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Art of Consulting Podcast

Business & Economics Podcasts

You'll learn our top strategies to improve your career, confidence, lifestyle from us and other crazy successful seasoned consultants in IT and Management. Engage in the conversation as we discuss everything that brought us longevity and success over the years in the consulting industry.


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You'll learn our top strategies to improve your career, confidence, lifestyle from us and other crazy successful seasoned consultants in IT and Management. Engage in the conversation as we discuss everything that brought us longevity and success over the years in the consulting industry.





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227 | Embracing Digital Transformation with Ken McKnight

Welcome to another episode of "Art of Consulting" with Andy Fry and Cat Lam. Today, we're diving deep into the transformative magic of active exploration and the incredible ways it can spark creativity and open your mind. Our host Cat Lam introduces Ken McKnight, Vice President of Information Technology at Peace Hills Insurance. Ken's extensive background in IT, digital transformation, and consulting is highlighted, emphasizing his role in driving organizational change and technological advancements. Motivation for Career in Technology (2:10 - 4:10) Ken discusses his upbringing in a family of small business owners and his passion for merging technology with business, leading to a career in healthcare informatics. The importance of bridging the gap between technology and business is emphasized. Challenges and Rewards of Digital Transformation (6:11 - 9:23) Ken delves into the challenges organizations face in justifying the costs of digital transformation initiatives, focusing on efficiencies, customer experience, and market against return on investment. Metrics for evaluating the success of digital competitiveness. Key Initiatives in Digital Transformation (12:10 - 15:55) Ken outlines key projects at Peace Hills Insurance, including staff upskilling, migration to cloud-based systems, and core system upgrades. The importance of organizational change management in ensuring successful transformation is emphasized. Transformation of Job Roles (17:02 - 21:54) The evolution of job roles due to technological advancements is explored, referencing tools like Microsoft's Copilot for AI-generated coding and their impact on traditional tasks. The significance of upskilling employees to effectively utilize new tools and technologies is highlighted. Navigating Challenges in Digital Transformation (22:25 - 27:14) Challenges encountered during digital transformation, such as balancing operational maintenance with innovation, managing third-party dependencies, and staying compliant with evolving regulations, are discussed. Strategies for effective release management and change management are considered essential for successful transformation initiatives. Conclusion Host Cat Lam expresses gratitude to Ken McKnight for his valuable insights and contributions to the discussion. Closing remarks emphasize the ongoing evolution of technology and the importance of adaptation for future success in digital transformation.


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226 | Combat Medic to Corporate Consulting - Preparing for Challenges with Gopal Singh

Welcome back to the Art of Consulting Podcast, where we explore and having to share an opinion without being argumentative. Inspiring messages to help professionals discover their X Factor and achieve success in their careers. Our guest for this episode is Gopal Singh, an ex-military who jump started his career journey to consulting.Conversation Highlights: Military Transition Challenges: Joined at 26 during wartime, Gopal was mentally prepared for uncertainties. Leaving family behind during deployments, a significant challenge. In this episode, he reflects on personal growth, learning, and challenges faced in the military. Learning the Question "Why": For Gopal, Military experience emphasized the importance of asking why. Just like in consulting, asking why is crucial for understanding, problem-solving, and creating buy-in. Recognizing the right time and place for asking why, avoiding negative connotations. Skills Transition from Military to Consulting: Joined a large company in a consulting role. Gopal emphasizes the need for flexibility, juggling multiple roles. They also brought in the idea of acknowledging the challenge of working with process-driven individuals. Consulting is linked to all aspects of the role, from meeting clients to problem-solving. Navigating Corporate Environment: Corporate world involves constant reorganization and change. Gopal highlights the keys to being flexible and adaptable and what is the importance of asking clients/executives if they already have a solution in mind. Being a Trusted Advisor: Establishing trust by understanding the client's goals and challenges. Andy and Gopal start differentiating between supporting an existing plan and trying to propose an alternative. They also discussed the positioning as a valuable, trusted advisor and expert in problem-solving. Discussion on Asking Upfront: Drawing parallels to a project management class where the speaker missed out on asking crucial questions. Straightforward questioning in avoiding unnecessary efforts and uncovering existing solutions. Developing the courage to ask questions in various aspects of life is an essential in the Consulting world. Transition to Consulting and Preparation: Gopal shared a personal story to Andy, the host, of him transitioning to consulting and a project involving building a vehicle. Emphasizing the lesson learned about the importance of asking questions and avoiding assumptions. They discussed the shift from traditional career thinking to viewing careers as projects and always looking for the next step. Starting a Consulting Firm: Discussing the process of preparation, including website development, business documentation, and product testing. The Philosophy of Curiosity: The duo is encouraging a mindset of constant movement, exploration, and looking for new opportunities. Team Dynamics and Self-Promotion: Discussing the importance of being a good team player and sharing success within a team. Acknowledging the emotional drain of projects and the role of teammate encouragement in maintaining motivation. Reflecting on the challenge of self-promotion and the necessity of communicating individual contributions to project success. Advice for Aspiring Consultants: Gopal highlighted the significance of being oneself, asking questions tactfully, and being open to learning from others. He encouraged individuals to take time to listen and absorb information, avoiding the urge to rush into showcasing one's own knowledge. Clifton Strengths and Team Dynamics: Gopal shared information about his services at, specifically around Clifton strengths. He discussed how understanding individual and team strengths can lead to more efficient and effective collaboration, emphasizing the impact of communication based on individuals' top five strengths. Conclusion: The conversation highlights the importance of understanding challenges, avoiding getting...


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225 | Fast Track Strategies with Sir Kaya Redford: The Journey to Financial and Time Freedom

Welcome to another episode of "The Art of Consulting Podcast" with your hosts, Andy Fry and Cat Lam. As seasoned IT consultants, CPAs, and professional development connoisseurs, we aim to bring you inspiring messages to help you discover the X factor in your professional field, leading to the success you truly deserve in your career and life. Introduction: Welcome back to another episode of Blue Sky Consulting. Today, we delve deeper into part three of our insightful conversation with Sir Kaya Redford. We're excited to uncover some powerful tools that can expedite your journey towards your aspirations. . Unveiling Powerful Tools for Accelerated Growth: In this episode, we explore tools that can fast-track your path to success. With the right mindset, effective communication tools, and an understanding of programming, you can achieve your goals in record time. Gone are the days of spending decades chasing your dreams; it's time to collapse timeframes and realize your ambitions swiftly. Overcoming Frustrations and Limitations: Many individuals feel trapped in their current circumstances, lacking financial freedom and chained to their jobs. The frustration of not attaining wealth or time freedom can be overwhelming. Learning these transformative tools empowers you to break free from limitations and reach your goals more rapidly. The Importance of Programming: Sir Kaya emphasizes the significance of programming in our lives. From birth, we are programmed by various influences, shaping our beliefs and behaviors. Often, we learn about success from individuals who may not exemplify it fully, inheriting their struggles and limitations. Just as we upgrade our devices, it's essential to update the software of our minds for personal growth and success. Prioritizing Self-Care and Health: Amidst striving for success, many neglect self-care, leading to burnout and health issues.Balancing career, family, and personal well-being is crucial for sustainable success. Self-care is not selfish; it's essential for maintaining productivity and overall happiness. Acknowledging Imperfections and Contributions: It's vital to recognize that even revered figures in history were flawed human beings. Separating the person from their contributions allows us to appreciate their achievements while acknowledging their imperfections. Embracing discernment and understanding enables us to learn from both successes and mistakes. Taking Action for Transformation: While mindset and communication skills are valuable, taking action is imperative for progress. Many individuals understand what they need to do but struggle to initiate action. Transformation occurs when knowledge is applied, and action is taken towards desired outcomes. Recognizing the Knowing-Doing Gap: Sir Kaya highlights the commonality of knowing what needs to be done for personal growth and success. From waking up early to maintaining healthy habits, most individuals are aware of the actions required for positive change. However, the challenge lies in translating this knowledge into consistent action. Addressing Behavioral Misalignments: Despite knowing the importance of certain habits, many individuals struggle to implement them consistently. Sir Kaya emphasizes the significance of aligning behavior with intentions, stressing that talk alone is insufficient. Developing new habits and behaviors is essential, especially for individuals transitioning from employee to entrepreneur roles. Embracing Personal Transformation: True transformation involves embodying new habits and behaviors. Sir Kaya shares personal insights into his journey of overcoming past struggles and transforming his life. Through personal growth and resilience, he exemplifies the power of turning pain into a higher calling of helping others. Empowering Support and Encouragement: Sir Kaya extends a heartfelt message of support to listeners, emphasizing that help is available for...


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224 | Mastering Communication and Influence: Insights in Mindset, NLP and Leadership with Sir Kaya Redford

Welcome to another episode of "Art of Consulting" with Andy Fry and Cat Lam. Today, we're diving deep into the transformative magic of active exploration and the incredible ways it can spark creativity and open your mind. The last episode with SIr Kaya Redford, we touched the topic of Mastering the Entrepreneurial Mindset: From Employee to Self-Employed Success. On today’s episode, we continue our conversation with Sir Kaya as we explore the intricacies of communication and the role of neuro linguistic programming (NLP) in enhancing our interactions. Recap: In our last episode, we highlighted the importance of effective communication, emphasizing that it's not just about what you say, but how you say it and the impact it has on others. Now, let's dive deeper into NLP and its significance in communication. Exploring Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP): Sir Kayla introduces NLP as the study of human excellence, emphasizing its role in understanding what makes successful individuals excel. Drawing examples from renowned personalities like Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Richard Branson, he elucidates how NLP is ingrained in their communication and success strategies. Understanding the Components of NLP: Mindset: Sir Kaya underscores the paramount importance of mindset in achieving success, highlighting that with the right mindset, individuals can overcome any obstacle and acquire necessary skills. Linguistics: Effective communication is pivotal in all aspects of life, be it in business or personal relationships. Sir Kaya and the host emphasizes the significance of linguistic language in influencing others and driving results. Programming: Delving deeper into NLP, Sir Kaya explains the concept of programming, which involves understanding and leveraging language patterns to shape behavior and outcomes. Unpacking Communication: Sir Kaya addresses common misconceptions about communication, stressing that it's more than just conveying messages but entails understanding the response elicited. He introduces the concept that "my communication is the response I get back," urging listeners to take ownership of their communication outcomes. Flexibility in Communication: Highlighting the importance of flexibility in communication, Sir Kaya emphasizes the need to adapt communication styles to resonate with diverse audiences. He discusses various communication modalities and how understanding them can enhance rapport and effectiveness. Practical Applications: Sir Kaya shares actionable insights for enhancing communication effectiveness, including the Format System: Why: Start with explaining why the message is important, ensuring audience buy-in. What: Clearly articulate what needs to be done or understood. How: Provide step-by-step guidance on implementation. Questions: Encourage open dialogue and address any queries or concerns. Leadership and Organizational Change: Drawing parallels between effective communication and organizational change management, Sir Kaya emphasizes the importance of leadership in inspiring and aligning teams with the vision. He recommends resources like "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" by John Maxwell and "Extreme Ownership" by Jocko Willink for further insights. Deep Dive into Communication: Conversation delves into the multifaceted nature of communication, touching on the complexities of understanding and conveying messages effectively. Sir Kaya Redford offers practical advice and resources for mastering communication skills, emphasizing its transformative impact on various aspects of life. Practical Application and Free Resources: The host and guest touched the discussion on the applicability of communication skills in organizational settings, particularly during digital transformations. Offer of free gifts and resources to listeners, including a one-page PDF guide on selling and influencing, access to a private Facebook group, and opportunities for...


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223 | Mastering the Entrepreneurial Mindset: From Employee to Self-Employed Success with Sir Kaya Redford

Welcome to another episode of "The Art of Consulting Podcast" with your hosts, Andy Fry and Cat Lam. As seasoned IT consultants, CPAs, and professional development connoisseurs, we aim to bring you inspiring messages to help you discover the X factor in your professional field, leading to the success you truly deserve in your career and life. For today’s episode, we have a special guest Sir Kaya Redford is a globally renowned Success Coach, empowering Fortune 500 Companies with his unparalleled expertise. As the visionary behind the groundbreaking program, Top Producing Faster to Your Wealth & Freedom, he has transformed the lives of countless entrepreneurs, leaders, salespeople, realtors, mortgage professionals, financial service agents, and network marketers. Beyond coaching and television, Kaya has received the Humanitarian Award from the United Nations and holds the prestigious title of a Knight. As an award-winning producer and director, he has contributed to societal change through the powerful documentary "Homeless in America." The hosts highlight Kaya's remarkable career as a success coach and inquire about strategies for IT leaders transitioning from employee to entrepreneur. Kaya shares a poignant story about a client who faced challenges moving from a successful attorney in a law firm to an independent entrepreneur. The importance of understanding the shift in values from an employee mindset to an entrepreneur mindset is emphasized . Kaya recommends a values elicitation exercise to identify and align personal values with those necessary for success as an entrepreneur. He stresses the significance of prospecting, marketing, and embracing a different set of values when transitioning to entrepreneurship. The hosts and Kaya discuss the daily habits and behaviors of successful entrepreneurs, emphasizing the need to model one's actions after those achieving desired results. Kaya encourages the audience to reach out to successful entrepreneurs, have lunch with them, and learn about their values, habits, and motivations. Key Takeaways: Transitioning from employee to entrepreneur requires a shift in values and mindset. Entrepreneurs should focus on prospecting, marketing, and embracing the values necessary for success. A values elicitation exercise helps align personal values with those essential for entrepreneurial success. Learn from successful entrepreneurs by understanding their daily habits and behaviors. Model your actions after successful individuals to accelerate your own path to success. Mindset Shifts: The hosts share personal experiences and observations about the crucial mindset shift needed when making the leap from employee to entrepreneur. The conversation reflects on the challenges faced by individuals accustomed to taking directions and following rules, now tasked with creating their own rules and determining their hours. Entrepreneurial Realities: Kaya emphasizes the significant difference between employees and entrepreneurs, highlighting the absence of a safety net for the latter. The conversation explores the concept of burning ships, referencing historical examples and encouraging listeners to set big goals that outweigh the risks. Comfort with Discomfort: The hosts discuss the importance of becoming comfortable with discomfort as an entrepreneur, citing Richard Branson's advice. Kaya shares insights on the necessity of putting oneself in uncomfortable positions and how habitual life for entrepreneurs often involves embracing discomfort. Life Begins at the Edge: The hosts introduce the concept that life begins at the edge of one's comfort zone, encouraging listeners to question their own comfort zones. Kaya poses reflective questions to the audience, urging them to identify their breakthroughs and take action based on newfound insights. Action and Attraction: The interview concludes with a powerful reminder that the last six letters of...


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222 | Lessons From a Brand Strategist: A Journey with Gabriella Cray

Welcome to the Art of Consulting, your go-to source for expert insights on mastering ERP success. Today we have a special guest with us! Together with Andy Fry, special guest Gabriella Cray, Principal and Founder of the Boss Blueprint Agency is introduced to the show. Gabby's shares her background as an event planner and her journey into brand consulting. Knowing Your Niche: The duo discussed the importance of understanding your niche and target audience. Gabby's focus on brand strategy and management for nonprofits and government projects and what are the advantages of clearly articulating what you do and who you do it for. Building Relationships and Business Development: Gabby shared Insights into effective business development for consultants. They talked about the analogy of dating and finding the right clients and the significance of investing in conferences and networking to build relationships. Timeline of Client Relationships: Gabby then shared her experience with clients taking three to six months to close deals. Transition and Evolution of the Agency: Our guest’s initial interest in event planning and business events and they also talked about Gabby's role as a revenue manager at a manufacturing company and the pivotal shift into consulting. Recognizing her proficiency in social media and transitioning into brand consulting. Lessons Learned: The value of learning from different experiences, even when facing challenges. Leveraging day-to-day job knowledge to support and advise businesses. Transition from Employment to Entrepreneurship: Gabby recounts her decision to leave her corporate job in 2020 and pursue entrepreneurship. She highlights the excitement and challenges of leading a team of three, along with occasional partnerships. Being the youngest, often the only woman and black person in the room. Cultural challenges in the manufacturing industry pushed her to excel, and she shares her motivation to prove herself and find champions in the workplace. Lessons Learned in the Corporate World: Emphasizing the importance of identifying mentors and champions in a challenging work culture. Our guest shares her mindset of focusing on excellence every day, emphasizing that consistency and dedication are irreplaceable in professional growth. Balancing Drive and Seeking Help: The discussion coming from the duo touches upon the mistake of not seeking help and the significance of asking questions, especially for driven individuals looking to enter consulting. Managing up and documenting agreements were critical in Gabby's career development. Adapting to Market Changes: Recognizing signs of economic changes in 2022, Gabriella shifted her focus to recession strategies and began working with nonprofits. She shares to the audience the importance of monitoring data and making quick decisions to stay ahead in the market. Blue Sky Consulting's Niche and Programs: Gabriella delves into Blue Sky Consulting's current focus on supporting nonprofits that, in turn, serve entrepreneurs. The agency Blue Sky Consulting is launching programs for entrepreneurs in December and May, aiming to help them achieve work-life balance and facilitate a rapid rebranding process. Involvement in the Community: Gabriella discusses her involvement in various communities and the importance of community service. However, she strongly highlights the need to prioritize business stability before extensive community outreach. Accountability and Responsibility: Gabby encourages entrepreneurs to make decisions that ensure the success and stability of their businesses. CONCLUSION: From navigating challenges in the corporate world to building a thriving consulting agency, Gabby emphasizes the importance of adaptability, quick decision-making, and staying attuned to market changes. Her commitment to excellence, discipline, and community engagement highlights the key elements that contribute to sustained business...


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221 | Gratitude - For the Difficult Experiences in Life

Episode 219: Practicing Gratitude Beyond the Good Andy reflects on the deeper significance of gratitude beyond just appreciating the positive aspects of life. While it's easy to be thankful for the good things like job security, health, and possessions, Andy emphasizes the importance of extending gratitude to challenging experiences and individuals who have shaped our journeys. Key Points: Expanding the Scope of Gratitude: Andy encourages listeners to broaden their perspective on gratitude beyond conventional blessings. He shares a personal anecdote about reconciling with a past negative experience with a baseball coach, realizing the lessons learned and the growth it facilitated. Forgiveness and Self-Reflection: Through introspection, Andy recognized the need to forgive both the coach and himself, understanding that everyone is doing their best with the resources and knowledge they have. This act of forgiveness not only released bitterness but also fostered personal growth. Seeking Professional Help: While practicing gratitude can be transformative, Andy acknowledges that some experiences may require professional guidance to process and overcome. Just as we seek specialists for physical ailments, seeking therapy or counseling for emotional healing is crucial for deeper traumas. The Law of Gratitude: Andy draws parallels between gratitude and the universal law of reciprocity, emphasizing that being grateful for what we have is essential to attracting more abundance into our lives. He cautions against entitlement and encourages cultivating a mindset of appreciation. Filtering Negative Inputs: In today's world inundated with negativity, Andy advises listeners to filter out toxic information and focus on positivity. Just as we wouldn't consume poison knowingly, we shouldn't expose ourselves to harmful thoughts or media. Conclusion: Andy reminds us to reflect on the lessons learned from both positive and challenging experiences. By practicing gratitude in all aspects of life, we can cultivate resilience, foster personal growth, and attract abundance. Remember, even in tough times, keeping one foot in front of the other and staying awesome is key to success. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of the Art of Consulting Podcast. Keep striving, stay awesome, and have a fantastic week ahead! Note: If you have any questions or insights to share, don't hesitate to reach out to Andy. Your feedback and engagement are greatly appreciated.


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220 | Data Dynamics: Managing ERP Costs and Change Orders for Success

Welcome to another episode of "The Art of Consulting Podcast" with your hosts, Andy Fry and Cat Lam. As seasoned IT consultants, CPAs, and professional development connoisseurs, we aim to bring you inspiring messages to help you discover the X factor in your professional field, leading to the success you truly deserve in your career and life. In this third and final episode, Cat and Stephanie continue their insightful conversation about supply chain management, focusing on the critical aspect of data. Key Points from Previous Episodes: Cat and Stephanie covered important considerations for supply chain implementation in the first two episodes. They explored perspectives from board members, C-suite executives, project teams, and individuals within the organization in the second episode. Focus on Data: Stephanie introduces the topic of data, emphasizing the importance of understanding and managing data effectively in the context of supply chain implementation. Quality, Cost, and Schedule. She highlights the need to prioritize data quality for successful outcomes. Source, Format, Language, and Content: Breaks down the elements of data quality, including source, format, language, and content. Illustrates challenges with examples like phone numbers having different formats across systems. Sensitivity and Regulatory Compliance: Emphasizes the significance of sensitivity in data, especially when dealing with personally identifiable information and regulated data. Both Cat and Stephanie advise on the importance of complying with privacy regulations to avoid reputation damage. Involving Legal and Consultants: Recommends involving data teams and consultants early on, rather than starting with legal teams. Stresses the need for mapping out audit criteria, sensitivity components, and regulatory requirements. Protecting Sensitive Data: Discusses the practical aspects of protecting sensitive data during migration, testing, and implementation. Stephanie highlights the importance of carving out specific teams or instances to handle sensitive information securely. Privacy Training and Data Sensitivity: Suggests conducting privacy training for project teams to create awareness about data sensitivity. Addresses the gap in understanding within project teams regarding the sensitivity of certain data. For the third and Final Episode Introduction: In this episode of "The Art of Consulting," our host Cat Lam and special guest for this episode Stephanie Forbes dive into the intricacies of data cleanup during ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementations. They stress the critical importance of understanding the end vision and ensuring a realistic alignment between existing data and desired outcomes. Key Points: Start with a Clear Vision Emphasize the need for a clear vision before starting the implementation process. Stephanie outlined specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and desired dashboards for a well-defined endpoint. Iterative Process Stress the iterative nature of the data cleanup process. Cat and Stephanie discuss how project teams evaluate capabilities, costs, and schedules during the implementation journey. Agile Methodology Consideration Debunk the applicability of Agile methodology in large projects like ERP implementations. They highlight the challenges of interconnected processes and the need for a systematic approach. Stage-Gate Approach Advocate for a stage-gate approach in ERP implementations. Discourage bridging work and emphasize completing each stage thoroughly before progressing. Data Cleanup Challenges Examine how data cleanup challenges contribute to change orders in contracts. Cat and Stephanie stress the importance of anticipating unknown work and its impact on costs and timelines. In-House vs. External Cleanup Discuss the "it depends" scenario regarding whether data cleanup should be handled in-house or externally. The host and guest...


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219 | People Power: Navigating ERP Implementations with Expert Guidance

Welcome to another episode of "The Art of Consulting Podcast" with your hosts, Andy Fry and Cat Lam. As seasoned IT consultants, CPAs, and professional development connoisseurs, we aim to bring you inspiring messages to help you discover the X factor in your professional field, leading to the success you truly deserve in your career and life. In this episode, your host Cat engages in an insightful conversation with Stephanie Forbes, an expert in the SEM space, focusing on ERP implementation. Stephanie, a seasoned speaker and senior leader in large-scale organizations, shares valuable insights to guide you through the ERP roadmap. They recap the last episode, delving into compensation structures for systems integrators and stakeholders involved in ERP implementations. This episode takes a people-centric approach, acknowledging the critical role individuals play at various organizational levels during ERP implementations. Episode Highlights: Three Levels of People: Stephanie breaks down the discussion into three levels - Board/Executive, Project Leadership/ERP Team, and Operational Users/Front Lines - ensuring relevance for a diverse audience. Starting with "Why": Drawing inspiration from Simon Sinek, the conversation kicks off by emphasizing the importance of understanding the "why" behind ERP implementation. Aligning goals and clarifying timelines for all stakeholders is crucial. Addressing Threats and Opportunities: Stephanie provides reassurance, encouraging individuals who might feel threatened by the technological changes to see it as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. AI and Job Security: The discussion touches on the prevalent fear of job loss due to AI advancements, highlighting the need for a positive perspective and the potential for skill expansion. Aligning Goals: Clear communication and alignment of goals are crucial. The board and executive level should ensure that everyone, from C-suite to operational teams, shares the same goal and metrics. Balancing Priorities: Stephanie discusses the delicate balance between profitability metrics and focusing on ERP implementation. She compares it to building a house, emphasizing the need for a strong foundation before concentrating on other aspects. Project Leadership: The ERP project team needs clear goals and activities, ensuring each member understands their role. Stephanie advises against scope creep, emphasizing the importance of defining what's in and out of the project scope. Managing Relationships: Building strong relationships between the ERP implementation team, executive leadership, and operational leaders is essential for success. Communication, clarity, and collaboration are key. Navigating Challenges: Stephanie addresses the challenges of AI expectations and the importance of humans in critical thinking. She encourages a realistic view of AI's current capabilities and stresses the ongoing need for human intervention. Looking Ahead: The discussion touches on the evolving role of AI, emphasizing that while routine tasks may be automated, creative thinking and critical problem-solving will always require human involvement. Team Dynamics and Workshops: Consultants play a vital role in ERP teams. Importance of team building and workshops for consultants to work together effectively. The change management team facilitates discussions around tasks and activities. Center of Excellence and Continuous Improvement: Scope creep as a launch pad for creating a Center of Excellence. Continuous improvement necessary for ongoing ERP maintenance. When to start thinking about a Center of Excellence and who should be involved. Master Data Team: The role and function of a master data team and its vital role before starting an ERP implementation. How the master data team helps navigate and refine data structures. Mechanisms for Feedback: Three key concepts: Alignment, Execution, and Roadblocks. Encouraging individuals to assess their...


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218 | Expert Strategies Unveiled for ERP Success with Stephanie Forbes

In this episode, Cat introduces Stephanie Forbes on the show. Stephanie is a seasoned executive with over two decades of industry experience in business risk management and supply chain. Stephanie's extensive experience includes successful leadership in teams, projects, and programs. Committed to advancing the supply chain profession. Stephanie shares insights through speaking engagements, mentoring, and leveraging her extensive network. The episode explores the importance of crafting a Request for Proposal (RFP) for ERP implementation, focusing on contract considerations. Episode highlights: Contract Considerations - Stephanie outlines a four-step approach: start with the end date commitment, define the best scope, balance cost, quality, and schedule, and identify business systems and processes. - Discussion on potential pitfalls, unexpected change orders, and the significance of well-defined scope and balance. Data Ownership and Privacy - Stephanie emphasizes the importance of intellectual property and confidentiality in ERP contracts. - Detailed exploration of data ownership, potential breaches, and confidentiality considerations, especially when data resides in a SaaS provider's cloud. Time Management in Contracts - The impact of aggressive schedules, concrete milestones, and the ability to enforce time-related clauses. - Discussion on the significance of time in ERP contracts, introducing the concept of "time is of the essence." Compensation and Metrics - Stephanie provides insights into compensation structures in ERP contracts, including time and materials, deliverable-driven models, and bundled payments. - The importance of tying compensation to specific outcomes, such as successful User Acceptance Testing (UAT), and defining metrics for success in various ERP project phases. Contract/RFP Considerations - Exploration of key factors in crafting contracts/RFPs, including dates, cost, and balancing quality with cost and time frame. Discussion on the challenges of setting a fixed date regardless of cost and the importance of realistic expectations. - Recommendations on understanding and defining scope to ensure more accurate pricing. People Processes and Systems - Emphasis on analyzing organizational metrics, such as cost of goods sold, to determine ERP requirements. - Consideration of strategic growth and alignment of ERP implementation with future organizational goals. - Insight into the importance of integrating people, processes, and systems in a strategic roadmap for successful ERP implementations. Environmental Impact and ESG: - Brief mention of the upcoming webinar on Scope 3 and its impact on small and medium businesses in the environmental space. Connection between ESG reporting, supply chain, and ERP systems for comprehensive organizational management. Stephanie emphasizes the need for foresight and strategic planning to navigate the complexities of ERP implementations. Tune in to the next episode as the conversation continues, shifting focus to the critical role of people and data in the ERP landscape. Get more of Stephanie’s insights in her upcoming webinars: Webinar #1 GHG Accounting & Management for SMEs Date: February 21, from 1:15 PM – 2:30 PM MT Description: In-depth explanation of GHG management along with challenges/trends in data collection and a walk-through of the customized GHG Excel tool. Topics Covered: Brief on Climate Change Greenhouse Gas Protocol – Scope 1, Scope 2, Scope 3 emissions Data Collection Methodology Calculation Methodology – Activity data, Emission factors, Global Warming Potential Absolutes Emissions and emissions intensity Target Setting – Emission reduction & Net Zero targets Webinar #2 Implementation strategies for emission reduction for...


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217 | Giving Feedback - The Critic or The Cheerleader

Welcome to another episode of "The Art of Consulting Podcast" with your hosts, Andy Fry and Cat Lam. As seasoned IT consultants, CPAs, and professional development connoisseurs, we aim to bring you inspiring messages to help you discover the X factor in your professional field, leading to the success you truly deserve in your career and life. In today's episode, Andy shares an insightful experience he had while reviewing a book. When asked for feedback, he took a moment to clarify the author's expectations. This simple step made him realize the importance of understanding what type of feedback someone is seeking. As professionals, we often find ourselves in situations where others ask for our opinions or reviews, whether it's on a document, a presentation, or even a piece of code. Andy emphasizes the crucial need to inquire about the specific feedback the person is looking for. Is it content-related, structural, or just a quick once-over for errors? Without this clarity, one may end up investing time in providing feedback that the recipient doesn't want or need. Drawing parallels to his experience in sports, Andy notes that constant feedback is integral to improvement, especially in activities like sports, acting, or music. However, not every adult seeks or appreciates feedback in the same way. Andy learned that not everyone wants his opinion, and if they do, they prefer it in a particular manner. He identifies two common approaches people tend to take when giving feedback: the critic and the cheerleader. The critic tends to be harsh, focusing on pointing out flaws, while the cheerleader tends to be overly positive, often avoiding constructive criticism. Andy advises finding a balance by incorporating two positive aspects and one constructive suggestion when providing feedback. Moreover, Andy stresses the importance of ensuring that the recommended changes are feasible and can be implemented in the given context. It's vital to consider time constraints and practicality, avoiding suggestions that cannot be realistically executed. In conclusion, Andy encourages listeners to be mindful of the feedback they give, understanding that people may fall into either the critic or cheerleader categories. By providing constructive feedback in a positive manner, one can contribute to others' growth and success. Remember, three positives and one or two areas for improvement can strike the right balance. As always, keep staying awesome, keep doing your thing, and keep working hard. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider giving it five stars to help others discover it. Thank you for listening, and until next time, stay committed to your professional journey.


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216 | Why You Focus On The Things You Can Control

Welcome back to another episode of "The Art of Consulting Podcast" with your hosts, Andy Fry and Cat Lam. As seasoned IT consultants, CPAs, and enthusiasts of professional development, we are here to provide you with inspiring messages to help unlock your professional X factor and achieve the success you truly deserve in your career and life. In today's episode, Andy draws inspiration from Tim Grover, the renowned trainer of basketball legends Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Tim Grover's wisdom is centered around a powerful concept: instead of just worrying about things within your control, focus on actually controlling them. The idea is to tackle the things you can manage efficiently so that you are better equipped to handle the inevitable challenges that are beyond your control. This approach goes against the traditional advice of not worrying about the things you can't control. Andy resonates with this perspective, emphasizing that our responsibility is not just to passively accept the uncontrollable but actively prepare and deal with them. He uses the example of the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation no one could control. However, Andy points out that individuals could control their health-related habits – washing hands, getting enough sleep, exercising, and maintaining overall well-being. By managing what is within our control, we are better positioned to confront unforeseen challenges. Applying this philosophy to the consulting world, Andy highlights the role of project managers. Their primary responsibility is to control and manage the aspects of a project within their reach, creating a strong foundation to navigate the uncertainties that may arise. The key takeaway is clear: in consulting and life, focus on taking charge of the things you can control. Whether you're a project manager meticulously overseeing every detail or an individual contributor handling a specific project aspect, proactively managing your responsibilities sets the stage for success. Andy concludes by encouraging listeners to stay awesome, keep pushing forward, and remain dedicated to their hard work. Success is an ongoing journey, and by focusing on the controllable elements, we empower ourselves to tackle the unexpected with resilience and determination. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to subscribe, and consider giving us a five-star rating. Your support helps others discover valuable insights from "The Art of Consulting Podcast." Until next time, keep working hard and stay unstoppable!


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215 | Owning Your Career, You Own You

Episode Highlights: -Andy discusses how you establish and handle career problems. Serve clients but you also have to serve yourself. NO matter who serves our paycheck. Learn the lessons and take care of our career because it is who we are. If you look at yourself and imagine that it is your business, you always make sure to provide a solution to your business problem. You will see the opportunity in client sights, the pain that they're feeling in engagements and you will support them better.


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214 | Disagree Without Being Disagreeable

Introduction: Welcome back to the Art of Consulting Podcast, where we explore the Having to share an opinion without being argumentative. Today, we'll delve into a thought-provoking experience from John Wooden and how he’s ways and approach from sports is being used in business. Episode Highlights: -John Wooden - caoch basketball best of all time. He have the best way of managing people and approaching problems and looking at things in a different way. "You can disagree without being disagreeable." -Conversations don't have to become confrontational when you disagree with somebody. -Our host shares a personal experience of situations where he encounters situations that he needs to disagree - like an approach or decision in a project. -Differentiated the Consultant and a contractor - consultants give solutions, plans and recommendations and from that they are open to agreeing and disagreeing situations. - To solve a problem, we need to put effort on finding a solution and come up with some level of knowledge in that problem. Be open on conflicting ideas. Its important to let other people to work it through the problem and host said that being open, you’re allowing other answer to the problem and there’s always more answer to a one problem. - Worked up and agitated self put yourself on mute. GIve yourself some time and some moment slow things down. - You are not there to make friends.Host shares that he does have problems with creating a boundary with clients.The most important thing is to treat each other with respect. Conclusion: As we conclude this episode of the Art of Consulting Podcast, we leave you with a powerful reminder: There are more solutions to one problem. Having an open mind to other conflicting ideas will establish a healthy relationship between you and the client. Thank you for joining us today on the Art of Consulting Podcast. Don't forget to subscribe, rate, and leave a review. We look forward to sharing more valuable insights in our upcoming episodes. Until next time!


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213 | Embracing Healthy Competition: Lessons from Sports to Business

Introduction: Welcome back to the Art of Consulting Podcast, where we explore the intersections of sports and business. Today, we'll delve into a thought-provoking experience from this summer, involving our host's daughter and her track and field journey. Through this story, we'll uncover valuable lessons about competition, sportsmanship, and striving for excellence. Episode Highlights: Lessons from Track and Field: • Our host's daughter participated in the US track Nationals, competing in multiple events, including high jump. • Despite coming in ranked first, she finished fifth in the competition, sparking reflections on competition and results. Acknowledging Excellence: • Our host shares a personal experience of neglecting to congratulate the winning athlete and her parents immediately after the high jump event. • This missed opportunity highlighted the importance of recognizing and respecting the accomplishments of others. The Competitive Landscape: • In both sports and business, competition is a constant presence. • Competing against accomplished individuals can push us to prepare better, acknowledge the process, and understand that results are not always within our control. Accepting Results and Maturity: • Accepting competition results, whether favorable or not, is a sign of maturity. • Learning to gracefully handle both success and setbacks is crucial for personal growth and development. Embracing the Journey: • Competition serves as a valuable tool for personal improvement. • Recognizing that competing against strong opponents makes us better can lead to a more resilient and mature approach to life's challenges. The Power of Congratulation: • Congratulating competitors and colleagues on their achievements demonstrates maturity and sportsmanship. • Building positive relationships in competitive environments can lead to better collaboration and growth. Conclusion: As we conclude this episode of the Art of Consulting Podcast, we leave you with a powerful reminder: competition is a part of life, whether in sports or business. Embracing competition with maturity, recognizing the accomplishments of others, and striving for personal growth are essential elements of success. Keep being awesome, and remember that competition is not just about winning; it's about the journey and the lessons learned along the way. Thank you for joining us today on the Art of Consulting Podcast. Don't forget to subscribe, rate, and leave a review. We look forward to sharing more valuable insights in our upcoming episodes. Until next time!


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212 | The Power of Helping Others: A Journey of Transformation

Title: The Power of Helping Others: A Journey of Transformation Episode Highlights: Starting from Humble Beginnings: • In 1993, after graduating from college, our host found himself working as an operations supervisor for a furniture retailer. • His responsibilities included managing the warehouse, office tasks like invoicing and sales processing, customer service, and deliveries. • The challenges of customer service and frequent delivery mishaps were draining, and he questioned his long-term career prospects. A Chance Encounter with Marjorie: • Marjorie, a colleague, saw potential in our host and introduced him to a life-changing opportunity. • Marjorie's brother, a vice president at Oracle, needed someone for a crucial role during maternity leave. • Our host's journey into the world of Oracle began, opening doors to a new career path. Lessons from Mentors: • Throughout his consulting career, our host had the privilege of being mentored by experienced professionals. • These mentors accelerated his learning curve, offering invaluable insights and guidance. The Importance of Giving Back: • Our host and his co-host, Cat, started their podcast with a mission to share their knowledge and experiences. • They emphasize the significance of helping others when the opportunity arises, even in small ways. • Personal experiences have shown that helping others can lead to life- changing transformations. Ethical Help: • The story of a colleague's unethical request reminds us that genuine help should be unconditional. • Manipulative tactics should be avoided when seeking or offering assistance. • The act of helping should come from a place of sincerity and empathy. The Ripple Effect: • Our host challenges listeners to make a difference in others' lives by offering support and seeking help when needed. • Life and career choices are influenced by the choices we make and the choices others make for us. • Giving back and being open to helping others can lead to a fulfilling and purposeful life. Conclusion: As we conclude this episode of Art of Consulting Podcast, we are reminded of the profound impact that helping others can have on our lives. The story of our host's journey from a furniture retailer to a successful consultant showcases how one person's kindness can change the course of another's career. Remember, being a giver, not a taker, can lead to a more meaningful and interconnected world. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories in future episodes. Thank you for joining us today on Art of Consulting Podcast. Don't forget to subscribe, rate, and leave a review. Keep spreading kindness, and we'll talk to you soon!


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211 | Mastering ERP Implementation: Insights from an OCM Expert - with Frederique Oberlin

**Podcast Title:** "Mastering ERP Implementation: Insights from an OCM Expert" **Show Notes:** **Introduction:** In this episode of Art of Consulting, we dive deep into the world of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementation with a focus on Organizational Change Management (OCM). Our special guest, Frederique Oberlin, an OCM extraordinaire with 18+ years of experience, shares invaluable insights and wisdom gained from various ERP projects. **Episode Highlights:** 1. **Understanding Organizational Change Management (OCM):** - Frederique defines OCM as the people side of a software implementation, emphasizing the importance of bringing employees along the project journey from the beginning rather than surprising them with a new system at the end. 2. **Challenges in ERP Implementation:** - The conversation highlights how employees sometimes create their own processes outside of the ERP system, known as "shadow IT," due to various reasons like system limitations or lack of training. 3. **Measuring Success in ERP Implementation:** - Frederique discusses key metrics for measuring success, such as assessing training effectiveness, tracking post-Go Live support tickets, and ensuring users are adopting the system as intended. 4. **Proactive Change Management:** - The importance of proactive change management is emphasized, including the concept of the ADKAR journey (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) and how it aids in preparing employees for change. 5. **Hypercare:** - Hypercare, the critical period immediately following Go Live, is explained as a time when additional support is crucial. Frederique shares strategies like deploying super users and providing a human presence for support, both in-person and virtually. 6. **Leadership's Role in OCM:** - Frederique advises leaders to engage in candid conversations with OCM experts, understanding the expectations and requirements for communication, training, and support. Leaders' active involvement in training can significantly impact the success of the project. **Conclusion:** Organizational Change Management is a vital aspect of any ERP implementation, and proactive planning, effective training, and leadership involvement are key to a successful transition. We appreciate Frederique Oberlin for sharing her expertise on this essential topic. Connect with her on LinkedIn Stay tuned for more insightful episodes of Art of Consulting as we continue to explore the world of ERP and business transformation.


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210 | Mastering ERP Success: Key Insights with Andy Fry

Welcome to the Art of Consulting, your go-to source for expert insights on mastering ERP success. Today we have a special guest with us, Andy, a highly experienced ERP consultant with over 25 years in the industry. In this episode, Andy shares invaluable insights into ensuring ERP project success. He emphasizes the importance of defining clear success metrics from the outset and keeping the project team aligned with a shared mission. Andy also highlights the critical need for project teams, both internal and external, to deeply understand the core business of the organization they are working with. Here are some key takeaways from our conversation: 1. **Defining Success Metrics:** Andy stresses the significance of defining what success looks like for your ERP project. He suggests moving beyond generic statements like "on time, on budget, within scope" and instead encourages creating a detailed and tangible definition of success. 2. **Shared Mission:** Establishing a clear project mission statement and ensuring everyone understands why the project is being undertaken is vital. Andy draws parallels with real-life examples, emphasizing the importance of everyone rowing in the same direction. 3. **Understanding the Business:** Whether you're an internal employee or an external consultant, understanding the core business of the organization is crucial. Andy explains that it's not just about what the business sells but identifying the primary revenue-generating functions and optimizing around them. By the end of this episode, you'll have a deeper understanding of the key factors that contribute to ERP project success and how to apply these insights to your own projects. So, if you're ready to master ERP success, stay tuned and let's dive into this enlightening conversation with Andy. Remember to subscribe to our podcast to get more expert insights on ERP and other related topics. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy the episode!


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209 | Ignite Your Mind: The Power of Active Exploration

"Ignite Your Mind: The Power of Active Exploration" Welcome to another episode of "Art of Consulting" with Andy and Kat. Today, we're diving deep into the transformative magic of active exploration and the incredible ways it can spark creativity and open your mind. In our previous episode, we touched upon the concept of creativity and how engaging in novel activities can create new synaptic connections in your brain. But today, we're going to delve even further into this fascinating subject. One key takeaway from our previous discussions is the importance of active participation. It's one thing to be a passive observer and witness something new, which can certainly have an impact on your mind. However, it's an entirely different experience when you actively participate in something kinetically. This hands-on approach not only accelerates your learning but also deepens your understanding. So, why is active participation so crucial? Well, it helps you develop new learning pathways and skills that you might not encounter in your daily routine. For example, we discussed how trying out activities like parkour can introduce you to unique coaching styles and learning methods, which can be incredibly valuable when you're in a consulting role. Different clients and industries often require diverse approaches, and the ability to adapt and pivot is a hallmark of successful consultants. Another important aspect of active exploration is the willingness to embrace new experiences without the expectation of perfection. Many adults tend to stifle their interests and curiosities because they're afraid of not being good at something right away. However, it's essential to let go of the need to excel from the start. Remember, it's okay to make mistakes and learn as you go along. Finally, we encourage you to reconnect with your passions and interests, even if they don't align with your current career path. Whether you've always been intrigued by cars, fascinated by butchering techniques, or simply curious about a wide range of topics, there's no harm in exploring these interests for the sheer joy of learning. You might just uncover a hidden talent or a source of happiness you never expected. So, in summary, keep your mind open and receptive to new experiences, actively engage in activities that pique your interest, don't be discouraged by initial imperfections, and remember that exploring your passions is a worthy endeavor in itself.


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208 | Finding Balance and Building for Success: The Art of Rest for Self-Employed Consultants

Introduction: In this podcast episode, hosts Andy and Cat dive deep into the significance of rest for self-employed consultants. They discuss the mental and financial aspects of taking breaks, setting rates, and building a sustainable consulting career. Whether you're a seasoned consultant or considering a career in consulting, this episode offers valuable insights to help you achieve a balanced and prosperous consulting lifestyle. Episode Highlights: 1. **The Need for Rest (00:02:20)** - Andy and Cat emphasize the importance of taking breaks, even for self-employed consultants. - They draw parallels between consultants and athletes, highlighting the necessity of rest and recovery in both fields. - Cat shares her personal experience of feeling recharged after taking a break and how it positively impacted her mindset. 2. **Visualizing Success (00:11:45)** - The hosts discuss the power of visualization and the effectiveness of vision boards. - Cat shares a story about how visualizing a reward helped her stay motivated during a challenging project. - They stress the idea that having a clear vision of your goals can provide the mental energy needed to overcome obstacles. 3. **Financial Planning for Consultants (00:21:05)** - Andy and Cat delve into the financial aspect of being a consultant. - They suggest calculating your hourly bill rate by considering factors like sick days, vacation time, and taxes. - Cat recommends basing your calculations on ten months of work per year and accounting for potential downtime. 4. **Setting a Floor Rate (00:28:45)** - The hosts explain the concept of a floor rate, which represents the minimum rate needed to maintain your desired lifestyle. - They emphasize the importance of factoring in expenses like taxes, insurance, and savings into your consulting rate. - Cat underscores that setting a realistic floor rate is crucial for long-term financial stability. 5. **Balancing Work and Personal Interests (00:35:15)** - Andy and Cat discuss the significance of cultivating personal interests and hobbies outside of work. - They stress that finding productive and enjoyable activities can lead to personal growth and a more fulfilling life. - Cat highlights the importance of trying new things to stimulate mental growth and well-being. Conclusion: In this episode, Andy and Cat stress the importance of rest, financial planning, and personal growth for self-employed consultants. They encourage listeners to prioritize mental and physical well-being, visualize their goals, and set realistic financial expectations. Balancing work and personal interests is key to building a successful and fulfilling consulting career.