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There are two reasons why you get paid what you get paid in the marketplace.

I know many of you will be interested in this topic.

Whether you are working for someone else, or you are working for yourself. How can you grow as a professional, how can you grow your business, and how can you get promoted, if you are NOT clear on the reason you are paid what you are paid?

So, here are the two reasons why we get paid in the marketplace:

The reason #1 we get paid in the marketplace: The value we bring to the people we serve.

If you deliver a lot of value to people, and you treat people well in the process, your clients will want to continue working with you.

We have a lot of clients who have been with us throughout the entire FIRMSconsulting journey. FIRMSconsulting has been around for over 12 years, and we have clients who have been with us for over 12 years. We have seen clients blossom from students with no work experience to consulting partners, top tech executives, and successful business owners.

If you deliver value and treat people well in the process,
people usually stay.
And if they leave, they often come back.

I invest more in my professional development than almost everyone, if not everyone, you have ever come across in your life.

In-person or on TV.

Michael thinks that my budget and the amount of effort and time I spend on professional development are downright crazy.

But I have to do it.

It is my mission in life to continuously become more and more of a person who can add tremendous value to my clients.

Life-changing value.

To help a lot of people, millions if not hundreds of millions of people. To reduce and eliminate professional suffering (and personal suffering). To help my clients, readers, and people in the FC audience live a more productive and fulfilling life.

Once I was on the phone with a client who was very successful but suicidal. He refuses or can’t get enough help from licensed mental care professionals. Yet this client trusts FC and, therefore, is on a coaching call. In a situation like that, it is my job to be as prepared as I can to say the right things and ask the right questions to pull them out.

It is my job to be as prepared as possible to help clients identify and fix the key things that are holding them stuck in their careers or business. Especially their lives.

It is my job to open clients’ eyes and give clients ways of thinking differently.

In summary, it is my job to help people realize their full potential, in a way that also allows them to live happy life.

And to do that, I need to be able to bring all the best that is available in the world to my clients. And all the best that we developed internally. And to also connect the dots from various disciplines and package it in an easy-to-use way for our clients.

And to do that, I have to be in continuous pursuit of mastery.

I constantly learn things that blow my mind. That changes the way I look at the world.

This is the reason why I am learning a significant amount of time, every single day.

There is a lot to understand, a lot to dig out, and a lot of dots to connect.

My goal is to be an advanced version of myself every time a client,
a colleague or even a family member speaks to me.

Even if the last time they spoke to me was just a few hours ago.

So, I am investing a significant amount of money and time into learning. Because of that, I come across a lot of people who do coaching, training, and consulting. Experts from all over the world who are considered to be the best or one of the best at what they do.

But I am shocked at how disrespectful their customer support is and, most importantly, how little value you get as a client.

The value that people give once you pay them meaningful amounts of money for what they offer, sometimes over six figures for one program, is very disappointing.

99% of those programs have low-level coaches doing the coaching once the top person in the world sells you the program. So I end up coaching the coaches. They make notes the entire session they speak to me, and I can’t pull one distinction or useful point out.

In our coaching programs, you work with me and Michael. We don’t delegate client work to low-level coaches. We may have to bring in additional coaches as we expand. But the standards will have to be maintained. And that is not done in other programs I have seen.

The value you get in the marketplace, the treatment you get as a client, and the way they view you (some inferior little person that should be grateful they said hello) is often absolutely shocking.

And I can tell you that this is common.

This is the normal experience people have when they buy higher-end programs, masterminds, and consulting projects that cost five or six figures. We are talking about B2C here primarily. And, of course, the same situation is happening with B2B, and larger consulting engagements.

So, the good news for you is that:

If you are a person who brings a lot of value,
and treats clients with respect,
then that immediately sets you apart
from MOST people in the MARKETPLACE. 

So if you genuinely, truly care about your clients and add to that the skills required to add a lot of value, with the right business model, I don’t see how almost anyone can even compete with you.

And within the FC community, we have an unusual number of very decent and capable humans. I am working with my team on the next co-authored book. And every chapter by co-authors I was reviewing this week showcased a very decent and remarkable leader. Which makes me so proud of our group. When the book comes out, don’t miss out on reading through those stories and the advice your fellow FC community members share.

Anyway, the great news is that the competition out there, on average, does not add a lot of value to clients.

Once someone goes through their sales funnel (and yes, consultants also have funnels clients go through, and we teach a unique funnel approach in The Consulting Rainmaker program) and experiences what it’s like to be their client, those clients often leave, and hopefully, they will keep on searching for someone who actually adds value.

And so, this is where you come in.

Exceptional professionals who actually add a lot of value are a rare breed. And a great competitive advantage in the long term.

The reason #2 you are valued in the marketplace: The marketplace rewards you for the person you become.

The second way you get rewarded in the marketplace is incredibly important.

It’s not just about the way you get rewarded in the marketplace, but an important part of your development as a human being.

You get rewarded for the person you become.

As you go through your learning journey, you will change.

Your identity will expand.

What you think is possible for you will expand. What you are capable of will expand. Your level of impact will expand.

And you will get rewarded for the person you become.

If you haven’t seen a video where I shared with you one question I recommend you ask yourself throughout the day to help you become that ultimate version of yourself, you can watch it here.

So, to summarize two ways you get rewarded in the marketplace. One is for the value you bring to your clients and customers. And number two is for the person you become.

So if you are worried that you don’t have value in the marketplace, don’t overcomplicate it for yourself.

There are only 2 reasons.

The 1st reason requires you to add value. And the 2nd reason requires you to be in pursuit of mastery in your chosen field.

And we have thousands of clients who use StrategyTraining.com Insider and Legacy memberships, as well as our books and coaching programs, to achieve both of those goals: being able to add value and having guidance and resources to continuously become an advanced version of themselves.

If you join as a Legacy member today, email us by 9 pm PST today, and we will arrange for you 2 weeks of free bonus access to SLIDES. SLIDES membership costs $2,988 per year and allows access to our knowledge management system with thousands of slides used for million-dollar consulting engagements and million-dollar winning proposals.

You can join as an Insider or Legacy member here: https://www.strategytraining.com/

Scroll down to membership options and select Legacy or Insider.

Take care,
Kris

P.S. If you join Legacy today or tomorrow morning, email [email protected] with the subject line “joined Legacy” so we can forward you dial-in details for Saturday, 1 pm PST Legacy members coaching call that is happening tomorrow.

P.S.S. If you are an Insider, go to Legacy content on StrategyTraining.com (it will be locked for you). The system will offer you an opportunity to upgrade, taking any paid days into account as credit towards Legacy membership. If you upgrade from Insider to Legacy, you can move back to Insider at a later date. But I doubt you would want to because of the ROI you can get from the individualized Legacy members coaching calls (the next one is tomorrow at 1 pm PST) and additional advanced programs.

Consulting Skills as a Competitive Advantage

Developing strong consulting skills such as the ability to communicate in a way that holds the attention of the room, the ability to solve complex problems in a structured and effective way, and the ability to build a peer-level relationship with the most senior executives of major companies. Developing strong consulting skills can be the competitive advantage that will allow you rise above the average and gain the momentum, respect, and opportunities you want.

Not everyone working for major consulting firms have strong consulting skills. Similarly, you can develop strong consulting skills without ever working for a major consulting firm.

In this post we are going to explore how to achieve career advancement from manager and above, and how to use consulting skills to help you achieve career growth.

What is Career Advancement?

Career advancement refers to the upward trajectory of someone’s career. Top professionals know the importance of professional and personal development. For anyone in the corporate world having a secure job to go to each week is important, but it is not enough. Humans crave progress.

If we do not grow, we degrade. We do not stay still. Our skills deteriorate. 

So the opportunity for career advancement is one of the most essential elements for people to feel a sense of well-being and job satisfaction. Opportunities for career growth are a powerful employee motivator. That’s why it makes good business sense for companies to ensure their employees are clear on their career growth plans and career growth opportunities.

Differences Between Advancing as a Junior Employee vs. Manager and Above. How Developing Consulting Skills Can Help

When someone is a junior employee, career advancement is usually more straightforward. Do a great job for your superiors, make them look good, and develop a strong technical skill-set, and you will have growth in your career. 

As you continue advancing in your career and moving to more senior levels, however, you will notice that your technical skills are becoming less and less critical to get the next promotion. What becomes essential are your soft skills. 

  • Can you convince and motivate people to do the work they do not want to do? 
  • Can you effectively lead people? 
  • Are you able to get people together that do not want to work together?
  • What is your level of influence within your organization?

Developing strong consulting skills means developing strong soft skills. You can’t be a successful consultant without the ability to communicate well, without the ability to have a lot of executive presence during your meetings with clients, and without the ability to build a long-term relationship with your clients.

Qualities of an Exceptional Leader

There are many qualities that exceptional leaders need to possess. If you look back at the best boss you ever had, what qualities immediately come to mind? Generally, the qualities of exceptional leaders include the following:

Integrity – Great leaders have integrity. If they promised you something, they keep their word. If you told them something in confidence, they keep it confidential. They do not go and cut corners to get some quick revenue or earn a favor. An exceptional leader would also not do unethical and illegal things for clients to keep big clients happy. They understand they set an example, and they take their role very seriously. 

Gratitude – You feel that your input is meaningful and sincerely appreciated. When you go above and beyond, it is noticed and acknowledged and ultimately rewarded.

Growth mindset – exceptional leaders have a growth mindset. They believe that you can improve if you put enough work into it. They give you opportunities to grow instead of locking you into a dead-end job. They create growth opportunities for their team because they believe that humans can grow and develop powerful skills. 

Influence – Great leaders are able to connect with others. They can be a connecting tissue that brings together stakeholders who are not interested in speaking to each other. They have a high level of influence within the organization and with clients.

Empathy – Great leaders have empathy. They understand that their team members are only human and can make mistakes. As long as they see the mistake was made not out of malicious intent, they help their team members recover from mistakes. They empower instead of push down. They support instead of humiliating. 

Self-Awareness – Great leaders also have a high level of self-awareness. You do not find them losing it and screaming at a client or their team members. They are calm, collected, professional, and focused a lot of the time. They are, of course, only human and, at times, may become anxious or angry, but because of their high level of self-awareness, they remain very professional at all times. 

Excellent communication – As we have mentioned earlier, excellent communication is one of the key consulting skills that can help you transform your career. Exceptional leaders are great communicators. They are able to hold the attention of the room. They are able to connect with their audience, be it one person or 100 people. They speak from their heart and are able to move people to action. 

Great at delegation – Great leaders understand that they can’t do everything on their own. They are great at delegation. They grow and develop strong teams under them. They do not hesitate to train people under them because they understand that it is best for the organization, the best for clients, and it is the only way that they can ever be promoted. They start succession planning early.

Tips for Career Advancement

Career advancement within the same organization may be the result of gaining work experience and potentially completing additional advanced training. There are some things to keep in mind as you are planning out your career advancement plan.

Start from maintaining very good health. Health is the most important asset you have. Without it, you do not have anything. So always pay attention to your health. As driven professionals, we often do not take sufficient care of our health early in our career, only to pay for it a way too big of a price later on. It is essential to pay attention to protecting your health from the start or as soon as you can. 

Build your skillset. Many business professionals stop developing their skills beyond what they learn on the job. Years go by, and they start to wonder what happened. Why has their career stalled? We live in a very competitive world, especially if you look at countries like the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. While in some developing countries, you can get away with being average and still have a great career because there is such a massive lack of skills, in developed countries, you compete with the best people from all over the world. If you do not invest in your skills beyond what average performers do, then you will likely have average results. 

Work on your confidence. If you do not come across as someone who believes in their abilities, other people will also not believe you have what it takes to be a leader. So it is crucial to work on your confidence. When it comes to confidence, what you need to remember is what matters is your belief in your ability to figure things out. It is as simple as that. As long as you believe that you will find the way to make things work, that you will figure things out, that is what is required to have a sufficient level of confidence. So, as you can see, it is quite simple and manageable. 

Work on your communication skills. Another essential and powerful way to build confidence is by working on your communication and executive presence skills. We have a powerful program for our clients on developing executive presence and communication skills and a number of resources, including a video below. 

The Benefits of a Career Advancement

Organizations shouldn’t minimize the importance of supporting their employees’ career advancement. When companies do not pay attention to career growth opportunities for their employees, they undermine morale and productivity and end up with a high turnover. This is how companies or specific divisions within companies end up having to deal with a problem of a revolving door, where most employees leave as soon as they can, taking all the knowledge and experience with them, sometimes taking it to competitors. 

Here are some benefits of career advancement and career progression:

  • It results in lower turnover
  • It results in higher job satisfaction
  • It reduces stress and missed work days due to illness
  • It boosts productivity
  • It increases engagement within the team
  • It creates a positive work environment versus a toxic work environment 
  • It gives employees a sense of well-being and a sense of purpose

Improving Career Growth

Gaining experience and receiving additional training help you advance up the corporate ladder within the same industry. The career advancement process is divided into two phases, career growth planning, and career management. Career growth planning requires you to map out your career. You, of course, can’t map out your career with 100% certainty, but it allows you to understand where you are going and what is required to achieve your goals.

When we work with our clients, we help them develop what we call The MasterPlan. We have a coaching program called The MasterPlan Acceleration Coaching program, as well as an online light version of the program on StrategyTraining.com, available to Insiders and Legacy members. And we also have The MasterPlan book. All those resources help our clients access a proven process to help them develop their career growth plan. You can download a template from The MasterPlan Acceleration Coaching program here

Even if you do not use any of the resources above (the book, the coaching program, or the StrategyTraining.com advanced strategy and problem-solving training programs), you can still use the downloadable template to help you guide your thinking as you develop your career growth plan. This template was used by many clients who were able to transform their life. During our coaching programs, you also get to witness other clients complete this template and get coaching on various sections, which will give you ideas you may not have considered. 

Now, as you are thinking about your career growth plan, consider what type of career growth is most important to you. The reason I ask you to think about this is because it is one of the saddest things to see when clients spend decades in a certain career, they put tremendous work into it, only to realize that they were pursuing the wrong career. So an essential element of thinking through your career growth plan is understanding what your life’s work is. 

Gaining more clarity on what is your life’s work is one of the critical areas I help clients with. Because without it does it even make sense to work on your career growth plan? What is the point of investing above-average efforts into a plan that will not lead you to live a fulfilling life?

You might as well then enjoy your hobbies and have an average career, and be happy. I know so many people who lost their health, their spouses, and their children because they invested everything they had into a career that wasn’t even aligned with their life’s work or their competitive and comparative advantage, which is another area we speak a lot about as part of the MasterPlan program.

Keys to Successful Career Advancement

Now, what are some of the keys to successful career advancement? 

Make a positive impression – Here, you need to learn how to make a positive impression when dealing with your peers and superiors. You need to be likable.

Are you the kind of guy or lady they would enjoy having a beer with on Friday night?

 

Think of a person you know who makes you feel good about yourself because they never say anything negative. We live in a culture where many things that people find funny are at the expense of someone. Think of someone who is not “two-faced,” not belittling.

How do you feel when you are with those people?

You actually look forward to seeing them.

You may even marry a person like this.

If you are lucky, you know one person that makes you feel amazing. And the rest are on a sliding scale. Think about how you respond to someone who makes you feel good. You are drawn to them, you smile, you are happy, and you feel you can do anything around that person. 

You want to be that person, you want to be a person to whom everyone is drawn to. 

Seek opportunities where others are not looking – You also need to learn to seek opportunities where others are not looking. For example, there may be a rare skill that you have, such as knowing a specific language, which may make you uniquely positioned to work on a particular project. Other people may not be trying to get on that project because they don’t have any advantages related to that project. 

Become a great communicator – Learn to communicate effectively. Again we are coming back to the importance of enhancing your executive presence and communication skills, as key consulting skills that can help you set yourself apart. Specifically, learn to communicate like a partner from a major consulting firm or a senior executive from a large company. 

Here is a video on communication that may be very helpful for you. This video is focused on how to learn to speak as a management consultant. If you have ever spoken to management consultants, you know that consultants speak in a certain way. They tend to speak in a very logical and structured way. They tend to pause at the right places. Consultants speak in a very logical, structured, and professional manner. And this ability to hold a logical and structured conversation is an ability that is a great asset when it comes to career advancement.

You want to make sure you can communicate. If you can’t communicate well but have excellent technical skills, you will likely struggle to get promoted. Consultants are very good at using stories. They are also very good at telling what they read in a newspaper.

It’s, of course, not about being able to recite what someone read in a newspaper. It is about if you can tell the key message in the article, the assumptions underpinning that article, and your thoughts on those assumptions, and your views on what will happen.

Consultants speak in that way. They don’t just recite what they read. They give you their opinions because they are trained to give you their opinions. 

Develop a strong business acumen – You also need to determine a strong business acumen, which we refer to as business judgment. Strong business acumen is, of course, one of the key consulting skills that are required for you to be an outstanding leader and to get promoted. Without strong business acumen, you will not be able to make good decisions. We cover how to build business judgment in detail in our programs. Business judgment becomes more critical as you are moving up to higher and higher levels within your organization. 

 

Become a skillful critical thinker versus a critic – Critical thinking ability is vital for career advancement and one of the most important consulting skills. And one of the essential requirements to be a great critical thinker is business judgment. Everyone already has business judgment. You will do much better when it comes to problem-solving if you learn to apply your judgment instead of ignoring your life experiences when solving problems. You have the ability to interpret things that is unique in the world. 

Now there is a big difference between a critical thinker and a critic. They are not the same.

The critical thinker is doing two things. They are learning as much as they can from what is in front of them, and they are trying to analyze it. There is a difference between analyzing something and finding flaws in it. You can analyze something completely wrong and find useful information within it.

Think of case studies of why things succeeded. If something we analyzed, and it failed, you can learn even more from it. If you follow Partnership. Memoir, an extensive program we have where one of our coaches discusses how he became a partner in his 20s. During the first three years of his career, he had a lot of failures, he got promoted once. During the next three years, he got promoted four times. Not because he was good at analyzing the successes but because he was open to analyzing the failures. 

When you go into any discussion, if your default mode is to find the flaws with whatever the person is saying, then you are not a critical thinker, you are a critic. A critical thinker is not just there to find flaws. A critical thinker is there to understand, to be open to learning, to explore things.

We have a show called The Bill Matassoni Show. Bill was a prominent senior partner at McKinsey and BCG. He was the partner that, along with his colleagues, but he was the architect of this, who led McKinsey’s strategy in the 80s to reposition itself and leap ahead of BCG and Bain. 

Now, how do you know Bill is a critical thinker? Because he doesn’t dismiss people.

We’ve done multiple video shoots with Bill for our StrategyTraining.com library of training, and we watched him talk to contractors on site and really have friendly discussions with them. He wanted to learn what they had to say. Think about it, many senior people look at videographers on set and think, “Well, you are not Steven Spielberg, I have nothing to learn from you,” and ignore them. The critical thinker is trying to understand. The critic is trying to find flaws. 

The Western education system grooms critics because our basis of belief is that if we first find something to be erroneous or flawed, we got to discard it. So our first step is to be critical. Once it passes the critical checklist, we then say, “Okay, let’s learn from it.” 

Here’s the thing. The act of being critical blinds you to learning things from essentially a flawed case study. 

No one likes a critic. Critics are called jerks. If someone goes into a conversation and they are critical and find flaws in their argument, people are going to hate that person. Worse, if they are someone who finds flaws in another’s argument and who cannot control their facial expressions, we’ve all been in discussions with people where not only are they critical because they think they are being smart, but they have a smirk and condescending look on their face.

Make Sure “You’ve Got the Goods” to Be a Successful Leader Before You “Advertise the Goods”

An anonymous poem…

A lion met a tiger
As they drank beside a pool
Said the tiger, “tell me why…
You’re roaring like a fool.”

“That’s not foolish;” said the lion,
with a twinkle in his eyes,
“They call me king of all the beasts
because I advertise!”

A rabbit heard them talking,
and ran home like a streak.
He thought he’d try the lion’s plan,
but his roar was just a squeak.

A fox, who happened on the scene,
had a fine lunch in the woods.

The Moral? When you advertise,
just be sure you’ve got the goods.

We all start our careers with great ambition. We often have the right degrees and the right skills. We believe we will be leaders who command attention and respect. Yet, we all recall that first meeting/workshop/interaction when our ideas were sidelined, or no one wanted to listen to us. We are effectively ignored. We become invisible. Our confidence falls, and we find it harder to muster the courage to speak up.

Sometimes colleagues or clients challenge us by asking progressively harder and harder questions, and we don’t know how to manage the barrage of questions. We don’t know how to communicate and lead when we lack subject matter knowledge. We often respond by trying to become an expert in one area, hoping never to be at a loss for words. This means we are never at a loss for words on one narrow subject, but we never build the skills to speak across all topics. We become specialists and lose out on general management and executive roles.

Eventually, we realize our careers are trapped. We may be stuck in this one role forever.

We respond by working harder and hoping to be smarter to gain respect. Yet, often nothing changes. We meander through our careers, often blaming managers, colleagues, and the company culture for our lack of progress. We sometimes belittle the capabilities of colleagues who may not be as smart but are promoted because they know how to communicate to lead. We often become bitter, and resentment builds.

It does not have to be this for you. You can change this.

You may want to build your professional and personal brand. You want to be better at holding the attention of the room. You want to raise the ceiling of what is possible for you. You want to feel comfortable in your own skin when speaking. You want to be respected, and you want to be influential.

But you need to make sure “you’ve got the goods” to be successful in “advertising the goods.”

You may have ideas that will get meaningful results. I know you do because we teach our clients not only the insights but how to develop insights. But if your “roar” is just a “squeak,” you will not command the attention and respect you deserve, and this will dramatically impact your legacy, your quality of life, the opportunities your family has, your level of influence, and your impact.

You Can’t Be an Influential Leader Without Being Authentic

I want you to be everything that is you, deep at the center of your being.

– Confucius

Authenticity is based on the principle of integrity. It’s about being aligned with what truly matters to us, whether the whole world is watching or if no one is watching.

Because authenticity is becoming more and more popularized, we are becoming more and more numbed to what it actually means and how important it is. It is just something that everyone says, very few people think about, and even fewer people do.

To me, being authentic means knowing what I care about at the core of my being and demanding of myself to act aligned with that authentic core.

We are, of course, talking about life’s work, something we covered in detail during our Why Not Have a Big Life challenge at the beginning of the year, and go to in-depth as part of The MasterPlan Acceleration Coaching Program.

Why do driven people struggle to be authentic?

It’s not because they do not buy into how important it is. It’s not because they don’t want to be authentic. It’s usually because they don’t have clarity on how to align their actions with what matters most to them. And it’s also because they often don’t know what matters most to them.

What I found helpful is to always keep in my mind’s eye the ultimate highest potential version of me (and that version expands over time, by the way) and focus on filling the gap each day.

Understanding I am not perfect but filling that gap as much as I can. Every single day. And that means doing things that I am uncomfortable with until I become comfortable. Like doing interviews, and podcasts, appearing as a guest at events, and reaching out to people I want to meet and work with.

Conclusion

If you would like to develop strong consulting skills and other skills that can help you get promoted and gain massive momentum in your career, email [email protected] describing your objectives and goals, and we will be happy to help you design a training roadmap so you can make the next 12 months count.

We started our Executive Presence, Gravitas & Structured Thinking challenge by keeping your need for being important and superior to others in check. If you missed that post, please read the previous post first. It is foundational. Today I want to focus on the importance of recovering from perpetual procrastination. We will look at why you procrastinate and how to overcome it.

procrastination

Is Perpetual Procrastination Holding You Back?

To build an executive presence, gravitas, and the strong communication skills required for advancement – beyond junior levels where technical skills are enough to get promoted – one big obstacle on your way would likely be perpetual procrastination.

Humans tend to stick with the status quo.

You can speak to people, isn’t it enough?

You worked hard in the past to develop your technical skills. Shouldn’t it be enough for you to keep rising up?

Common Procrastinating Example

I see clients procrastinating working on their executive presence and communication skills because they think their current skillset is good enough to get them where they want to go, only to see their careers stall.

Whether you are working for a large consulting firm, major tech company, global bank, prominent government organization, or building your own company, you are not going to get as far as you can go without first understanding that you need a different skillset at this season of your career.

Define Procrastination

We can define procrastination as choosing to put off doing important things until some later time and instead focusing on smaller, easier tasks that offer immediate gratification.

In our earlier example, people feel comfortable with their technical skillset. It got them where they are now. They may be managing a small team. And they don’t realize that they are starting to hit their limit.

In large organizations, you often see brilliant people with strong technical skills and weak soft skills stuck for decades in mid-level jobs. Yet, seemingly, less talented peers who managed to develop their soft skills are running the place.

Soft Skills Needed for Positions of Influence

Soft skills needed for influential positions and influential work include, but not limited to, getting comfortable speaking in public, doing the work to learn to speak in a way that holds the attention of your colleagues, clients, and superiors, ability to influence even when people don’t have to do what you ask them to do, and finally, building YOUR brand rather than just trying to get by because of your technical skills.

And why haven’t you improve your soft skills sufficiently already?

One, because you don’t know how…

However, you certainly could have figured out someone who could show you the how, if you wanted to, isn’t it?

So, you procrastinated building your soft skills.

Why You Procrastinate

What is the source of procrastination?

It is stress. And as highly driven professionals and business people, we do have a lot of stress.

Procrastination is also a habit. We can break it.

One of the reasons I personally used to procrastinate is I dramatically overcomplicate some of the tasks. I always seek perfection. And the source of seeking perfection is stress.

I would need to make the most of tasks so I would do 100 things on top of what is a minimum, and a task becomes very hard to manage for ANYBODY, including myself, the architect.

You may be doing so as well.

Let me give you an example. Early on, as we were building FIRMSconsulting, I would be doing editing of the programs, to keep our costs low. Now I am still involved, but not to the same degree. When I was very involved, I would not just do simple editing. If we had 5 takes, I would go on a journey trying to extract all pieces of value out of various takes and piece them together as if it was one episode. In the end, our clients got a lot more value because they got multiple examples and multiple ways of explaining difficult topics. But it was a nightmare to manage. I had to remember everything that was said in 5 takes and piece them together in a way that would seem like a consistent episode while as much as possible, avoiding repeating things.

I could not outsource this work to anyone because it required such a high level of skill, concentration, and downright punishing hard work.

What do you think was the result of this?

First, I hated the work. It would make me very tired, and I would struggle to do other work that had to be done.

Second, it took me a lot longer to finish the work versus if I kept it simple.

If you tend to procrastinate, there are ways to improve your productivity.

The key thing to realize is that the source of procrastination is stress.

The task is stressing you out.

You want to do it perfectly because it is IMPORTANT. So, as a result, you are delaying starting to work on it.

For example, you probably realize that people who run your organization or major clients you want to serve seem to possess advanced levels of executive presence, gravitas, and communications skills. You know you need to be at their level to be considered a peer. So why haven’t you figured out a way yet to be at their level?

Procrastinators are addicted to immediate results. They focus on the now. This need for immediate results makes them procrastinate. We tend to fill in our days with tasks that are right in front of us. It is like eating a lot of bread and butter before lunch and leaving no room for actual nutritious food.

Procrastinators rarely are lazy. It is not uncommon for procrastinators to be workaholics. They are actually doing marginally useful things like answering emails, cleaning their email inbox, and checking their email multiple times (giving themselves an excuse that this allows for better client support).

What procrastinators are very bad at is engaging in the most important activities.

What Can You Do to Stop Procrastinating

1. I know it may sound strange, but the way you can motivate yourself to do important tasks is by having something even more important and difficult to do. If you are always avoiding the most difficult task, create even more difficult tasks to avoid. Then the tasks you actually need to do will more likely get done as in your mind they no longer will be that much of a burden.

So, for example, given you know you need to build your executive presence and communication skills for you to build your professional brand and advance, find other things that are much harder to do in your mind. You don’t need to share it with anyone. It can be something like a trip to Antarctica because you always wanted to join the Antarctica Swimmers Club.

2. Eliminate or delegate unnecessary tasks from your life.

3. Schedule how long your tasks can take. Otherwise, because of Parkinson’s law (Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion), the other tasks will expand and take over your day.

4. I found it helpful to work in what I call 25 minutes pomodoros (referring to the Pomodoro time management technique). It allows me to keep being reminded if I am focusing on the right things since I have to reevaluate my focus area once the alarm goes off I take a 5 minutes break and then evaluate what I should focus on before I start the next 25 minutes piece. And if I get into the flow, I turn off the alarm.

Conclusion

What I shared today should be enough for you to start creating some serious cracks in your procrastination habit so you can tower over it and get rid of it for good. And so we can focus on helping you develop the next portfolio of skills you need to go from individual contributor or a person who is managing a small team to being an influential leader.

Summary: How to test if you are arrogant, what arrogance does to your career and life, and how to stop being arrogant and fearful.

This post starts a series of posts to help you elevate your level of executive presence, influence, gravitas, confidence, and communication skills. In this first post, as part of this challenge, we would like to start off with a discussion about dealing with one of the qualities that rob people of the ability to influence and have a genuine connection with people required for effective communication. The idea to start from this insight originated from our recent results clinic for the MasterPlan Acceleration Coaching ProgramAnd you probably guessed already what it is. We are starting our challenge by talking about arrogance and the damage to people’s lives when they are primarily driven by this need for being superior to others.

Pride goeth before a fall.” proverb

Dealing with Arrogance

Arrogance Definition and Meaning

Of course, when we speak about arrogance, we are not talking about the pride you feel when you accomplish something hard or the pride you feel about your friend has mastered some new skill.

The meaning of arrogance is an attitude of superiority. It is manifested in an offensive display of superiority and overbearing manner and claims.

An arrogant person exaggerates their self-importance and shows an offensive attitude of superiority toward other people.

5 Actions Commonly Taken by Arrogant People

When we are talking about arrogance, we are talking about the kind of pride that makes people…

– Not ask for help at the risk of appearing inferior. They want to always appear as if they have everything figured out (even though it suffocates their ability to learn and improve)
– Believe they have already achieved enough, and they are entitled to certain things
– Think they should not start something new at the risk of looking inferior in some way (imagine the damage this causes to their life)
– Have a shark’s (vs. dolphin’s) view of the world: believing they can only win if others lose. The pie is only that big. They want all of it or as much as possible of it, and they want to leave others with nothing or with as little as they can get away with.
– Believe they have to be better than others, at any cost. That their success is determined by being better, more successful than others. Even if to achieve this, they work for an inferior (in their own eyes) firm, doing insignificant (in their own eyes) work, when they have opportunities and potential to make an impact on a global scale.

Arrogance Versus Confidence

MBA programs around the world teach you you have to be supremely confident, almost arrogant. It’s all a little bit misleading. Arrogance and confidence are not the same. Confidence refers to the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something, the feeling of certainty about the truth of something. For example, about your ability to figure things out.

We put out a thought-provoking episode on this, which you can find below.

4 Questions to Test If You are Arrogant

Here are ways to test if you allowing arrogance, your need for being superior to others, to drive your life:

  • More often than you are willing to admit, even to yourself, you put others down to build yourself up. This includes doing this behind their back. Most people do this daily.

  • You secretly feel happy when someone who you believed is more successful than you fails.

  • You feel jealous and/or angry when someone succeeds.

  • You think you can only win if others lose. You are not looking for win-win outcomes.

Keeping Your Ego Within the Bounds of Humility

Many of us have to keep our egos in check. Your ego is both a valuable asset and a potential major liability that can bring your life to ruin.

To make sure you keep it as a valuable asset, you need to keep it within the bounds of humility.

Then it allows for high performance, healthy confidence, and an elevated level of gravitas.

On the other hand, ego without humility becomes pride and turns from superpower to kryptonite.

An Example of Arrogant Behaviour in Clients

I have seen it so many times: in co-workers, acquaintances, coaches I learned from, leaders, and clients.

A typical example I used to see quite often – I see it a lot less now as we became much better at selecting clients to work with – is we would help a client accomplish something they would not be able to accomplish without our help, and you would see them abruptly changing right before your eyes when they think they’ve got everything they wanted from us.

They would get consumed with arrogance and pride, become rude and disrespectful, and start acting and communicating as if they accomplished their goal without our help. They would become entitled. They would make the strategic mistake of breaking bonds with the people who helped them become successful.

Self-confidence becomes entitlement and being self-absorbed. Courage becomes reckless and damaging to all around.

The usual scenario would be such clients would abruptly stop being a client because they would think they don’t need us anymore. They would leave in a way that would leave a very bad impression (on my team and me), and a year or two later, they would be coming back asking for urgent help, sometimes hiding under a different name because of ego (This is a common true story. For example, a former client was writing from one of his email addresses under a different name assuming I did not remember that it was one of the email addresses he used to communicate with earlier).

That behavior is, of course, hurtful primarily for those clients.

If anything, it helped us identify common red flags in prospective clients and made us better at selecting people to work with in a way that doesn’t introduce drama to my life and the lives of my team members.

People with very strong values don’t change into sharks overnight. Those are sharks standing on toes, pretending to be dolphins.

And removing the mask once they feel they don’t need anything from you anymore is what they routinely do. Not just with us. With everyone.

Looking Down on People is Not Something Well Tolerated by Life

When people are in a place of being driven primarily by the need to be better than others, only they can pull themselves out of it, or life will do it for them in short order.

Looking down on people is not something well tolerated by life. It is corrected in a timely manner. And it is corrected harshly. I do not want you to ever experience the type of corrections I observed happening to people when their nose is too high, and the corners of the mouth are too low.

5 Ways to Deal with Arrogance

So how can you STOP allowing arrogance, that need to be better than others, and wanting to show you are better than others by putting people down to drive your life?

To keep arrogance, your ego in check, always demand humility from yourself. And do the opposite:

  • Instead of being afraid to appear inferior, lean into being brave and doing what you know must be done. For example, if you need to learn a skill, get someone who possesses the skill you want to develop and learn from them. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions. Understand that pursuit of mastery is more important than the minor embarrassment of not being perfectly perfect in every respect.

  • Instead of blaming others for how you feel or circumstances, take ownership. What was your part in it?

  • Instead of being jealous of others’ success, encourage and celebrate others’ success. Feel genuinely happy for others.

  • Instead of basking in all your achievements and feeling entitled, demand much more of yourself and give credit to those who helped you get there.

  • Instead of focusing on doing things for money or for prestige, make money but focus on contribution, on the amount of value you add in exchange for money.

Where Arrogance Comes From

The need for arrogance, for being superior to others, comes with fear of not being enough.

Unresolved fear cripples achievement.

And what you need to overcome fear is high purpose.

The need to feel important is one of the human needs. But when it is a predominant need, it is very damaging to a person’s life and the lives of people around.

If you are driven primarily by the need to be more important than other people, you would go to great lengths to always appear superior. You would avoid any group where you would not be able to appear superior. Your learning will be cripled.

Do Not Allow Yourself to Get Stuck in the Past

Now, even if you feel that you allowed arrogance and pride to play a bigger role in your life than you should have, staying in the past would just suffocate your potential. So let it go. We all make mistakes.

Going forward, what you need is a powerful mix of personal humility and professional will, discipline, and focus.

Healthy Way to See Wins and Failures

What I feel helped me a lot in my journey is to see every win as something where while my input was helpful and crucially important, the success also occurred because of some level of luck (things always could have gone much worse) and the right mindset.

And to see failures as something where I had to learn from it, that it was happening for me to help me down the road, so I could develop some skill, meet a person I needed to meet, for me to accomplish what I have to accomplish along my journey.

So taking responsibility for failures and taking advantage of failures (seeing opportunities in failures), but not taking all the credit for success.

In fact, I so deeply believe the point that a lot had to go right for me to be where I am today that I would not trade and go back and be 20 years old again. Even though, for a record, I don’t think anyone would have called me lucky if they could watch my life as a movie.

So why would I not go back if I wasn’t lucky?

First of all, I don’t want to suffer as much as I did to build myself from the ground up again. It was so tough. I often had no money for food. Barely surviving and working at nearly 100% capacity for most of my life required, and still requires, tremendous sacrifice and discipline. You can read my story here.

I still work very hard, but at least now I have a base from which to build. I have a team. I have an established business. I don’t need to worry about meeting basic human needs like the need for food and shelter.

And secondly, so many things could have gone terribly wrong.

Yes, I wasn’t lucky, but a lot could have gone much worse than it did.

So I am not going to bask in pride. But instead, I will focus on feeling grateful for every circumstance that assisted me in making my current reality possible.

The Abundance Mindset Versus the Scarcity Mindset

It is about the abundance mindset versus the scarcity mindset.

Collaborative versus divisive mindset.

Gratitude for everything that could have gone wrong, but didn’t, instead of making excuses.

The first step to ensuring the success of your career and life is to instill or enhance your abundance mindset.

Imagine an image with various versions of you. On the left, you have you, with no confidence and extremely depressed. On the right, you have you consumed with pride, looking down at everyone. The one in the center is a happy and confident person, living life with humility, purpose, and impact.

It is along the path to a meaningful goal that we get to become that person.

“To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been
their finest hour.”

Winston Churchill

FINALLY: A CHANCE TO DISCOVER EXACTLY WHAT KRIS AND MICHAEL ONLY REVEAL TO OUR HIGHEST PAYING CLIENTS IN PRIVATE TO HELP THEM COMMAND ATTENTION AND RESPECT? NOW YOU CAN…

VIP level (6 months + additional access / 6 x 55-minute video deep dive 1:1 coaching sessions). The special price (conditions apply) is $14,995. Apply for VIP Now.

Recommended add-on: Optional highly recommended add-on (6 additional 1:1 55-minute deep dive video sessions with Kris). This, in combination with the base VIP participation, allows for 2 x 1:1s per month. Changing the way you have spoken your entire life is a lot of work so this additional time will help us go more in-depth in enhancing the way you speak, changing the way you come across, and elevating your level of confidence. Some additional exercises will also be provided for you to do between the sessions to further amplify the results of the training. Add-on cost: $5,997. Add this add-on.

Elite level (3 months of access). Special price (conditions apply $5,997): Apply for Elite Now.

Installment options are available (outlined below).

About Communication & Executive Presence program

Oral communication was listed as the #1-rated skill for consulting, healthcare/pharmaceuticals, technology, products/services, and nonprofit/government. It is an essential skill to not be ignored.

We will be sharing unique FIRMSconsulting approaches on how you can dramatically improve the way you speak and come across, and the way you feel when you are speaking.

This program will show you how your voice, confidence, level of influence, and persuasion CAN be transformed beyond what you thought was possible, beyond what people around you thought was possible. The program is focused on helping you communicate with confidence, and influence, be able to hold the attention of clients and colleagues, and dramatically elevate your executive presence.

What Michael will teach?

Would you like to know the principles to communicate as Michael does?

  • Do you know Michael rarely prepares his episode material in advance for the thousands of videos on StrategyTraining.com? He speaks from memory and uses his own techniques to build a compelling argument.
  • In the podcasts, with some of the top business thinkers in the world – Tim Koller, Ram Charan, Gary Hamel, etc. –  Michael manages the discussion with no notes and often no preparation. We receive consistent feedback from top executives in the world that it was the best interview they ever had or the best they had in a long time. How can he hold so many high-level discussions daily on such a wide variety of topics? We use an underlying set of principles to manage the conversation, that we will teach.
  • Many of you have seen Michael do this during results coaching clinics that run up to 2.5 hours. He is able to keep a conversation moving toward creating value.
  • If you have watched TCO 1, you will see Michael allow the candidates to ask him a question to which he could not possibly know the answer, and to which he was not warned. Yet, he always delivers a deep insight in his response. We will teach you that underlying technique.
  • If you have followed the new programs on proposals, exclusive to Legacy members, you will see how we manage meetings to lead to sales. Michael will teach the underlying principles he uses to turn a general meeting into one where a consulting sale is closed.
  • Imagine you are in a meeting, and you don’t know what to say. How do you say something that is insightful but positions you as someone to be respected and listened to?
  • How do you manage a discussion where you couldn’t possibly know the answer to any of the questions being posed to you? Michael is a master at this and will teach you the core principles he uses.
  • For the skills above, we will primarily teach this to VIPs but some elements will be covered for the Elite level.

In Level 1, Michael will introduce the critical points to be able to articulately speak as above. He uses a set of structuring tools and principles that we will teach.

I will teach you how to speak to hold attention, and Michael will teach you what to say to hold attention. A powerful combination.

There are skills you CAN’T outsource. You can’t delegate it. You can’t decide NOT to develop those skills.

Those skills are;
#1 – Ability to speak.
#2 – Ability to write.
#3 – Ability to think.

This program covers #1 IN DEPTH. And will help you improve #2 and #3 (most of the training here in The Masterplan Program, The Consulting Sales Rainmaker Program, and Insider & Legacy).

Who is right for this program?

This program is for you if any of the below are applicable:

  • You know you could be a better speaker.
  • You tend to be ignored in meetings.
  • You don’t feel comfortable speaking to people.
  • You don’t feel you present yourself in the best way when speaking to people.
  • You know you can do big things in your career and business if you can speak with confidence and command people’s attention.
  • You are willing to work with us to help you find the voice you did not even know you had.
  • You are aware that oral communication was rated the #1 skill for consulting and many other industries, and you are willing to trust the decades-proven method to help you dramatically improve your speaking skills and the level of executive presence.
  • You also understand that learning how to command attention and respect, finding your voice, and developing strong communication skills and an influential level of executive presence takes time. And you are willing to put in an honest effort and work with us to help you get results.

A unique 4-part structure

THANK YOU to our FC Insiders for Your Feedback!

You asked to introduce focused career coaching programs. You asked for mentorship opportunities.

We listened.

Here’s the 4-part structure we’re going to use to make the Communication & Executive Presence coaching even BETTER than any one-on-one program we ever offered …

PART 1 – LIVE SMALL PRIVATE GROUP COACHING SESSIONS (SPG) DURING THE 1ST, 2ND, AND 3RD WEEK OF THE MONTH

  • We also call these results clinics.
  • Exclusively for C&EP Members.
  • Guaranteed personalized attention from Michael/Kris.
  • Interactive SPG/touch-point with Michael/Kris, giving individual feedback to participants as they progress through the critical path outlined in the training program, with a goal of progressing towards their goal.
    • You will complete steps of the critical path leading to your goal.
    • We review your progress/material submitted/your questions during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd week of the month, and provide personalized feedback.
    • You have an opportunity to get your most critical question answered during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd week of the month.
    • If you are stuck with implementing the steps in the program, you can get guidance in the SPG.
    • You can call in from a hotel room, airport lounge, or your home office. We will select a time that is the best compromise for the whole group.
    • Regular SPG calls allow you to have consistent feedback as you are progressing through the critical path outlined in the training program.
  • Can’t attend some sessions live? Submit your questions to review, we’ll answer them during the results clinic session and you’ll get our feedback in the VIDEO REPLAY.
  • Watch us mentor other participants, and learn from them and alongside them.
    • You will see the feedback we offer them and see the progress they make.
    • You are not just learning from your feedback, but from all the members on the call – shorten your learning curve.
    • This is of greater value than you may realize and real breakthroughs often come from an idea triggered by listening to feedback for another participant.
  • Troubleshoot your most pressing communication and executive presence development issues and goals.
  • Ensuring participants do not get stuck or stagnate. Clients said they need bi-weekly or at least monthly interaction with us to use our formidable tools and methodologies to help them maximize the results they can achieve. The duration of the sessions depends on what participants need. We schedule 1 hour but it is not uncommon for sessions to be around 1.5 to 2 hours long.

What are the Dates?

You tell US!

Vote on time and day of the week options. Approximately Saturday or Sunday 3pm PST on most weeks, so you can take the call in private and without stress. We will pick the best compromise time for everyone, including Michael.

$36,000 VALUE for VIP and $18,000 VALUE for Elite. Tuition fee for this program? See below

PART 2 – COMMUNICATION & EXECUTIVE PRESENCE TRAINING SERIES EXPLAINING THE ENTIRE TRANSFORMATION CRITICAL PATH PROCESS. REPLAYS.

  • Communication & Executive Presence transformation critical path taught as training lessons.
    • This communication & executive presence approach/method/steps can be applied to all careers from strategy to operations, to digital, to start-ups, to government. While we are known for helping clients become senior rainmakers in consulting. Our executive coaching clients very successfully applied our approaches outside of consulting.
  • A clear outcome. Transforming the way YOU speak so you can start gaining momentum in your career and command attention and respect.
  • Complete your work for each step and use small private group coaching sessions (results clinics) and 1:1s to accelerate your progress and results.
  • Additional 9 months of access to the training series and replays of all small private group coaching sessions after the coaching program ends, in case you need a refresher.

$17,000 VIPs/$9,000 Elite. VALUE. Tuition fee for this program? See below

PART 3 – ONE-ON-ONE STRATEGY SESSION WITH KRIS

  • Elite: 1 x 50-minute strategy session with Kris.
  • VIP: monthly 50-minute deep dive practice and strategy call with Kris (6 x 50-minutes strategy practice/strategy sessions during the duration of the program). An optional add-on with an additional 6 sessions package is strongly recommended.

$6,000 VALUE for VIP and $1,000 VALUE for Elite (without add-ons). Tuition fee for this program? See below

PART 4 – CRITICAL PATH DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES

  • Critical path downloadable resources to help you work through the program effectively.

$3,000. VALUE. Tuition fee for this program? See below

PART 5 – MONTHLY IMPLEMENTATION SESSIONS (VIPs ONLY)

  • Exclusively for C&EP VIP Members.
  • Monthly Implementation sessions during the 4th week of the month.

$12,000 VALUE for VIP. Tuition fee for this program? See below

SUMMARY

180 Days (VIP)/90 Days (Elite) of Personal Mentorship with Michael/Kris to help you transform your career.

(1) LIVE SMALL PRIVATE GROUP COACHING SESSIONS (SPG)/RESULTS CLINICS

(2) 6-MONTHS PROGRAM SHOWING THE CRITICAL PATH FOR THE CAREER TRANSFORMATION PROCESS

(3) ONE-ON-ONE STRATEGY SESSION(S) WITH KRIS (monthly 1 x 50-minute deep dive strategy call for VIPs (plus optional add-on at an extra fee for additional 6 sessions is recommended)/one 1 50-minutes session for Elite)

(4) DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES

(5) MONTHLY IMPLEMENTATION SESSIONS (VIPs ONLY)

Like-Minded Community & Support

… To help you get even Bigger Results and Faster Results…

THE COMMUNICATION & EXECUTIVE PRESENCE MENTORSHIP PATHWAY

Small Private Group Coaching Sessions/Career Clinics ($36,000 VIP/$18,000 Elite)

Training Program of the Entire Career Transformation Process ($17,000 VIPs/9,000 Elite)

One-on-one strategy session(s) with Kris ($6,000 – six 50-minutes strategy sessions – VIP)/$1,000 – one 50-minutes strategy session – Elite)

Monthly VIP Implementation sessions ($12,000 VIP only)

PLUS!

Exclusive Community (Priceless! At least $2,000)

Downloadable Resources ($3,000)

TOTAL VALUE

$76,000/$33,000.00. Tuition fee for this program? See below

We are creating 2 levels to make the program more accessible. Pricing:

Apply for VIP: 6 months of access to coaching and guidance plus deep dive one-on-one coaching (monthly 50-minute deep dive strategy call during the duration of the program. Optional add-on at an extra fee for another 6 sessions is strongly recommended). We are offering a special price for clients who are willing to support us with a video testimonial if they find the program valuable. And if you pay upfront there are additional savings. The upfront price under this special condition, without the add-on, for VIP is $14,995. Add-on for additional 6 x 50-minutes sessions (highly recommended): $6,000. Apply for VIP Now.

Recommended add-on: Optional highly recommended add-on (6 additional 1:1 55-minute deep dive video sessions with Kris). This, in combination with the base VIP participation, allows for 2 x 1:1s per month. Changing the way you have spoken your entire life is a lot of work so this additional time will help us go more in-depth in enhancing the way you speak, changing the way you come across and elevating your level of confidence. Some additional exercises will also be provided for you to do between the sessions to further amplify the results of the training. Add-on cost: $5,997. Add this add-on.

An installment option for the base fee is also available (below).

Installment options for VIP:

Option 1:

Payment of $4,995 this week.

AND

6 payments of $1,995 by 10th of each month during 6 months period.

Option 2:

Payment of $2,995 this week.

AND

6 payments of $2,450 by 10th of each month during the 6 months period.

To apply for VIP with an installment plan complete the application here and then once you are on the payment page use the link above to make a payment using an installment option of your choice. If you select the installment plan the system will bill you as per installment schedule.

Apply for Elite: 3 months of access to coaching and guidance as described above. We are offering a special price for clients who are willing to support us with a video testimonial if they find the program valuable. And if you pay upfront there are additional savings. The upfront price under this special condition for Elite is $5,995. However installment option is also available (below). Apply for Elite Now.

Recommended add-on: Optional highly recommended add-on (6 additional 1:1 55-minute deep dive video sessions with Kris). This, in combination with Elite, allows for 2 x 1:1s per month over 3 months period, plus one extra session. Changing the way you have spoken your entire life is a lot of work, so this additional time will help us go more in-depth in enhancing the way you speak, changing the way you come across, and elevating your level of confidence. Some additional exercises will also be provided for you to do between the sessions to further amplify the results of the training. Add-on cost: $5,997. Add this highly recommended add-on.

Installment option for Elite:

Option 1:

Payment of $1,995 this week.

AND

3 payments of $1,650 by 10th of each month during 3 months period.

To apply for Elite with an installment plan complete the application here and then once you are on the payment page use the link above to make a payment using an installment option.

We are filling in the remaining seats now. If you are inclined to embark on this journey apply above. If you have any questions email [email protected]

Terms and conditions apply. If for any reason the seat can’t be allocated, we will initiate the refund within 3 business days.

Consulting Skills as a Competitive Advantage

Developing strong consulting skills such as the ability to communicate in a way that holds the attention of the room, the ability to solve complex problems in a structured and effective way, and the ability to build a peer-level relationship with the most senior executives of major companies. Developing strong consulting skills can be the competitive advantage that will allow you rise above the average and gain the momentum, respect, and opportunities you want.

Not everyone working for major consulting firms have strong consulting skills. Similarly, you can develop strong consulting skills without ever working for a major consulting firm.

In this post we are going to explore how to achieve career advancement from manager and above, and how to use consulting skills to help you achieve career growth.

What is Career Advancement?

Career advancement refers to the upward trajectory of someone’s career. Top professionals know the importance of professional and personal development. For anyone in the corporate world having a secure job to go to each week is important, but it is not enough. Humans crave progress.

If we do not grow, we degrade. We do not stay still. Our skills deteriorate. 

So the opportunity for career advancement is one of the most essential elements for people to feel a sense of well-being and job satisfaction. Opportunities for career growth are a powerful employee motivator. That’s why it makes good business sense for companies to ensure their employees are clear on their career growth plans and career growth opportunities.

Differences Between Advancing as a Junior Employee vs. Manager and Above. How Developing Consulting Skills Can Help

When someone is a junior employee, career advancement is usually more straightforward. Do a great job for your superiors, make them look good, and develop a strong technical skill-set, and you will have growth in your career. 

As you continue advancing in your career and moving to more senior levels, however, you will notice that your technical skills are becoming less and less critical to get the next promotion. What becomes essential are your soft skills. 

  • Can you convince and motivate people to do the work they do not want to do? 
  • Can you effectively lead people? 
  • Are you able to get people together that do not want to work together?
  • What is your level of influence within your organization?

Developing strong consulting skills means developing strong soft skills. You can’t be a successful consultant without the ability to communicate well, without the ability to have a lot of executive presence during your meetings with clients, and without the ability to build a long-term relationship with your clients.

Qualities of an Exceptional Leader

There are many qualities that exceptional leaders need to possess. If you look back at the best boss you ever had, what qualities immediately come to mind? Generally, the qualities of exceptional leaders include the following:

Integrity – Great leaders have integrity. If they promised you something, they keep their word. If you told them something in confidence, they keep it confidential. They do not go and cut corners to get some quick revenue or earn a favor. An exceptional leader would also not do unethical and illegal things for clients to keep big clients happy. They understand they set an example, and they take their role very seriously. 

Gratitude – You feel that your input is meaningful and sincerely appreciated. When you go above and beyond, it is noticed and acknowledged and ultimately rewarded.

Growth mindset – exceptional leaders have a growth mindset. They believe that you can improve if you put enough work into it. They give you opportunities to grow instead of locking you into a dead-end job. They create growth opportunities for their team because they believe that humans can grow and develop powerful skills. 

Influence – Great leaders are able to connect with others. They can be a connecting tissue that brings together stakeholders who are not interested in speaking to each other. They have a high level of influence within the organization and with clients.

Empathy – Great leaders have empathy. They understand that their team members are only human and can make mistakes. As long as they see the mistake was made not out of malicious intent, they help their team members recover from mistakes. They empower instead of push down. They support instead of humiliating. 

Self-Awareness – Great leaders also have a high level of self-awareness. You do not find them losing it and screaming at a client or their team members. They are calm, collected, professional, and focused a lot of the time. They are, of course, only human and, at times, may become anxious or angry, but because of their high level of self-awareness, they remain very professional at all times. 

Excellent communication – As we have mentioned earlier, excellent communication is one of the key consulting skills that can help you transform your career. Exceptional leaders are great communicators. They are able to hold the attention of the room. They are able to connect with their audience, be it one person or 100 people. They speak from their heart and are able to move people to action. 

Great at delegation – Great leaders understand that they can’t do everything on their own. They are great at delegation. They grow and develop strong teams under them. They do not hesitate to train people under them because they understand that it is best for the organization, the best for clients, and it is the only way that they can ever be promoted. They start succession planning early.

Tips for Career Advancement

Career advancement within the same organization may be the result of gaining work experience and potentially completing additional advanced training. There are some things to keep in mind as you are planning out your career advancement plan.

Start from maintaining very good health. Health is the most important asset you have. Without it, you do not have anything. So always pay attention to your health. As driven professionals, we often do not take sufficient care of our health early in our career, only to pay for it a way too big of a price later on. It is essential to pay attention to protecting your health from the start or as soon as you can. 

Build your skillset. Many business professionals stop developing their skills beyond what they learn on the job. Years go by, and they start to wonder what happened. Why has their career stalled? We live in a very competitive world, especially if you look at countries like the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. While in some developing countries, you can get away with being average and still have a great career because there is such a massive lack of skills, in developed countries, you compete with the best people from all over the world. If you do not invest in your skills beyond what average performers do, then you will likely have average results. 

Work on your confidence. If you do not come across as someone who believes in their abilities, other people will also not believe you have what it takes to be a leader. So it is crucial to work on your confidence. When it comes to confidence, what you need to remember is what matters is your belief in your ability to figure things out. It is as simple as that. As long as you believe that you will find the way to make things work, that you will figure things out, that is what is required to have a sufficient level of confidence. So, as you can see, it is quite simple and manageable. 

Work on your communication skills. Another essential and powerful way to build confidence is by working on your communication and executive presence skills. We have a powerful program for our clients on developing executive presence and communication skills and a number of resources, including a video below. 

The Benefits of a Career Advancement

Organizations shouldn’t minimize the importance of supporting their employees’ career advancement. When companies do not pay attention to career growth opportunities for their employees, they undermine morale and productivity and end up with a high turnover. This is how companies or specific divisions within companies end up having to deal with a problem of a revolving door, where most employees leave as soon as they can, taking all the knowledge and experience with them, sometimes taking it to competitors. 

Here are some benefits of career advancement and career progression:

  • It results in lower turnover
  • It results in higher job satisfaction
  • It reduces stress and missed work days due to illness
  • It boosts productivity
  • It increases engagement within the team
  • It creates a positive work environment versus a toxic work environment 
  • It gives employees a sense of well-being and a sense of purpose

Improving Career Growth

Gaining experience and receiving additional training help you advance up the corporate ladder within the same industry. The career advancement process is divided into two phases, career growth planning, and career management. Career growth planning requires you to map out your career. You, of course, can’t map out your career with 100% certainty, but it allows you to understand where you are going and what is required to achieve your goals.

When we work with our clients, we help them develop what we call The MasterPlan. We have a coaching program called The MasterPlan Acceleration Coaching program, as well as an online light version of the program on StrategyTraining.com, available to Insiders and Legacy members. And we also have The MasterPlan book. All those resources help our clients access a proven process to help them develop their career growth plan. You can download a template from The MasterPlan Acceleration Coaching program here

Even if you do not use any of the resources above (the book, the coaching program, or the StrategyTraining.com advanced strategy and problem-solving training programs), you can still use the downloadable template to help you guide your thinking as you develop your career growth plan. This template was used by many clients who were able to transform their life. During our coaching programs, you also get to witness other clients complete this template and get coaching on various sections, which will give you ideas you may not have considered. 

Now, as you are thinking about your career growth plan, consider what type of career growth is most important to you. The reason I ask you to think about this is because it is one of the saddest things to see when clients spend decades in a certain career, they put tremendous work into it, only to realize that they were pursuing the wrong career. So an essential element of thinking through your career growth plan is understanding what your life’s work is. 

Gaining more clarity on what is your life’s work is one of the critical areas I help clients with. Because without it does it even make sense to work on your career growth plan? What is the point of investing above-average efforts into a plan that will not lead you to live a fulfilling life?

You might as well then enjoy your hobbies and have an average career, and be happy. I know so many people who lost their health, their spouses, and their children because they invested everything they had into a career that wasn’t even aligned with their life’s work or their competitive and comparative advantage, which is another area we speak a lot about as part of the MasterPlan program.

Keys to Successful Career Advancement

Now, what are some of the keys to successful career advancement? 

Make a positive impression – Here, you need to learn how to make a positive impression when dealing with your peers and superiors. You need to be likable.

Are you the kind of guy or lady they would enjoy having a beer with on Friday night?

 

Think of a person you know who makes you feel good about yourself because they never say anything negative. We live in a culture where many things that people find funny are at the expense of someone. Think of someone who is not “two-faced,” not belittling.

How do you feel when you are with those people?

You actually look forward to seeing them.

You may even marry a person like this.

If you are lucky, you know one person that makes you feel amazing. And the rest are on a sliding scale. Think about how you respond to someone who makes you feel good. You are drawn to them, you smile, you are happy, and you feel you can do anything around that person. 

You want to be that person, you want to be a person to whom everyone is drawn to. 

Seek opportunities where others are not looking – You also need to learn to seek opportunities where others are not looking. For example, there may be a rare skill that you have, such as knowing a specific language, which may make you uniquely positioned to work on a particular project. Other people may not be trying to get on that project because they don’t have any advantages related to that project. 

Become a great communicator – Learn to communicate effectively. Again we are coming back to the importance of enhancing your executive presence and communication skills, as key consulting skills that can help you set yourself apart. Specifically, learn to communicate like a partner from a major consulting firm or a senior executive from a large company. 

Here is a video on communication that may be very helpful for you. This video is focused on how to learn to speak as a management consultant. If you have ever spoken to management consultants, you know that consultants speak in a certain way. They tend to speak in a very logical and structured way. They tend to pause at the right places. Consultants speak in a very logical, structured, and professional manner. And this ability to hold a logical and structured conversation is an ability that is a great asset when it comes to career advancement.

You want to make sure you can communicate. If you can’t communicate well but have excellent technical skills, you will likely struggle to get promoted. Consultants are very good at using stories. They are also very good at telling what they read in a newspaper.

It’s, of course, not about being able to recite what someone read in a newspaper. It is about if you can tell the key message in the article, the assumptions underpinning that article, and your thoughts on those assumptions, and your views on what will happen.

Consultants speak in that way. They don’t just recite what they read. They give you their opinions because they are trained to give you their opinions. 

Develop a strong business acumen – You also need to determine a strong business acumen, which we refer to as business judgment. Strong business acumen is, of course, one of the key consulting skills that are required for you to be an outstanding leader and to get promoted. Without strong business acumen, you will not be able to make good decisions. We cover how to build business judgment in detail in our programs. Business judgment becomes more critical as you are moving up to higher and higher levels within your organization. 

 

Become a skillful critical thinker versus a critic – Critical thinking ability is vital for career advancement and one of the most important consulting skills. And one of the essential requirements to be a great critical thinker is business judgment. Everyone already has business judgment. You will do much better when it comes to problem-solving if you learn to apply your judgment instead of ignoring your life experiences when solving problems. You have the ability to interpret things that is unique in the world. 

Now there is a big difference between a critical thinker and a critic. They are not the same.

The critical thinker is doing two things. They are learning as much as they can from what is in front of them, and they are trying to analyze it. There is a difference between analyzing something and finding flaws in it. You can analyze something completely wrong and find useful information within it.

Think of case studies of why things succeeded. If something we analyzed, and it failed, you can learn even more from it. If you follow Partnership. Memoir, an extensive program we have where one of our coaches discusses how he became a partner in his 20s. During the first three years of his career, he had a lot of failures, he got promoted once. During the next three years, he got promoted four times. Not because he was good at analyzing the successes but because he was open to analyzing the failures. 

When you go into any discussion, if your default mode is to find the flaws with whatever the person is saying, then you are not a critical thinker, you are a critic. A critical thinker is not just there to find flaws. A critical thinker is there to understand, to be open to learning, to explore things.

We have a show called The Bill Matassoni Show. Bill was a prominent senior partner at McKinsey and BCG. He was the partner that, along with his colleagues, but he was the architect of this, who led McKinsey’s strategy in the 80s to reposition itself and leap ahead of BCG and Bain. 

Now, how do you know Bill is a critical thinker? Because he doesn’t dismiss people.

We’ve done multiple video shoots with Bill for our StrategyTraining.com library of training, and we watched him talk to contractors on site and really have friendly discussions with them. He wanted to learn what they had to say. Think about it, many senior people look at videographers on set and think, “Well, you are not Steven Spielberg, I have nothing to learn from you,” and ignore them. The critical thinker is trying to understand. The critic is trying to find flaws. 

The Western education system grooms critics because our basis of belief is that if we first find something to be erroneous or flawed, we got to discard it. So our first step is to be critical. Once it passes the critical checklist, we then say, “Okay, let’s learn from it.” 

Here’s the thing. The act of being critical blinds you to learning things from essentially a flawed case study. 

No one likes a critic. Critics are called jerks. If someone goes into a conversation and they are critical and find flaws in their argument, people are going to hate that person. Worse, if they are someone who finds flaws in another’s argument and who cannot control their facial expressions, we’ve all been in discussions with people where not only are they critical because they think they are being smart, but they have a smirk and condescending look on their face.

Conclusion

If you would like to develop strong consulting skills and other skills that can help you get promoted and gain massive momentum in your career, email [email protected] describing your objectives and goals, and we will be happy to help you design a training roadmap so you can make the next 12 months count.

If you’re trying to find your life purpose, the central motivating aims of your life, and to find better ways to manage your time and be more productive, there’s an exercise that will help you determine what motivates you. Discovering the core of what drives you, what motivates you to do things will be a much more powerful tool than any time management technique or productivity trick. And it will help you in finding your purpose so you can steer your ship in the right direction.

This is a life-changing exercise and – depending on the person – it generally doesn’t take a lot of time. Some people may need to do this life purpose exercise multiple times before they get to the core reason why. I had to do this exercise about four times before I gained clarity on my life purpose and felt that I really got to the core of what motivates me.

This exercise, this way of thinking is often commonly used in problem-solving. As the CEO of FIRMSconsulting.com and StrategyTraining.com, I also use this exercise for our training programs. But my favorite application of this excercize is for discovering life purpose.

What Is Life Purpose?

Before we dive into the exercize, lets define what is life purpose. Life purpose can be defined as understanding what you really came here to do. What you want to dedicate your life to. Some also deinfe life purpose as having a set of goals and a direction for person’s life (Hill et al., 2010).

There is a slight difference between the meaning in life and life purpose. Life purpose refers to being engaged in purpose-driven actions towards some key goal. And life purpose is just one element that contributes to a meaningful and fulfilling life.

Having purpose in life gives motivation and a sense of fulfilment. It often involves a feeling of being able to contribute to making the world better in some meaningful way. And this feeling allows you to reach higher levels of well-being and fulfillment.

How Can We Define Life Purpose

Life purpose means slightly different things to different people. According to one study there are four different types of purpose (Hill et al., 2010).

Creative. Refers to artistic goals and a propensity for originality

Prosocial. Refers to a propensity to help others and influence the societal structure

Personal recognition. Refers to person’s desire for recognition and respect from colleagues

Financial. Refers to goals of financial well-being and administrative success

Although it is questionable if “financial” and “personal recognition” categories actually refer to life purpose.

Life Purpose Exercise: Finding Your Passion & Purpose in Life

So, let’s use the powerful exercise I mentioned earlier, and showcased in the video above, to assist us with finding your passion & purpose in life. What is your life purpose. What is the core thing that motivates you.

The beauty of this exercise is that even though we are searching for your life purpose, your passion, your initial question can be almost anything related to your life purpose.

Let’s say that your initial question is: “Why do I need to be successful?” Pick a question that is close to you. If you care more about fulfilling your mission than being successful, then ask, “Why do I need to fulfill my mission?” If you specifically care about what is it you are passionate about you can ask “Whay is my greatest passion?.” If you just generally trying to identify your life’s work, your life purpose, then you can ask “What is my life purpose?”

Write down your answer and read it. Your answer should begin with the word “so.”

For example:

  • Why do I need to be successful? So that I can take care of my family.

Ask yourself why you need to take care of your family, and answer that question honestly. For example:

  • Why do I need to take care of my family? So that they never have to suffer like I suffered.

Read your answers to the questions:

  • Why do I need to be successful? So that I can take care of my family.
  • Why do I need to take care of my family? So that they don’t suffer as much as I did.
  • Why is it important to me that they do not suffer as much as I did?

Continue reading your answers and asking yourself “why” for each answer you write.

  • So that they did not suffer as I did.
  • Why is it important to me that they do not suffer as much as did? I want them to have a good life.
  • Why is it important to me that they have a good life? Because I want them to enjoy the journey.
  • Why is it important to me that they enjoy the journey?

Those are just some hypothetical answers. When you give answers that are close to your heart, at some point you will get an answer that will grab you and may even bring you to tears. If you don’t get to an answer that grabs you, you need to keep diving down. If you get to 12 answers, go back and restart the exercise. We are searching for your life purpose, your mission, what you are passionate about. It is worth to take the required time to get clarity.

Life Purpose Examples

My Answers to Finding Life Purpose Exercise

You may find it very helpful to see some life purpose examples. So I’m going to show you something very personal: my answers to this life purpose exercise. You might not know this, but I’ve always felt that I had a mission and that I came here for a reason. I’m still not 100% sure what it is. I’m trying to fulfill it through writing (I published over 20 books), coaching (I coach clients from all over the world to help them succeed in corporate careers and in building their own busienss), consulting and generally helping people around the world to fulfill their potential and change the world. I believe that’s part of my mission but not all of it. I haven’t come close to completely fulfilling my mission yet.

This is why my question was related to why it’s so important to me to achieve my mission – because it literally drives my life. It is what motivates me. I needed to get to the core of it, so I did this exercise about four times, and it took me more than seven questions each time to get to the core.

Here are my answers to life purpose exercise:

    • So I fulfill my mission.
    • Why is it important for you to fulfill your mission?
      So I don’t waste my life.
    • Why is it important for you to not waste your life?
      So my soul can serve, in the position that I came here to serve.
    • Why is it important to you for your soul to serve in a position that you came here to serve?
      So I feel peace. So I know I did what I came here to do. So I can breathe.
    • Why is it important to you to feel peace and know that you did what you came here to do? Why is it important to you to feel peace?
      So that I don’t waste my soul’s power to make the world better.
    • Why is it important to you to not waste your soul’s power to make the world better?
      So I did not suffer for no reason.
    • Why is it important for you that you did not suffer for no reason?
      So that all the pain I had to go through will not be wasted.
    • Why is it important to you that all the pain that you had to go through will not be wasted?
      So that I know I did everything right. (This is a very important element, and I only arrived here after the seventh question. You have to keep digging. The reason it is important is because I have some significance related to needing to do things right. I suffer tremendously if I make a mistake where I could have done better.)
    • Why is it important to you that you did everything right?
      So I suffered for a reason. (The suffering was coming back. At the core of me, I don’t want the challenging journey that I went through to go to waste. I want to use the pain that I had to go through to make a positive difference. Otherewise, it was all for nothing. Without making a sufficient positive difference in the world, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish what I came here to accomplish. I want to make sense of it. I want to make sure that it meant something and that I didn’t suffer for no reason.)
    • Why is it important to you that you didn’t suffer for no reason?
      So I can keep my head high and know my soul did what it came here to do.
  • Why is it important to you that you keep your head high and know that your soul did what it came here to do?
    Because no one else is coming. I’m the only one who is coming. (Because the mission that I came here to do that was assigned to my soul, no one else is coming to fulfill that mission. It’s my job. It’s what I came here to deal with – my mission, which has something to do with making the world better, helping people stop suffering.)

The “Why” is Very Different for Every Person

I hope you’ll try out this very powerful exercise. It will help you get to that core thing of what motivates you. If you’re struggling to get up in the morning and you don’t want to work, thinking about the real purpose that motivates you is what will give you the energy, excitement, and enthusiasm to get up and get things done. This quote by Friedrich Nietzsche comes to mind, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

Everyone will have different answers to these questions. Another life purpose example answer is: “so that I’ll never go back.” I can really relate to this because everything I have now was earned with blood, sweat, and tears. I started my life with nothing. I had to build everything from scratch, without any help. I definitely never want to go back.

Another life purpose example answer for some people is that they let someone down and that person died, and they want to make that person proud. Let’s say someone was the only son of a single mom, and the son was an alcoholic when she died. In the eyes of society, he was a failure. He felt that he owed it to her to be a better son. When she died, he promised himself that he would make her proud every day.

Maybe you’ve seen someone close to you waste their life, and you don’t want your life to be wasted. Or maybe you’ve lost someone you love, and you want to spend time with people who are important to you.

The “why” is very different for every person. You need to understand what it is for you. Once you understand your motivation, you will be able to use it to empower you to do anything. It will be your secret weapon. When you are waiting for an interview for a job you really want and you feel scared, you can connect to your why. You know what motivates you. Why are you doing what you’re doing. What is the real motivation that almost brings you to tears.

Final Thoughts

You may be scared to do something important as a next step for your business or career. If you connect to your why, it will give you the strength to go on.

Once you get to the core of what motivates you, you will feel it hit a nerve.

If you’ve done this exercise, let me know. What was the breakthrough for you? What truth did you get out of exercise? You can let me know here or email [email protected]

Kris

Retirement Planning & How to Retire Early

Many people are concerned about their retirement planning but put it aside for far too long. Unfortunately, this often leads to a retirement you settle for versus a retirement you want. Retirement planning is a process you put in place to manage your finances after you leave the workforce or sell your business. Retirement planning involves various steps, including planning when to start, figuring out how much money you will need to maintain the lifestyle you want after you retire, identifying priorities (what is most important, not negotiable, and what is least important), planning investments and figuring out who will manage those investments. If you plan to manage your investments yourself, you will need to learn to do so. If you plan to delegate this to a financial planner, you will need to learn enough to see if they are doing a good job for you. And then, you also need to plan for how to make your retirement enjoyable. This often means having sufficient mental stimulation and social interactions to maintain a full and engaging life.

Please note that we are not financial planners. Please ensure you get proper advice from financial planners before making changes to your retirement planning goals. We are sharing with you some key insights that may help you as you are thinking through your retirement planning.

What are some of the most common financial and non-financial challenges associated with retirement?

Loss of identity. I see this often with clients even before retirement if they lose their job or decide to take some time off work due to burnout.

Lack of succession planning. If a retiring person is running their own business, there are challenges with exiting the business. Children often do not want to take over, and selling is difficult and stressful. Over 80% of businesses listed for sale do not sell after the first listing. Many business owners give up and close doors, with all assets built over decades going to waste.

Unsatisfactory lifestyle due to lack of income. There is often a noticeable negative impact on the type of lifestyle a person can have. Many people have to cut down on expenses after they stop working. They miscalculate how much money they need to live comfortably.

Not able to pay unexpected medical expenses. Medical expenses can quickly put someone in debt. Just one trip to the hospital can result in a huge issue for a retired person as a significant part, or the entire savings can go to cover the bill. I know a person who went to a hospital for one hour and ended up with a statement for USD20,000.

How can someone who has retired best navigate the obstacles to ensure their retirement years are lived to their fullest?

Continue being involved in some kind of work. It helps the keep mind sharp. When people completely retire, they often age faster and die sooner because they stop developing their minds. I see it so often with retired partners from major consulting firms. Once they stop being involved in some kind of work, their life and health start deteriorating quite rapidly. You may do consulting or coaching for a few hours a week, and that will keep you in contact with the world. You can also acquire or build a business that requires only a few hours of work per week, where you can be as involved as you want and have a team running the rest of it for you. It is not as difficult as it seems to build or acquire a business like this, and we work with clients to help them acquire and run a business.

Consider getting a coach to help you restart your career. If you left the workforce and feel you miss working, get a coach who can get you results and help you do this effectively. You can work with us, or you can work with many other coaches out there, but get someone who can help you. Your coach can help you set up goals and then figure out the steps needed to get there, which we call your critical path, and help you along the way as you are taking the steps.

Have a good social life. Surround yourself with other interesting people who care about some of the same things as you so you can have a full life. Humans need social interaction, so it is crucial not to isolate yourself. This becomes especially important in retirement.

Do not allow yourself to think of yourself as an old person. Focus on what you have (decades of experience, a lot of knowledge, achievements, great kids) instead of what you don’t have (for example, if you wish you were younger, or you feel your energy level is not where it used to be, etc.). Often clients tell me, “I am old. I am 50 years old.” And I tell them that if they spoke to someone who is 75 or 85, that person would tell them that they are a baby.

How to Retire Early

You may be asking yourself how to retire early. If you want to retire early, building your own business is the fastest path I know to it. It is not as hard as it seems. It’s hard the first few years, and it gets easier.

You can also buy a fully operational business. Buying a business can allow you to retire early as soon as you build a team to manage the business’s day-to-day operations. Many businesses for sale are SBA pre-approved, so you can buy a business for as little as 10% down.

If I continued to work as a management consultant or a banker I would not be in a position to retire because in corporate world when you stop working you stop getting paid, and it takes a long time to invest enough money to accumulate enough to retire. Of course, you want to invest and take advantage of the power of compounding. The power of compounding refers to when gains grow on top of other gains. For example, if you invest $1,000 in one year and it goes to $1,100 the next year, your next year’s gains will be on top of the $1100, not the original amount you put in. Over time, that compound growth can significantly boost returns. Compounding effect, however, takes time. I have not found a faster way to build wealth than starting or buying a business. If you build or buy a business, a machine that runs, adds value to clients, and build a team to run that machine, you can retire or semi-retire early.

I am an example of someone who could retire at 40, or even earlier, after building my business and building a team who could run it. I choose to continue to work because, for me, it is about fulfilling my mission of helping my clients stop professional suffering. However, there are situations when I can’t work, and in such situations, my business continues to operate because I have a great team that helps run day to day. For example, this spring, I had to attend to a family emergency for a few weeks, and, during that time, at times, I stepped away from the business and my team was running it.

About the Author: Kris Safarova is a USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Amazon bestselling author who has published 20+ books on business strategy, leadership and problem solving. She is the CEO of FIRMSconsulting.com and StrategyTraining.com, the latter which is the largest business strategy video training platform in the world. Two of her podcasts, Strategy Skills and Case Interviews & Management Consulting, are often ranked in the Top-10 for careers in many countries.

She holds a Diploma in Music, a B.Comm, cum laude, and a MBA with distinction and on the deans list, the latter from Ivey Business School in Canada. She worked as a management consultant and corporate finance director, where she managed a >USD$1 billion portfolio. Kris was a master classical concert pianist and official music representative of the Russian Federation, who toured Europe. Kris has studied voice for decades, most recently under Roger Love, the world’s top voice coach, to become a reputed and certified executive presence and speaking coach. Kris Safarova is a professional with a decades-long track record of rapid promotions in the corporate world and building successful businesses.

“To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been
their finest hour.”

Winston Churchill

FINALLY: A CHANCE TO DISCOVER EXACTLY WHAT KRIS AND MICHAEL ONLY REVEAL TO OUR HIGHEST PAYING CLIENTS IN PRIVATE? NOW YOU CAN…

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Installment options are available (outlined below).

Unfortunately, many professionals are ignored, miss out on promotions, or feel they are on the wrong path and not living up to their potential. This results in feeling frustrated and under-appreciated. We have tested strategy tools and blueprints that allow our clients to stop being ignored, get promoted or start their own business, and find a greater career and personal fulfillment, and a higher level of contribution.

The MasterPlan Coaching Program is a group-mentoring program where we work personally with you to help you develop and start implementing YOUR MasterPlan. This coaching program is designed to help clients with the guided implementation of our most popular Insider program, the MasterPlan program. In the MasterPlan program, we cover the critical skills and strategies we developed for our most successful executive coaching clients and give you a blueprint to significantly alter your career.

Imagine the power of getting personalized guidance and coaching aligned with your unique situation, as you are developing your MasterPlan and start guided implementation.

We are putting together a small cohort of group coaching clients. This program makes coaching with us accessible to a broader group of clients.

As one client recently said:

If Michael had been my mentor from high school, I would be a President by now. Click To Tweet

What makes this program different?

How did we train Andrew to go from senior manager to senior equity partner in 3 years? How did we help Fei outperform her peers at a major PE firm? How did we coach CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies? How do we simultaneously manage so many studies to such high quality of insights? Why do we take on such punishing work?

In the span of few years, on top of everything else we are doing as part of FIRMSconsulting’s core priorities, we also have co-founded an electric car start-up in China, a luxury brands business in Europe, a news business, and we also co-own a precious metals mine.

These ventures are core to our mission of teaching business strategy in a compelling manner. Because we meticulously track the development, tactics, strategies, meetings, finances, and trials and tribulations of every single business, to produce detailed training programs.

I get asked this question a lot: How do we achieve so much and to such high levels of quality while remaining so energized? This program answers these questions. We will help you build YOUR master plan.

We designed this program to completely reinvent and revive your career. This is a program about doing big things. Things that you would not believe were possible.

We have condensed all the key lessons from our most popular programs and, based on member feedback, provide more advanced tools and techniques.

Productivity is not about how much you can do to a high level of quality. That is a myth that harms your career. To be successful in life you should not build a career around your competitive advantages in life. That may lead to very average career. Too much planning may paralyze you. Too much education may paralyze you.

You need to know when is enough and move forward.

You do not need a fancy degree, or any degree, to be successful in business. You just need to be in a career or pursuing an idea. Success comes from doing a few things consistently well.

Tatiana had a Wharton MBA and struggled to get her business moving until we completely changed the way she managed herself, then her team, and finally her business.

This coaching program will be hard but if you stick to it your results should be no different from that of the clients above.

This program explains how we keep our performance high and how we help clients keep their performance high, and it is based on us having personally advised CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies.

Maintaining a high level of performance is NOT about simply having the problem-solving skills of a McKinsey, BCG et al. partner. It is about MORE than communication and leadership skills. If you want to operate at our level, and the level of our most successful executive clients like Andrew, Richard, Fei, Chetan, and Tatiana, and CEO clients, then you should try to get in and be a part of this rare opportunity to not only watch The MasterPlan Program but to personally work with creators of the MasterPlan program and get individualized guidance and coaching applicable to your personal situation.

It can literally change your life.

Objectives of the program:

  • More clarity on the Massive Transformation Purpose (MTP aka vision)
  • Develop a MasterPlan/the critical path/blueprint for your career and life
  • Start a guided implementation of your MasterPlan with our coaching
  • 6 months (VIP)/3 months (Elite) challenge towards the result YOU want to accomplish, with milestones and accountability
  • Identifying your assets (competitive advantage vs. comparative advantage)
  • Help you understand and break down limiting beliefs, limited mindsets, old patterns, and bad habits that may be holding you stuck
  • Dealing with personal circumstances and how to have a balance between career/business growth and personal life/taking care of your health/family/community
  • Getting results
  • A support system and an opportunity to establish a life-long network, and potentially friendships with other accomplished professionals in a deliberately small select peer group

It’s an opportunity for an elevation in your position, getting consistent guidance and support on your journey, gaining clarity on the vision, learning from other accomplished professionals.

This program was co-designed with some of our closest clients. Here are paraphrased descriptions of this program from our clients that you may find helpful. However, please don’t allow those descriptions to limit what this program can do for you …

  • “It’s a group of people that want to create some very large change in their life. They either do know what it is or don’t know what it is. They don’t want to waste tons of time figuring out things without guidance and mentorship. There’s a bunch of learnings that are out there and coaching that can help them avoid making the wrong moves for them. And then once they are somewhat clear on where they want to head towards, of course, there’ll be nuances they go about learning, helping them avoid the pitfalls that often they would have fallen into along that change.”
  • “It’s not going to be a program for too junior of a person… Looking at our career as if it’s four quarters of a sports game. And starting at the age 25 to 35, that’s the first quarter. And age 35 to 45, that’s the second quarter. 45 is halftime… and 55 is the end of the 3rd quarter and 65 is game over. Now, that sounds a little harsh, but just looking over 10-year spans, this is probably a program for somebody who’s approaching that halftime. Still has a third quarter, fourth quarter. How we can use the experience gained from the first half of the game to be able to really create a high magnitude impact in the 3rd and 4th quarters of the game.”
  • “A way to get structure, encouragement, and action towards your big life’s goals.”
  • “Learn and apply MasterPlan Program tools to launch something big in the next decade. You’ll identify your purpose; pick your unique 10 filters to evaluate every opportunity; identify your role models; and make big progress in your Phase 1. Plus you’ll get support from FC partners and motivated, mid-career Insiders who are also launching something big.”

Step 1: Read the full details below.
Step 2: Apply for VIP level (6 months + deep dive one-on-one coaching). Apply for Elite (3 months).

A unique 4-part structure

THANK YOU to our FC Insiders for Your Feedback!

You asked to introduce a focused career coaching program. You asked for mentorship opportunities.

We listened.

Here’s the 4-part structure we’re going to use to make the MasterPlan coaching even BETTER than any one-on-one program we ever offered …

PART 1 – LIVE SMALL PRIVATE GROUP COACHING SESSIONS (SPG) DURING THE 1ST, 2ND AND 3RD WEEK OF THE MONTH

  • We also call these results clinics.
  • Exclusively for MPC Members.
  • Guaranteed personalized attention from Michael/Kris.
  • Interactive SPG/touch-point with Michael/Kris, giving individual feedback to participants as they progress through the critical path outlined in the training program, with a goal of progressing towards their goal.
    • You will complete steps of the critical path leading to your goal.
    • We review your progress/material submitted/your questions during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd week of the month, and provide personalized feedback.
    • You have an opportunity to get your individual questions answered during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd week of the month.
    • Have a decision to make? You can get our perspective to help you make the decision. If you are stuck with not knowing the best approach to follow, you can get guidance in the SPG.
    • You can call in from a hotel room, airport lounge, or your home office. We will select a time that is the best compromise for the whole group.
    • Regular SPG calls allow you to have consistent feedback as you are progressing through the critical path outlined in the training program.
  • Can’t attend some sessions live? Submit your questions to review, we’ll answer it during the results clinic session and you’ll get our feedback in the VIDEO REPLAY.
  • Watch us mentor other participants, and learn from them and alongside them.
    • You will see the feedback we offer them and see the progress they make.
    • You are not just learning from your feedback, but from all the members on the call – shorten your learning curve.
    • This is of greater value than you may realize and real breakthroughs often come from an idea triggered by listening to feedback for another participant.
  • Troubleshoot your most pressing career issues and goals.
  • Ensuring participants do not get stuck or stagnate. Clients said they need bi-weekly or at least monthly interaction with us to use our formidable tools and methodologies to help them maximize the results they can achieve. The duration of the sessions depends on what participants need. We schedule 1 hour but it is not uncommon for sessions to be around 1.5 to 2 hours long. Our longest results clinic was 4 hours and 48 minutes for Speak Without Limits program (initially scheduled for 1.5 hours).

What are the Dates?

You tell US!

Vote on time and day of the week options. Approximately Saturday or Sunday 10am PST on most weeks,

so you can take the call in private and without stress. We will pick the best compromise time for everyone, including Michael.

$36,000 VALUE for VIP and $18,000 VALUE for Elite. Tuition fee for this program? See below

PART 2 – MASTERPLAN AND IMPLEMENT THE MASTERPLAN TRAINING SERIES EXPLAINING THE ENTIRE CAREER REINVENTION PROCESS. REPLAYS.

  • Career transformation critical path taught as training lessons.
    • This career approach/method/steps can be applied to all careers from strategy to operations, to digital, to start-ups, to government. While we are known for helping clients become senior rainmakers in consulting, our executive coaching clients very successfully applied our approaches outside of consulting.
  • A clear outcome. Designing YOUR unique MasterPlan and critical path and starting guided implementation so you can start gaining momentum.
  • Complete your work for each step and use small private group coaching sessions (career clinics) to accelerate your progress and results.
  • Additional 12 months access to the training series and replays of all small private group coaching sessions after the coaching program ends, in case you need a refresher.

$7,000. VALUE. Tuition fee for this program? See below

PART 3 – ONE-ON-ONE STRATEGY SESSION WITH KRIS

  • Elite: 55 minutes strategy session with Kris.
  • VIP: monthly 55 minutes deep dive strategy call with Kris (6 strategy sessions during the duration of the program).

$6,000 VALUE for VIP and $1,000 VALUE for Elite. Tuition fee for this program? See below

PART 4 – CRITICAL PATH DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES

  • Critical path downloadable resources to help you work through the program effectively.

$3,000. VALUE. Tuition fee for this program? See below

SUMMARY

180 Days (VIP)/90 Days (Elite) of Personal Mentorship with Michael/Kris to help you transform your career.

(1) LIVE SMALL PRIVATE GROUP COACHING SESSIONS (SPG)/CAREER CLINICS

(2) 3-MONTH PROGRAM SHOWING THE CRITICAL PATH FOR THE CAREER TRANSFORMATION PROCESS

(3) ONE-ON-ONE STRATEGY SESSION(S) WITH KRIS (monthly 55 minutes deep dive strategy call for VIPs/one 55 minutes session for Elite)

(4) DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES

Like-Minded Community & Support

… To help you get even Bigger Results and Faster Results…

THE MASTERPLAN MENTORSHIP PATHWAY

Small Private Group Coaching Sessions/Results Clinics ($36,000 VIP/$18,000 Elite)

Training Program of the Entire Career Transformation Process ($7,000)

One-on-one strategy session(s) with Kris ($6,000 – six 55 minutes strategy sessions – VIP)/$1,000 – one 55 minutes strategy session – Elite)

PLUS!

Exclusive Community (Priceless! At least $2,000)

Downloadable Resources ($3,000)

TOTAL VALUE

$54,000/$31,000.00. Tuition fee for this program? See below

We are creating 2 levels to make the program more accessible. Pricing:

Apply for VIP: 6 months of access to coaching and guidance plus deep dive one-on-one coaching (monthly 55 minutes deep dive strategy call during the duration of the program). We are offering a special price for clients who are willing to support us with a video testimonial if they find the program valuable. And if you pay upfront there are additional savings. The upfront price under this special condition for VIP is $14,995. However installment option is also available (below). Apply Now.

Installment options for VIP:

Option 1:

Payment of $4,995 this week.

AND

6 payments of $1,995 by 10th of each month during 6 months period.

Option 2:

Payment of $2,995 this week.

AND

6 payments of $2,450 by 10th of each month during 6 months period.

To apply for VIP with an installment plan complete the application here and then once you are on the payment page use the link above to make a payment using an installment option of your choice.

Apply for Elite: 3 months of access to coaching and guidance as described above. We are offering a special price for clients who are willing to support us with a video testimonial if they find the program valuable. And if you pay upfront there are additional savings. The upfront price under this special condition for Elite is $5,995. However installment option is also available (below). Apply Now.

Installment option for Elite:

Option 1:

Payment of $1,995 this week.

AND

3 payments of $1,650 by 10th of each month during 3 months period.

To apply for Elite with an installment plan complete the application here and then once you are on the payment page use the link above to make a payment using an installment option.

We are filling in the seats now. If you are inclined to embark on this journey apply above. If you have any questions email [email protected]

Terms and conditions apply. If for any reason the seat can’t be allocated, we will initiate the refund within 3 business days.