Author, Engineer, Consultant... Martial Artist?
I am an engineer, spent a year travelling Europe studying sword making, and have a black belt in aikido. These three things inform every word I write and how I work with every client.
Being an engineer, I see complicated issues as processes with inputs and outputs. Running a business is a very complicated process, but there are only a few things we need to understand and control in order to have large effects. In my practice, we focus on the creation of an integrated set of metrics that define success for the business, and we translate these down to every individual. This gives visibility to what is actually happening so that managers and leaders can make well-informed decisions about how to improve.
Upon graduating from the Colorado School of Mines, I was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and travelled most of Western Europe studying medieval swords and sword making. I found that people everywhere were helpful and friendly, doing the best they could with whatever they had. This resonated deeply with me as I worked first as an engineer, and later as a consultant. If a manager finds that their people can't get the job done, most of the time it is not the willingness of the people, it is the process that management has provided their workers that is incapable of producing the results that are needed, and this is where the focus for improvement needs to be.
I have been practicing a martial art called "aikido" now for about ten years. It is one of the more difficult martial arts, since its purpose is not to destroy an opponent, but to protect your partner as well as yourself. This has had a profound impact on me as it creates habits of thought off the mat to seek solutions that work for everyone while still achieving the needed business objectives. Every day I teach or consult is an opportunity to practice aikido (usually not the throwing around kind...)