is also the author of the bestselling The Feiner Points of Leadership: The 50 Basic Laws that will make people want to perform better for you. I’ve given out copies of this book dozens of times – it is the most practical book on what leadership is that I’ve ever read.

In our wide ranging conversation, we talk about how to apply these basic laws of leadership as an independent professional

We talk about the Law of Intimacy, the Law of Feedback, the Law of Professional Commitment, the Law of the Emperor’s Wardrobe, and more.

Mike’s been a lifelong runner, running nearly every day for over 40 years, and we also talk about his suggestion that business professionals need to think of themselves as Professional Athletes. We’re in a marathon, not a sprint, and we need to think about personal fitness, broadly conceived – exercise, diet, sleep, mindfulness all factor into our long term success as much, if not more than our knowledge of valuation methodologies or the latest digital marketing techniques.

You can read more about Mike’s work on his website, feinerconsulting.com

Matt Weill on contracts


Our guest today is Matt Weill, who is my attorney as well as a good friend.

Matt began his legal career as an Associate at Skadden Arps and then he became a partner at the firm of Golenbock, Eiseman, Assor Bell & Peskoe.

His legal practice is primarily focused on business and transactional matters for a wide range of clients, including private equity and venture/growth capital funds and their related portfolio companies and investments.

Matt  routinely counsels entrepreneurs, startup and growth-stage companies and investors in connection with the structuring and formation of new business ventures, private placements, capital raising transactions, and agreements among founders.

Matt has extensive experience working with independent professionals, and for Umbrex he has prepared three contract templates – a contract between an independent professional and a client; a contract that an independent professional can use to engage a subcontractor, and a non-disclosure agreement.

If you email me at unleashed@umbrex.com, I will send those files to you. Please note: these are just a starting point and don’t constitute legal advice – you should get an attorney yourself to customize for your particular situation. That said, these templates can jump start that process and save you time and money.

In the show today, Matt walks us through the contracts, explaining the key things we should watch out for. He also answers questions submitted by listeners, including steps you can take to get paid on time, how to negotiate non-circumvention clauses, and why you should read the fine print of the indemnity clause.



A weekly roundup of news about, and insights from, our global community of management consultants.



Trends and Tactics in Market Research

Soyini Coke provides an article on the essentials of market research with links to further information.


How to Kick-start your Track & Trace (Serialization) Program.

Evren Ozkaya provides 10 practical steps to set up a track and trace serialization program for Pharma companies.


The Limitations of ROI Calculations

Kaihan Krippendorff thinks beyond the constraints of best practice budgeting to explain why basing the validity of a project on forecast ROI can limit innovation and groundbreaking opportunities. He also offers three steps that can help show the potential value of innovative opportunities when the ROI bottom line bottoms out.  Kaihan is the author of three books on business strategy.


Startup Village Event for Entrepreneurs in Moscow

Martin Roll, author of Asian Brand Strategy, is a keynote speaker and moderator at an event held by the the Startup Village in Moscow on June 6-7, 2017. The  largest start-up conference for technology entrepreneurs in Russia and the CIS countries, this event will host 20,000 participants, represent 4,000 startups and host 1,500 global investors from more than 30 countries.


A chapter of Martin’s book can be downloaded here.


How to Manage Conflict within Your Team

Susan Drumm provides some excellent advice and practical tips on mitigating unproductive conflict between team members and also explains why conflict, when managed well, can be productive.


The Key to Building Institutional Trust

The consultant to consultants, David Fields explains why it is beneficial to focus on building institutional trust over individual trust, and he provides three preliminary steps to move in that direction.  David’s latest book The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients, has received 90 reviews in just 4 weeks.


Keeping Your Team Together – Recession Proof Tips for CMOs

Robbie Kellman Baxter identifies the need for CMOs to focus on leadership and strategy and offers tips for maintaining their team during an economic downturn in this downloadable PDF.


Dorene Stockman on business insurance for independent professionals


Our guest today is Dorene Stockman, an insurance agent with the Owens Group, an independent agency.

Dorene helped me get my own insurance policy, and I thought she was very knowledgeable and a helpful advisor on that process, so I asked her to be on the show to share her advice for independent professionals on the types of coverage we need to consider buying.

In our conversation we discuss the types of coverage that are applicable to most independent professionals, namely:

–        Business owners’ insurance – closely related to General Liability policy

–        Umbrella policy

–        Professional liability policy

–        Privacy / cyber policy

We discuss policies that independent professionals should consider getting if you hire an employee or engage a subcontractor, including:

–        Workers’ comp

–        Disability

–        Unemployment insurance


For those independent professionals that serve on the board of a non-profit or for-profit, we discuss directors’ & officers’ insurance.

Dorene also shares tips on how to select a broker, how often you should re-quote your policy, and how to work most effectively with a broker.

Dorene prepared a much more exhaustive list of policy types that are applicable to narrower groups of independent professionals – if you email me at unleashed@umbrex.com I’ll send you a copy.

You can find Dorene’s firm at owensgroup.com