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You have a right to as much information as possible about how I think and work ahead of any decision you might make. The primary factor in who you hire should be whether or not they can solve your problem. Once you’ve identified that source, the money should be secondary (your time should be more important than your money, anyway.) It would actually cost quite a bit more not to hire that person than to hire them. Against that background, I’ve collected these frequently asked questions so that you can make the right decision. If you and I work hard at making sure it’s a great fit, we’ll both be happier:

What is my ideal client ?

  • Runs a small (1-120 person), privately held firm that sells expertise or a larger firm executive.
  • Works directly with me as the decision maker and not through another staff member.
  • Is facing a hurdle or transition that is significant to them. I usually picture this as something literally keeping them up at night, or maybe a sense that there has been a role reversal and now you’re just feeding the machine rather than the business meeting your needs.
  • Is hiring me primarily because of my expertise (it’s unparalleled in the field)
  • Is willing to let me (1) decide which symptoms are relevant; (2) diagnose the problem accurately; (3) and suggest the best solutions that can lead to real change but minimizes disruption as much as possible.
  • Is willing to be engaged from the very beginning, listening and reading with intense focus, and then jumping into implementation with gusto (and a mix of exhilaration and terror). I’m here to help, but I don’t do “needy” or “helpless” very well.
  • Has no hesitation about our fee against the background of the possible impact on their firm, and submits it promptly without reminder. They do so because they know, subconsciously or otherwise, that not hiring me will be much more expensive than doing so.
  • Is open to a different perspective, though likely testing each piece of advice rather than accepting it blindly.
  • Is open to using my services or partners for execution of the recommendations.

The vast majority of my clients are ideal clients, and I am very grateful for them. They are smart, funny, hard-working, and really care. It has been a fantastic ride. They have enabled me to build a thought-leading consulting practice, and there is no feeling quite like being part of lasting change on their behalf. I have a folder with notes of unsolicited “Thanks” and currently there are nearly a thousand of them.

What size are the firms that you work with?

I have performed most paid services, including the Full Business Review, for firms with 1-120 people or with larger corporation executives. My entire consulting practice is built on knowing the differences between firms of different sizes. If you have only two employees, I can help you at the current stage and tell you what is coming next. If you have sixty people, I know your unique issues. I even know when it is time to downsize and get some of your life back.

Speaking of expectations, can you explain further what mine should be?

What clients appreciate the most, though, is an outside perspective on how they are really doing (without pulling any punches), or how to accomplish something without reinventing the wheel. They realize that change is still dependent on them, but they want to be pointed in the right direction based on what has been successful for other firms. I will never know as much about your firm as you do, but I will likely know more about your firm than any other consultant that you work with.

Sometimes I picture this as you standing in a thick fog, not even knowing all the options, much less which one might make the most sense. Because this is familiar ground, I’ll walk towards you, grab your hand, and safely lead you out into a place where you can see.

The solutions are not formulaic. On one hand, I am not very likely to see something new in each engagement, but I’ve seen hundreds of different elements and what’s unique is not the elements themselves but how clients have combined them into their own unique form of dysfunction! So your situation will require a unique answer, which is sort of like pulling just a few—but the correct—tools from a very large toolbox.

Who will be working with us?

Robert does all the consulting and speaking. More about my background here.

What sets you apart from the other management consultants that specialize in serving this field?

Four things:

  1. I’ve developed unique processes that help surface the issues and then solve them quickly and more reliably. These center around measuring your firm’s performance, crafting a positioning that gives you power in the marketplace, putting systems in place that move you from a deadline-driven firm to a profit-driven one, and structuring roles well for each individual (with some proprietary scientific research underlying each, based on our usual practice of undertaking an original research project every two or three years, each costing $200,000-$350,000).
  2. I’ve been doing this same work for a long time with 900+ consulting clients and tens of thousands of others who have attended my seminars.
  3. I am very direct and candid, holding nothing back (though it’s always done with kindness). Someone said recently that “Robert doesn’t think all babies are cute” and that’s a good way to think about it. If I think you’ll be a good client, that includes an assessment that you want the truth and solutions that match. You will be amazed at the speed and accuracy in absorbing the issues, and then how tailored the solutions are that I provide.
  4. Everything I recommend is tested extensively, either by several of my clients or in my own practice.

I am simply not a good fit for most firms. It’s always a good idea to explore working with other talented consultants to this field. I have a list of competitors that I’ll be happy to give you, along with a shortlist of the ones that I think will be a good fit for your specific situation. This website and my lead generation eco-system is built by ReImagine.

What would you consider your “unique ability”?

That’s sort of a strange question, but the wording is borrowed from Dan Sullivan’s Strategic Coach model, which I attended years ago and have since recommended to some clients. The idea was to ask that question of ca. 40 people who all knew me well, but in different contexts (family, co-workers, friends, clients, etc.). The answers come back very united in their emphasis.

Robert’s unique ability is to actively engage others through grounded assessment to quickly build consensus around authentic, seductive solutions that mobilize them beyond difficult transitions to focus on their own unique opportunities.

Before engaging you, would it make sense to first fix some things that I know need to be done?

In some cases it would, particularly if there are no questions about what needs to be done. Where I’d strongly urge you to hire me first would be in areas like positioning and staffing, as decisions you make there are more difficult to reverse. Other areas are fine to work on first, like systems/process issues.

How can you help me from Germany?

Germany is just my home base and since 2013 I’ve figured out how to do it. Speaking engagements and Full Business Reviews take me all over the world or through online conferencing. I’ve lived in four different countries, worked in more than ten, and visited more than forty. But hire me because you think I know what I’m doing and not because I’m nearby. In fact, if there’s a management consulting firm nearer to you that has the same expertise and experience in serving firms like yours, it would make more sense to hire them. Some firms come to Germany, too, where I work out of a nice space.

Can we get together and meet first? This is a big decision and I’d like to get a feel for how we’d work together.

I won’t work hard to make this happen because it requires time that I could’ve been spending in my work for clients (instead of prospecting). I will be glad to spend time answering questions by phone or email to give you a comfort level with how I’ll approach working for you. This site also contains lots of valuable (and free) material that will provide insight into how I think.

How do we work together after you leave?

Most of the services are remote. The site Full Business Review, though, is followed by an “implementation period.” That includes a set number of significant phone calls or emails, and then some short calls and emails, too, which we don’t count. These are usually initiated by you when there’s something you want help with, but sometimes from us if we feel like you’re avoiding us or may have lost some momentum. The implementation period is defined for each service, denoted by a set number of calls over a set number of months, whichever comes first. We would deem an interaction significant if it takes a fair bit of time, there’s an agenda, preparation is needed, etc. Another way to look at it is this: I’m in the business of solving huge, confusing problems that are keeping you up at night. I could help solve the smaller issues, but that’s boring and there’s little money it!

In a consulting relationship, will we have a regularly scheduled call? Are you like a coach in that regard? What does the implementation period look like?

My approach is not like that of a coach, prodding you to make weekly progress. There are much better (and cheaper) sources for that, and I can refer you to coaches who specialize in this industry, even. But my work is more issues-based. If you are facing a particular hurdle, I’ll craft a suggested engagement, assess the situation, give you my best thinking, and then answer questions as you implement it.

The implementation period is framed in two ways. First, there is a period of time during which the implementation is active and I am at your service. That is expressed in months. Second, I offer a set number of significant phone calls, lasting longer or involving more preparation. I don’t count quick phone calls or emails against that total.

If I sign up as a client and decide that I want more assistance after that initial “implementation period” period has ended, how do we continue to work together?

Obviously you (or your staff) could attend one of my seminars, roundtables, or conferences. Another option is to do a checkup on site again. I just call that a Management Summit, and the issues I address are personalized to your situation.

Can you cross out any confidential portions and then show me sample recommendations?


It’s too much work. It guts the essence of the recommendations. It’s giving away my work.

And if this is important, you may be too skeptical to benefit from a client relationship. I’d recommend that you read everything that interests you here to get a feel for how I think and work with clients and then just go with your gut.

If you decide that I am not a fit, I’m still glad for you to benefit as much as possible from the information here.

What are the typical deliverables in a working relationship?

I am an established thought leader in this field, and my energy is expended in ways that maintain that position. Stated otherwise, my main deliverable is insightful analysis and transformative advice. The focus is not on long reports or even reports at all, and in fact my recommendations are short, concise, and only in outline form (I provide handouts in order for you to take notes). I can then expand where that would be helpful.

Do you have some references we could contact?

Of all the FAQs, this is the toughest one to answer and there are so many ways that you might misunderstand this or write me off because of it.

When prospective clients asked, I used to give them a dozen or so. I’ve worked with so many firms that the logistics of it are no problem.

After decades of doing this, I don’t and here’s why:

  • My clients have not signed up to give you advice, and that’s usually what happens. So they’ll be on the phone giving you an outline of the great solution that worked for them, in effect consulting you, and there’s no mechanism for payment. Or even any assurance that what worked for them is applicable to you.
  • This isn’t always true, but in most cases asking for references is a sign of skepticism. That wasn’t true in the early days, when it was a very fair question. But I’ve infiltrated so many areas of the expertise marketplace that there can be no question about the effectiveness (if it’s a good match). Pretty much just ask anyone.
  • There have been a few cases of abuse. First, some prospects would send out the exact same email to all the references, asking them each more than a dozen questions. Why should a non-paid reference bother? Second, they’ve had an assistant do the calling. If you don’t have the time to check us out yourself, I won’t be a good fit.
  • In many cases the work I have done for a client is confidential, as my work with you will be. There are about two dozen testimonials scattered through the site, though, and you might be able to chase some of them down! You can also see 50+ unsolicited endorsements on my LinkedIn page.

I’ll sometimes make exceptions to this, but rarely. When I do, I’ll trade references so that each of us can call the other party’s references. Just give me the names and contact information for two or three professional advisors that you’ve worked with.

What are typical payment terms?

All services are fully prepaid and non-refundable, for any reason.

Exceptions: In the case of a Full Business Review, an initial deposit holds the date. If the engagement is canceled before full payment is received, all paid funds plus time/materials plus a 20% penalty is payable upon cancellation. In the case of an M/A project, the “success fee” of 2% is canceled, but initial funds are non-refundable, for any reason.

The reason is not cash flow. Rather, it gives me the freedom to be completely transparent with you, not harboring any fear that you’ll be upset and withhold payment.

This policy is applied uniformly with every client—even Fortune 500 companies when I work with their in-house departments.

I have one big issue I need your help with, but I don’t see a package dealing specifically with that, and the larger packages cost more than I want to spend right now. How can we work together?

My smallest consulting package is the “Single Issue” package, done remotely. I don’t work on an hourly basis as a 10k consultant: this is how I limit my client base in a manner that allows me to do effective work for the clients I do have.

I’m not ready to hire you yet. How can I stay in touch and keep up with what you are doing and offering?

The best way is to sign up for my free, regular, content-rich emails at one of the forms scattered all over the site.