Catalyst Strategic Consultants

How does your business need to grow?

Into the Fire

Sitting in WJ plus on my way back from Winnipeg / Brandon.  It’s been a long day starting at my 4 am.

I’ve been speaking on presidential competencies to my compadre  Barry Bernhard’s two TEC groups.  Letting them in on the accumulated experience of me [ and him! – i think of doing this for us all] .  We have this unique viewpoint of having observed Presidents of mid market companies hit the bullseye with some requirements of the “job” and miss with others.  The result is a discussion of what a president must be able to do [ a list of competencies – much the same as if you were viewing a candidate for say – sales management – and assessing, can he do the essentials of the job?].

So we have an animated review based on self assessment of each of these aspects of “doing the job”.  Our courageous members, willing to face themselves and be candid – can check themselves at these four levels of accomplishment of each:

  1. I don’t really know what you’re talking about
  2. I’ve got some idea but i really don’t know the specifics
  3. I’ve had to do this a few times, but it’s pretty early days
  4. I’ve done this lots and am beginning to acquire some mastery of this territory

We also ask them to suss out whether this aspect of the job is really up for their company at this time – say the next 6 months.

If they don’t get it right – either too self-congratulatory or too hard on themselves,  don’t see what’s really coming – their able chair, Barry will set them right in the one on one session to follow.

They fed some interesting examples back –  when we were talking about public relations as a presidential competency, one described a day when, right after hearing a TEC speaker on the subject, a horrible injury had occured on his company’s jobsite and he was on the frontline with cameras in his face – right now.  He was grateful he had – just that day – an introduction into how to handle an explosive situation through hearing Grant Ainslie – our go-to Public Relations resource speaker.   In the result, our member acquitted himself very well.

That’s life on the front lines.  It comes right up to you – ready or not.  He was ready.  Barely.

I asked the strong members of this great group – “Did you go to President’s school before you took the job?”.  Only one put up his hand – his dad had been a lifelong entrepreneur -so he felt he had – at the dinner table!
To the rest we said – “Well, you are now!”  That’s what TEC is.  And that’s what TEC is for.  To be a school for Presidents, to prepare them for what they have stepped into and to ready them for may soon arrive.

So the rest of the day we traversed all the territory of heading up a mid-market company. I raised areas a Pres has to be good at.  They sized up their ability on the above scales.

Their Chair, the very able Barry, was recording what the self-identified growth opportunities were.  We canvassed the whole territory -then looked beyond at what the real big boys have to be concerned about.  It was a dynamite afternoon.

Now, I’m suspended over Saskatchewan, reading and looking at their gift to me – a story of the firefight battle for Fort McMurray 2016.  Can you believe it – only one year ago!

They gave me “Into the Fire” – a photo book with on-the-ground stories heroically voiced by 3 firefighters who looked right into the maelstrom one year ago.   Seems astounding, such a profound disaster:  hard to digest.  There weren’t many of us unaffected by that catastrophe.  My daughter in law’s brother was on that crew up there.  They lost their house – everything.  The in-person tales are riveting.

But no less than the riveting are the stories I heard this afternoon – of Presidents on the firing line – facing really difficult situations for the first time and doing their best to respond heroically.

My hat’s off to them – and to the firefighters of Fort McMurray!  Kindred spirits!

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


Past Posts