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Don Schmincke: From MIT Planetary Physicist to Training CEOs (Strategy Skills ep. #230)

Don Schmincke

For this episode (#230) of the Strategy Skills Podcast, we interviewed a best-selling author, Don Schmincke. Don is a former MIT and John Hopkins Institute researcher turned organizational strategic development consultant. He’s the guy CEOs bring in when many other experts fail.

When CEOs asked Don to research and analyze the high failure rates when it comes to strategic planning, management theory,  M&A, and culture change they didn’t realize the power of primal, genetic triggers he’d uncover, and that those primal triggers can help their companies grow much faster than the methods traditionally used by CEOs and executives.

Yet, would it not be expected from an MIT and Johns Hopkins researcher with many adventures behind his belt:

  • from getting nearly arrested as a capitalist spy in the Soviet Bloc,
  • to getting shot off an aircraft carrier,
  • to developing missile inertial guidance systems while his frat brothers took Vegas (later showcased in the movie “21”)?

Don is a best-selling author and trains 700 CEOs annually. He also shares his unique methods at keynote speeches around the world. Don’s scientific methods make him the thought leader in applying anthropology, genetics, and evolution to strategic growth. CEOs find it a refreshing alternative to the traditional theories.

Don’s interactive workshops, keynotes, and panel discussions have made him a Top 10 speaker in the world’s largest CEO organization. He presented over 2,000 speeches around the world, working in over 100 industries. He is a speaker that doesn’t just speak but implements his work in many industries with a money-back guarantee.

Don’s systems have been validated in organizations from the Fortune 100 like DHL, Verizon, U.S. Navy, and DuPont. He is also an author of best-selling books, which include:

The Code of the Executive” (available in 12 languages)

“What a book! Short, Fast, effective 1000 years of leadership principles in 100 pages. It should be read and remembered by every executive.” Brian Tracy

and “High Altitude Leadership” (with NBC Emmy-nominated climber Chris Warner).

“Using harrowing first person accounts of life and death… eight lessons leaders need to learn to reach the highest peak of success in business. Dare to be a high altitude leader. Read this book!” Ken Blanchard

Don’s work was published in over 14 languages and he was featured by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNN, and MSNBC.com, and more than 60 industry publications.

Don works with clients around the world, flying 200K miles annually. He works with clients across every industry including non-profits, healthcare, distribution, technology, manufacturing, communications, insurance, and finance. He also, from time to time, speaks at universities sharing his unconventional techniques with graduate students.

This episode is available on iTunesYouTube, and StrategyTraining.com.

The Strategy Skills Podcast is the channel where strategy partners and the world’s top thinkers teach you the tools and techniques to solve mankind’s greatest problems. Every week, we release powerful episodes where we discuss concepts to help listeners advance their strategy, operations, implementation, and communication skills, enhance their critical thinking ability and build their executive presence.

Take care,

Kris Safarova

P.S. If you genuinely find our podcasts helpful, we would greatly appreciate you supporting us with a review for our Apps (Apple or Android) and iTunes channels.

Difficult Conversations at Work: Guidance, Tips and Best Practices

difficult conversations at work

You’ve probably seen the recent headlines about how Vishal Garg, CEO of Better.com, sparked outrage when he laid off 900 employees over a Zoom call. This story became an example of how not to have difficult conversations at work. This circumstance, framed within the grander series of events that sent shockwaves through American workplaces over the last year, clearly illustrates the need for leaders to be intentional about how they navigate difficult conversations.

Here is the #229 episode of the Strategy Skills Podcast. For this episode, we interviewed Michael Reddington, an expert forensic interviewer about the common mistakes leaders make when approaching these discussions and best practices on how to handle them better.

Common mistakes leaders make when dealing with difficult workplace conversations: 

  • Scheduling/conducting difficult conversations in a way that is convenient for them, regardless of how it impacts their audience.
  • Focusing on “getting a conversation over with”, as opposed to opportunities to create value and/or minimize exposure. Time is the enemy of empathy.
  • Seeking rational solutions to emotional issues.

Best practices for handling these issues in the future: 

  • Schedule/build your conversations around what your audiences need to experience to achieve the preferred outcome.
  • Value quality over time and embrace a strategic approach over a tactical approach. Focus on the solution, not the problem.
  • Increase your situational awareness and consider the long-term ramifications of decisions; select the best alternative for achieving long-term goals, not relieving short-term stress.

About our guest, Michael Reddington:

President of InQuasive, Inc., and author The Disciplined Listening Method:  How a Certified Forensic Interviewer Unlocks Hidden Value in Every Conversation.

Michael Reddington, CFI is a certified forensic interviewer and president of InQuasive, Inc., which  integrates key components of effective non-confrontational interview techniques with current business research for executives. In his new book, The Disciplined Listening Method:  How a Certified Forensic Interviewer Unlocks Hidden Value in Every Conversation (Per Capita Publishing, March 2021), Reddington draws on his background in forensics and his understanding of human behavior through interrogation to teach readers how to improve their listening, communication and relationship-building skills—and how to use truth to their advantage.

Reddington developed his innovative Disciplined Listening Method by combining the persuasive, perceptive methods of certified forensic interviewers with current research, theories and expectations from the business world. His new book reveals the shortcomings of traditional listening techniques, illustrates the need for a more strategic approach and outlines the seven core behaviors of disciplined listening. The Disciplined Listening Method also describes the seven phases of potentially contentious conversations so leaders can truly understand what their audience experiences during important interactions.

Reddington founded InQuasive, Inc. to help leaders and their teams reduce missed opportunities and increase commitments to action by activating the truth in all of their business interactions. InQuasive, Inc. integrates current business communication research and best practices with non-confrontational interview and interrogation techniques to provide customized training and advisory services in the areas of sales, negotiations, leadership communication, conflict resolution, customer service, candidate interviewing and public speaking.

Reddington leads programs on the application of strategic, ethical, persuasion techniques in the areas of leadership communication, sales, negotiation, conflict resolution, customer service, candidate interviews and family conversations. He has led more than one thousand five hundred programs and educated over 15 thousand participants from companies, government agencies and executive groups around the world.

Additionally, Reddington has spoken about the international applications of the Disciplined Listening Method at Kellogg School at Northwestern, and he was given the Outstanding Contribution Award from  the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He has also been cited as an expert resource in Fast Company, Training Industry, CEO World, and The $100 MBA Show.

Reddington received his bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from Southern New Hampshire University, as well as additional education on negotiation and leadership from Harvard University. He currently lives in Waxhaw, N.C. For more information, please visit inquasive.com.

This episode is available on iTunesYouTube, and StrategyTraining.com.

The Strategy Skills Podcast is the channel where strategy partners and the world’s top thinkers teach you the tools and techniques to solve mankind’s greatest problems. Every week, we release powerful episodes where we discuss concepts to help listeners advance their strategy, operations, implementation, and communication skills, enhance their critical thinking ability and build their executive presence.

If you genuinely find our podcasts helpful, we would greatly appreciate you supporting us with a review for our Apps (Apple or Android) and iTunes channels.

About Kris Safarova (FIRMSconsulting’s CEO and co-host of the Strategy Skills podcast):

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, helping clients manage all aspects of communication including handling difficult conversations at work. Kris Safarova is a professional with a decades-long track record of rapid promotions in the corporate world and building successful businesses.

How can you start using the title published author in the next few months WITHOUT writing an entire book

You probably already know the benefits of getting a book published:

  • Build a stronger personal brand immediately.

  • Open the door to new opportunities.

  • Add to your signature, your bio, your articles and proposals.
  • A permanent marketing tool – most people do not throw books away, and they are always working on your behalf.

  • Pre-frame yourself to clients before they even speak to you. Your book shows your expertise.

  • Multiple authors are marketing you, every time they talk about your book.

  • Use it in your content marketing plan to get leads.

  • Instant authority boost.

  • A book is your most powerful business card.

  • Most people will never write the first book, you will have one to share in the next few months.

Imagine your client interactions if potential and current clients saw your thinking in a published book before they met you? Imagine the time you would save not having to explain your ideas and the value you could add to them? Imagine the fee premium you could earn? Imagine avoiding awkward meetings trying to establish your credibility? Imagine how many potential clients could find you and reach out to you?

It would be a different life as a recognized expert.

Becoming a published author or adding another book to your library of published books can be a powerful credibility boost and can help you build your professional and personal brand.

I could do it. Our clients could do it (refer to our previous book Nine Leaders in Action which went on to becoming #1 best seller in multiple highly competitive business categories). So can you.

But when?…

If you are concerned that you do not know enough, don’t have a good enough profile, all of this may seem impossible to achieve …

… I understand.

Publishing an entire book on your own is very hard…

Not only you have to figure out how to structure and write a good book but you also need to be able to edit and proofread it, develop a design for your book, and one that looks good, layout the book for various formats like paperback and kindle, figure out how and where to launch it, market it, get reviews, etc… It is too much for most people and, in our opinion, a waste of time to learn and figure out if you are not planning to run a publishing business.

So crowd sourcing the effort and participating in writing just a chapter may be the opportunity you were waiting for.

To be in The Published Author Program you don’t have to be a professional writer, you don’t have to be a publishing or marketing expert. And you don’t even have to write the whole book.

Enroll in The Published Author Program


Once you submit your application, if you need to pay in installments you can do so here.

We also highly recommend adding optional add-ons which allow us to help you with making your chapter more effective to achieve your objectives.

Add a strategy call as an optional add-on. (Some authors choose to book multiple sessions. The purpose a strategy call is to help you determine what to cover in your chapter).

Add a wordsmithing service as an optional add-on (A professional writer writes a chapter on your behalf, based on an interview and input from you, trying to preserve your voice. You thereafter can make the necessary adjustments to make the writing your own).

What do you mean by crowdsourcing a book?

You have probably seen books written by multiple authors. A group of authors gathered together, and each author contributed a chapter.

All you have to worry about is writing 1 chapter, which can be as little as 2,000 words. In our case we generally aim for 15 pages of ~280 words each per author. This allows you enough space to make an impact and get noticed. And let everyone else do the rest of the work.

The organizer of the project, the publisher, handles all the work and the costs for concept, structuring, editing, design, formatting, cover creation, promotion (marketing). It is incredibly cost effective for the authors because all those steps cost a lot of money and time, especially if you don’t know what you are doing.

Crowdsourcing the book this way allows you to get your name out for a fraction of the total cost of a book.

And then this book becomes the start of your elevated journey…

When authors finally decide to take action and publish their first book, their only regret is usually not starting sooner.

Publishing a book will allow you to have your own author page in Amazon library, with your published book there as a permanent fixture, permanent marketing and credibility boosting tool.

The book also helps you start building your online presence and elevated standing.

People, like potential major clients who otherwise would likely ignore you, could start mentioning that they “have seen some great work you are doing.”

The translation is: “I have seen that you are a published author, an expert in your field, I saw your Amazon author profile or I saw your book on Amazon or in another store, and I am looking for an expert to help me.”

I do it myself. When someone reaches out to me I check out their LinkedIn profile, see if they published a book on Amazon, etc.”

That is why especially your first book becomes such an important step up in your career.

What if I want to publish a mini ebook or a solo book?

We recommend to start from co-authored book. There are number of reasons including other authors promoting the book, we will be able to promote your book, the book will be on FIRMSconsulting author page for additional exposure for your work, and it is a lot less work to write a chapter and cheaper to publish as a co-author. However, if you feel a solo ebook or a full book is the right option for you at this time, contact [email protected] to discuss if there is a good fit for us to work together to help you achieve this goal.

You need to spend your time wisely…

When you publish your first book you step up your level of credibility, influence and authority.

I spent many years waiting, and sometimes you need that extra push to take a step forward towards becoming an authority in your space.

That is why I want to provide more details on…

The Published Author Program (crowdsourcing a book)

Our Published Author Program will help you get your first book (or next book) published quickly, and painlessly. And it also allows you to learn how to leverage your position as a published author.

By joining The Published Author Program you can become a co-author in a multi-author book and have your book added to FIRMSconsulting page on Amazon, for additional exposure. Becoming a published author can help you:

  • Get a published author status. Our prior co-authored book, Nine Leaders in Action, went on to become #1 best seller in multiple highly competitive business categories, including strategic management and business management.

  • Gain authority and solidify your position as an expert in your space.
  • Can help you charge premium fees.
  • Share your expertise with potential clients and partners.
  • Gain visibility, greater credibility, and respect with current and prospective clients. Use your book as your ultimate business card. There are few things that increase your authority in the eyes of your customers, employees, prospects or superiors as much as being a published author.
  • Build your legacy. Help people who can avoid the mistakes you made. Share with your kids, your family what you did when you were not at home.
  • Elevate yourself to the next level by participating in an international project.
  • You create an entrance point for people you would otherwise never come across to get to know about you, your expertise, your products and offerings. Let the book open new doors and possibilities for you like bigger clients, speaking and consulting opportunities, and powerful network connections.
  • Get additional visibility by participating in a multi-author book with other accomplished FIRMSconsulting clients around the world, with multiple co-authors promoting your book.
  • You create a permanent marketing asset for your portfolio. A marketing asset that many of your competitors do not have
  • Myself and your co-authors will be marketing you forever after the book is published. And we will do it for free! Every time one of your co-authors sends someone to get the book, they will also be getting your chapter and information as part of the book.
  • By being a co-author on the book it shows you add value, you are an authority on the subject of the book.
  • All you need to focus on is on writing a great chapter. We will do all the other work to get it done.
  • If you don’t have the time to write the chapter, or don’t feel you are a good writer, opt-in for add-ons and we will do a large portion of the work, including writing (wordsmithing add-on), for you.

It’s not about getting wealthy through selling books. As you know these days many people pay to get someone to get their free book. It’s about building your professional BRAND! It’s about solidifying your position as an expert in your space, so you can set yourself up for earning higher fees, getting opportunities you never had before and making a bigger impact.

The ROI potential. 

What is the value of having a powerful “business card” that actually works for you?
What is the value of high-paying clients reaching out to you?
What is the value of being positioned as an expert within your organization?
What is the value of enhancing your firm’s reputation and brand?
What is the value of growing your business?
What is the value of skyrocketing your standing in the eyes of your current and future clients?
What is the value of your superiors starting to see you as “the guy” or “the lady” they need for the most important projects?

Don’t focus just on cost.
Think like a business person. It is about Return on Investment.

Why this works so well for you

Co-authoring a book with us will change your status and exposure

You will become a published business author. The previous participants of this program are all #1 best-selling authors.

Global Distribution

Our book will be distributed globally through all the publishing channels we use to distribute our best-selling books.

A Lead Generation

You determine how readers should reach you and you may even provide a lead magnet and link to it on your site to build your email list or your contact details if you are looking for consulting clients.

Permanent Marketing Tool

We call it perpetual marketing. This book will forever work on your behalf to build authority and leads for your career and business.

Power of your Co-Authors

Witness the power of multiple co-authors promoting this book, and in turn you, reaping the benefits.

Increased Exposure

All the authors promote, and create exposure. But also, every single new lead for one of your co-authors, outside of the book, becomes a potential lead for you because of your association via this book.

What to do next…

Enroll in The Published Author Program:


Once you submit your application, if you need to pay in installments you can do so here.

We also highly recommend adding optional add-ons which allow us to help you with making your chapter more effective to achieve your objectives.

Add a strategy call as an optional add-on. (Some authors choose to book multiple sessions. The purpose a strategy call is to help you determine what to cover in your chapter).

Add a wordsmithing service as an optional add-on (A professional writer writes a chapter on your behalf, based on an interview and input from you, trying to preserve your voice. You thereafter can make the necessary adjustments to make the writing your own).

If we can’t accept your application we will refund your payment within 3 business days. And we will let you know how to strengthen your profile to be able to participate in the future projects.

Any questions? Email [email protected]

Send us bio 

We will need very professional, high quality bio. Don’t have one yet or need help? That is what we are here for!

Confirm chapter topic and submit your chapter 

Start brainstorming your chapter topic. Your chapter needs to fit well with the rest of the book, and attract people to your profile, products, consulting services, other books or future books. We have an optional strategy session to help you with the idea, when needed. We also have an optional wordsmithing service (additional fee applies. highly recommended). Get the FC team to provide wordsmithing service, where your knowledge and experience are captured and then our team does the required wordsmithing to structure it into a cohesive chapter (at extra cost).

Let us do the rest

We will update you on the launch dates, give you promotional materials for social media and email. Then seat back and let us handle all the editing, design, formatting, and marketing work and expenses. You will soon be adding a published author to your resume! And given our loyal reader base around the world, with over 20 books under our belt, your book will most likely become #1 best seller in a respected business category. As per above, the previous co-authored book, Nine Leaders in Action, went on to become #1 best seller in multiple highly competitive business categories, including strategic management and business management.

Our publishing experience 

Over the last few years, as we published multiple books and have seen it become an effective way to help many people around the world that otherwise would never come across our resources, as well as seeing it becoming a powerful marketing tool for our company, we have received requests from some of our most beloved customers and clients asking if we could offer a service to help them become published authors too.

So The Published Author Program, like many things we do, was requested by FC Insiders and our coaching clients.

bestsellers published author

We are the number one publisher in the strategy and consulting space. In the screenshot below #1 and #2 best sellers are our books.

Examples of some of our #1 best sellers:

In the screenshot below you can see two of our books being best sellers simultaneously, which is a very rare accomplishment for any publisher.

experts published author program

Here’s the deal:

  1. You become a published author, a title no-one can ever take away from you. This title significantly elevates your professional profile and opens many doors.And given our loyal reader base around the world, with over 20 books under our belt, your book will most likely become #1 best seller in a respected business category. As per above, the previous co-authored book as part of The Published Author Program, Nine Leaders in Action, went on to become #1 best seller in multiple highly competitive business categories, including strategic management and business management.
  2. You get a chapter in our multi-author book. Your book will get extra visibility by being exposed to our readership base around the world. There’s no royalty for co-authors. It’s not about getting rich through selling books. It’s about building your BRAND!
  3. You can republish or repurpose your chapter in any format.
  4. You write. We take over all the remaining work.
  5. If you don’t want to write or don’t have time to write, select add-ons and we will do the heavy-lifting of planning, structuring and writing your chapter for you, based on an interview with you. So if you have valuable experiences and knowledge to share but don’t have the time or don’t want to write, for any reason, get the FC team to provide wordsmithing service (extra cost). Wordsmithing service involves capturing your knowledge and experience and then our team does the required wordsmithing to structure it into a cohesive chapter.
  6. You don’t know what to write about? Apply for an optional service (at extra cost) to get Kris to do a strategy call with you to help you pull the right knowledge and experiences to share from your head so you can position yourself in the best way in your chapter.
  7. We take care of book cover design, typesetting, interior layout, distribution etc.
  8. You get to include a bio (up to 200 words) for your chapter with information about your firm or yourself, including your contact email address and a website link if you choose to do so (recommended to help you build your professional brand).
  9. We will publish it internationally on Amazon.
  10. We will design posters for the book launch for you to use on social media.
  11. The book will be released to the entire FC community.
  12. Where there is a good fit, selected co-authors maybe invited to be interviewed for one of our podcast channels, ranked top 2-10 for careers in multiple countries. Have a chance to appear on a podcast along with business legends like Ram Charan, Bill Matassoni and Kevin P. Coyne.
  13. Bonus: One masterclass on how to use your book to grow your business (value = $1,500)

How long can my chapter be?

We are aiming for 15 average book pages per author. If your topic requires more pages please email [email protected] and we will try to do our best to accommodate you.

How many authors will be in the program?

We are aiming to have about 10 co-authors.

How long will it take for the book to get published?

We are aiming for 6-8 months release date from the time we start the program.

What if I can’t write or don’t have the time to write?

We offer guidelines to help you with the outline.

So, no need to worry!! We also offer optional wordsmithing service at extra cost (we interview you to capture your knowledge and experience and we then do the required wordsmithing to prepare your chapter, trying to include all the knowledge and experience you wanted to share with the audience, while preserving your voice. You thereafter can make required edits to make the writing your own).

If you want to write the chapter yourself but need help in deciding which knowledge/experiences to share, you can apply for an optional service at extra cost, a strategy session with Kris Safarova who is an author of multiple #1 bestselling books, to help you pull the right knowledge out of your head and select what to focus on in your chapter, while following outline guidelines.

We highly recommend wordsmithing service as well as a strategy session. It makes a big difference for most authors.

I don’t think I’m that successful.

You are more successful than you realize. If you have insights and stories that can help others, you can build your professional brand by becoming a published author. Your experiences and insights are useful to many people around the world. You don’t have to be a former CEO of a major company, a former McKinsey/BCG senior partner, have an MBA or Ph.D. or be a millionaire entrepreneur. You just need to want to inspire and help others by sharing your knowledge and experiences.

In our experience, clients who worry about being too young some day wake up and realize they are too old. Don’t let this limiting belief of being too young and not having enough experience stop you from realizing your full potential.

I’m not ready yet.

You’ll never be ready! Successful people jump at opportunities and then grow and improve along the way. Don’t let perfectionism hold you back. Don’t miss out on rare opportunities. Learn along the way. We also may never do another intake for this program so the time to take action is now.

In just a few months:

  • You can become a co-author of the book on FIRMSconsulting’s author Amazon page. We have a large loyal reader base around the world and YOU can benefit from it.
  • You can differentiate yourself from your competitors and colleagues … big time.
  • You can build your professional brand: your authority, visibility, credibility, and earnings.
  • You will get to share your message/story with the world.
  • You can see new opportunities and doors open up for your business.

Take advantage of this pricing:

This program is not for everyone. The participation in the next multi-author project pricing is as follows:

$5,997 (save ~$850)

or 4 payments of $1,712/mo

Written chapter guidelines will be provided to all participants.


Optional service at extra cost: strategy session 

The strategy session is intended to help you, a new writer, pull the right knowledge and experiences out of your head so that you can position yourself in the best way. The optional fee is $997 per one hour session. You can apply for multiple sessions to help you pull the right knowledge and experiences out of your head for your chapter. However, one session is generally going to be enough for you to gain much more clarity on the best content to include in your chapter, based on your knowledge and experience.

Optional service at extra cost: wordsmithing

We record an interview with you capturing your knowledge and experience and guiding you on what to include. Kris does the interviews for the second book, so it will also have an element of a strategy call. And we then do the wordsmithing work to prepare the first draft of the chapter for you, based on an interview with you, while trying to preserve your voice. You can then edit the chapter to ensure everything that is needed is included. A separate strategy call add-on (a separate add-on) is still recommended to help figure out the best content for your chapter.




Once you submitted your application, you can pay the base fee in installments here.

Add a strategy call as an optional add-on.

Add a wordsmithing service as an optional add-on.

If we can’t accept your application we will refund your payment within 3 business days.

Any questions? Email [email protected]

We’d love to potentially work with you.

Naturally, we have LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE for the next multi-author project. If you are ready to apply follow the steps above.

Access related course: Transform Your Professional Brand Through the Author Program

Access related workshop.

Access a video about the program.

FC Insiders Update January 2021

Over the last 3 months we moved to monthly FC Insider updates, versus weekly. As an example, in November we launched the entire Competitive Advantage with Kevin P. Coyne program (44 episodes plus 13 additional Q&As).

In December and January we launched:

– How to Solve Big Problems with ex McKinsey senior partner Kevin P. Coyne (full program was released)
– How to be Successful, Influential and Make an Impact with ex McKinsey senior partner Kevin P. Coyne (full program was released)
– How to become a McKinsey partner with ex McKinsey senior partner Kevin P. Coyne (53 out of 56 episodes were released)
Lessons from Start Ups (4 episodes were released)

And more is coming, including Advanced Competitive Strategy with Kevin P. Coyne is scheduled to be released by the end of March and 2 new seasons with Bill Matassoni, ex McKinsey and BCG senior partner, are scheduled to be released by the end of May. Plus a number of other programs/updates to current programs.

FC Insiders will remain our number one focus. And a lot of the work we do (e.g. SLIDES, books) is done to serve FC Insiders.

Our Advanced Knowledge Management System/SLIDES was launched after multiple requests, over many years, from FC Insiders to find a way for them to have access to our slides including studies, proposals, templates etc. To keep costs unchanged for all FC Insiders we introduced this new service as an optional add on and only FC Insiders are eligible to apply. This is an incredibly expensive offering for us, with heavy ongoing costs, so introduction of SLIDES is not a departure from our efforts to serve FC Insiders but a way to give selected FC Insiders who asked for this service more resources and tools to succeed at a higher level and save a lot of time.

Over the last few years another consistent top request from FC Insiders was requests for written supplemental materials/books. It takes a lot of resources to create and publish such materials. So to avoid raising the price for all FC Insiders we launched written materials as books to a broader FC community to subsidize the cost that otherwise FC Insiders would need to cover to make such offering sustainable. This way FC Insiders can get access to books at a very affordable price.

And our books are gold mines. They are packed with incredible value versus most books I buy or get as a gift these days. We are not messing around. If we are doing something we do our best to do it right. The books we released so far include:


As of this moment all of our books are available in Kindle format at a special price of $9.99. This is an incredibly affordable price, especially given the value, even for poorest developing countries.

Monday Morning 8 a.m. was introduced to offer weekly guidance to FC Insiders on insights from what is happening around the world. This is another common request from FC Insiders, who missed a version of this we used to have on the old FIRMSconsulting.com website.

We made this FC Insider newsletter and corresponding audio episodes available to a broader FC community, but it is designed for FC Insiders. And that is why you see so many references to various FC Insider programs and SLIDES resources, as we are guiding FC Insiders and SLIDES members where to dive in if they would like to learn more about a specific topic/approach/skill.

FC Insiders also have seen many new programs being launched but not completed yet. This occurs because we are trying to accommodate requests from all FC Insiders. It is a diverse group from managers at top consulting firms all the way to senior partners at top consulting firms and even executive board members of major organizations. Some FC Insiders run their own consulting firms. Others are executives within giant, most elite technology companies or other major organizations. So because of the diverse make up of FC Insiders they have various interests and needs. So it takes time to populate all the programs until completion but we are tirelessly working at it and you can see it in the amount of new content we release for FC Insiders on a monthly basis.

So while we are doing a lot things to serve our entire community, FC Insiders are our hard core most loyal group who are our primary focus, and we are developing a lot of resources for them and finding a way to make such new resources accessible in a way that does not raise a price tag for all FC Insiders.

You may ask why are FC Insiders our primary focus given we are a private equity firm and building multiple high income potential businesses (higher income that FIRMSconsulting educational resources can ever offer)? Because the mission of FIRMSconsulting is to solve mankind’s toughest problems. And there is only so much impact we can do through those other businesses. Our greatest impact is made through FC Insiders from all over the world being armed with skills to get meaningful results and change the trajectory of their organizations, industries, families, countries, and the world.

Thank you FC Insiders for your trust and for putting in the work required to not only learn but apply and get meaningful results. We value each and every one of you very much and can’t wait to see the big things we will do together in 2021!

This is an excerpt from Monday Morning 8 a.m. newsletter, issue #10. 

FC Insider is for our long-term members who are committed to making a substantial, positive impact on the world, accompanied by rapid career progression. Like all loyalty programs, initial and continued access must be earned.

There are 3 different ways to become an FC Insider:

Option A: Join Premium and earn FIRMSconsulting Insider status after 6 months of consecutive membership (on your 7th renewal). Thereafter, the FC Insider status is retained until membership is canceled or lapses. Continuous membership is required to maintain FC Insider status.

Option B: Join Premium and earn FIRMSconsulting Insider status immediately. Skip the 6-month waiting period by paying for the previous 6 months as if you were a member during that time. This is not a pre-payment, and a monthly Premium subscription is required to remain as an FC Insider. Thereafter, the FC Insider status is retained until membership is canceled or lapses. Continuous membership is required to maintain FC Insider status.

Option C: Subscribe annually and immediately earn FIRMSconsulting Insider status. Your next renewal will be 12 months later.

How do I save 33% when subscribing?

You can save 33% by selecting Option C.

Option A/B:

Members must pay for 6 consecutive months of Premium membership BEFORE becoming an Insider: 6 x $167 = $1,002.

Thereafter, 12 months of FC Insider access costs: 12 x $167 = $2,004.

Therefore, the total cost for 12 months of FC Insider access is: $1,002 + $2,004 = $3,006.

Option C:

Members skip the 6-month waiting period to earn FC Insider status.

Total cost for 12 months of FC Insider access = $2,004.

Total savings: $3,006 – $2,004 = $1,002.

Percentage savings: $1,002 / $3,006 = 33.3%.

What do I receive as an FC Insider?

  1. Videos: All curated programs (thousands of episodes) on StrategyTraining.com + Android + iOS + Roku + Apple TV Apps.
    1. Visit StrategyTraining.com to see all the programs.
    2. Ability to download videos into Apps and watch. Access is available during active membership.
    3. Create playlists in Apps and websites.
    4. Auto-play feature on Apps and website.
    5. Continue-watching feature between Apps and website.
    6. Content streamed in HD where possible.
    7. A backlog of more than 1,000 episodes to be released.
  2. Books: early access to some of our new books and journals (an additional fee is needed and terms apply).
  3. Coaching: Eligible to apply for the single 1-on-1 advice sessions with Michael (separate from private 1-on-1 coaching, with no referral required, and an additional fee is needed).
  4. 1-on-1 private coaching: Eligible to apply for 1-on-1 coaching only if referred by a prior coaching client and an additional fee is needed. We do not accept applications without a referral. These are the longer coaching programs that Andrew, Amrit, Peter, Tatiana, Richard etc., participated in.
  5. SLIDES: Eligible to apply for access to the Advanced Knowledge Management System, also called SLIDES. An application process exists and an additional fee is needed.
    1. Editable slides of full studies
    2. Editable proposals
    3. Editable workshop packs
    4. Project management tools
    5. Full CRM capabilities

What updates are coming?

There will be major updates to 3 areas:

  1. Videos on StrategyTraining.com
  3. Books

SLIDES contain the editable documents to some unreleased programs (listed below), programs already released, proposals, workshop packs and communication templates.

SLIDES is the largest and most innovative resource we have ever launched. Click To Tweet

Since it takes longer to record, edit and release the videos, some studies and their editable documents will appear in SLIDES much earlier than they appear in our video streaming service.

We focus our updates on career management, strategy, operations, digital, implementation and risk programs. Each of these are full studies, and there are more to come.

  1. Proposals
  2. Workshop packs
  3. Project templates
  4. Digital & IT Strategy Study
  5. Wealth Management Strategy Study
  6. Operations Strategy Study
  7. Implementation Program
  8. Corporate Restructuring & Turnarounds
  9. Infrastructure Strategy & Feasibility Study
  10. Market Entry Strategy Study
  11. Sales Force Optimization Strategy Study
  12. Investor Relations Strategy Study
  13. Risk & Pandemic Planning Strategy Study

Our Advanced Knowledge Management System aka SLIDES also includes project management tools and full CRM capabilities. Note that, as per above, SLIDES membership requires an additional fee and approval.

Will existing programs be updated or refreshed?

Here are some programs for which updates are scheduled.

  1. Corporate Strategy & Transformation Program Study
  2. Start-Up: Electric Car
  3. Start-Up: Digital Luxury Brands
  4. Andrew’s journey from Senior Manager to Equity Partner in 3 years
  5. Rebuilding a Consulting Practice
  6. Partnership Memoir
  7. Titans of Strategy Programs – 6 programs

Other existing programs will be updated and announced closer to the update.

How do I use the books, videos, editable slides and podcasts in concert?

  1. Books—use with the video training programs to quickly grasp core skills. Additional fee is applicable for books.
  2. SLIDES—use our editable studies, tools, templates, proposals and letters to significantly reduce the time it takes to generate results, lower your costs and improve the quality of your work. Additional fee and approval are applicable for SLIDES membership.
  3. Videos—gain mastery of core concepts to ensure that you solve the problem, implement the solution and bank the benefits.
  4. Coaching—to avoid roadblocks and trial-and-error, you can apply for 1-on-1 advice sessions (separate from private coaching which requires a referral from an alum). An approval and an additional fee is needed. In advice sessions a partner will evaluate your plan and help you develop a bespoke career strategy and solution. This is subject to availability and your admittance to the program.

How do I lose my FC Insider status?

FC Insider status is lost when your Premium subscription ends/pauses/lapses. Monthly Premium members must renew their membership monthly, and annual Premium members must renew their membership annually.

FC Insider status can only be restored by re-subscribing to Premium (access to StrategyTV.com/apps) and remaining a Premium member in good standing for another 6 consecutive months, or by following payment options B or C above, if such options are available at the time of your return and subject to approval.

We understand that sometimes there are billing problems outside of your control. If this happens, you have a 14-day period where your access is blocked, but you will immediately return to FC Insider status upon fixing the payment problems and covering the payment gap and admin fee when applicable.

After 14 days, access cannot be restored and all credits and/or access to FC Insider are lost. However, if you have special circumstances and inform us before the 14 days elapse, or have a valid reason why you could not contact us within 14 days, cover the payment gap and manual activation charges, we will work with you to try and help you retain your FC Insider status.

Once FC Insider status is granted, a member will remain within the elite FC Insider group for as long as they remain a Premium member in good standing—by upholding our terms and conditions, honor code and expectations of professionalism.

Should I watch programs I don’t particularly like?

There is little correlation between what we like and what will help transform our career.

If you want to be successful and move ahead of the curve, all the content is for you. Even if it may not seem to be immediately applicable to you, dive in and extract everything you can to help your career. You will see how the insights, approaches, and tools we teach are easily transferable between different industries and functions.

See the reviews for the programs and books here and here. You will see that we have a wide variety of clients who share our strong value system and commitment to solving tough problems that matter to the world.

Our content is relevant to everyone. If you are in industry or a partner in a boutique firm, a banker, research PhD etc. you may want to ignore the case interview training. Yet, you need to know the basics of calculations, building frameworks and solving problems before you can fully benefit from the advanced material.

Kevin Coyne, a former McKinsey world-wide strategy practice co-leader and a contributing partner for FIRMSconsulting, mentions that a key assumption he makes is that viewers have the basic problem-solving skills taught in earlier programs. Click To Tweet

If you do not have those skills, the FC Insider content is more difficult to understand.

For example, the Andrew program is about building an innovation practice at a major professional services firm. You would most likely ignore this program if you didn’t care about innovation or work at a professional services firm. Yet, to become a partner, one must be able to sell between $4-5 million worth of work.

The program with Andrew is about how we taught him to sell—it’s about sales and implementation. It is incredibly detailed with approximately 200 episodes and more to come.

It is focused on the innovation function for a professional services firm, but the skills are relevant to every FC Insider. Many FC Insiders have transformed their careers across various industries and functions because of this single, in-depth program.

The biggest mistake clients make is ignoring a program because they think it is not directly applicable to them.

Programs often focus on 5 different areas:

  1. Teaching a technical/functional skill like strategy, sales, operational improvement etc.
  2. Set in a sector like mining, banking etc. so we can discuss the details to make the program realistic.
  3. Set in a specific country to analyze legal and regulatory issues.
  4. Teaching soft skills.
  5. Highlighting a real client’s personal experience so you can understand the journey of someone who has gone through similar struggles.

So, if you see a program called “Entering the US Banking Market,” remember it is a market entry program, and it will be helpful for you even if you are not in banking. Because you can learn from one of the 5 areas outlined above, you are investing your time wisely—these programs are extremely valuable to see how we structure, plan and execute analyses, manage the client, write up slides and conduct focus interviews.

The subject of a program is not important. Critical skills like structuring a study, developing hypotheses, storyboards, analyses and presenting to CEOs will be important to anyone, anywhere. Click To Tweet

Define what you want to learn, locate it and then focus on it.

In other cases, some clients just want to learn the IT strategy approach, for example, taught in that program. We understand why that may be the case. Yet, we truly want you to succeed in the long-term. It is far more effective to learn the underlying way we think so that you can develop your own approaches. If you do not learn this, you will spend a large chunk of your life searching for the best approaches, but each problem is unique. It’s important to learn how to develop unique approaches/solutions to whatever problems you may encounter in your career.

The price is high for me. What can I do?

I believe that everyone who is willing to work hard should have an opportunity in life. I want to offer you what I would have greatly benefited from in my own life. To create such an opportunity, we created many affordable books you can benefit from to start getting results, and to put yourself in a position to be able to afford FC Insider access. Here are the books available at this time:

Succeeding as a Management Consultant: https://amzn.to/3a3atTn

Turquoise Eyes: https://amzn.to/3bzVa6g

Marketing Saves the World: https://amzn.to/2xcJqYA

Mavis: https://amzn.to/3iUkSWD

Strategy Insights: https://amzn.to/3pGcflh

Strategy. Part 1 – https://amzn.to/3BPMbe3

Strategy. Part 2 – https://amzn.to/3tbsbiU

The Private Equity Strategy Quick Guide: https://amzn.to/2ZTQi7L

The Corporate Wellness Strategy Quick Guide: https://amzn.to/3jh8RgZ

The Digital & Information Technology Strategy Quick Guide: https://amzn.to/2UOlB4v

The Strategy Journal: https://amzn.to/2QGft9d

The Operations Management Journal: https://amzn.to/32nMtc7

The Investment Journal: https://amzn.to/3u3g8mz

The Leadership Journal: https://amzn.to/3AQ3NXh

Digital & Information Technology Strategy Journal: https://amzn.to/3jmDmlu

The Strategy Visioning Workshop Journal: https://amzn.to/3u5VROE 

The Corporate Wellness Strategy Journal: – https://amzn.to/3mj0GAN

We also published hundreds of podcasts and articles all of which are available at no charge. Our podcast channels Strategy Skills as well as Case Interviews and Management Consulting are ranked among top 5-10 for careers in many countries.

We also introduced the FC Ambassador program for selected members in difficult financial situations—primarily in developing countries—for whom we arrange a discounted Premium membership fee during their time as FC Ambassadors.

FC Ambassadors help FC with important projects and deliver weekly measurable and meaningful results. FC Ambassadors deeply care about FC’s growth and put in the work required each week to honor their FC Ambassador status. Over the years, we have seen many FC Ambassadors graduate from the program and transfer to regular FC Insiders because they used their time as an FC Ambassador to transform their careers and lives, and now they can easily afford monthly or annual premium membership fees.

Enquiries can be sent to [email protected]. Very few spots are available and meaningful weekly contribution is required.