Good consulting is not smart talk;
good consulting is about taking smart action.


True North Advisory Group

In 1999, I started a boutique management consulting practice called True North Advisory Group. We worked primarily with clients who were regional in focus and based in the U.S and then branched out to include U.S. firms with national and international operations. We have also worked with firms based in Europe and Asia in a variety of industries, including investment banking, insurance, specialty chemicals, consumer products, and electronics.

Our approach is always customized. Our clients see us as ‘outside-insiders’ who will not recommend solutions that seem simple, even elegant, but turn out to be wrong. Our solutions are informed by the best current thinking in the fields of change management, strategy formulation and implementation, leadership development practices and action learning, among others, through my work in several venues with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Also, importantly, my GE corporate experience in strategic planning, business development, and corporate communications taught me to put a premium value on execution. 

This information outlines my experience, capabilities, and point of view.  I would welcome the opportunity to discuss more specifically how I could assist you in achieving your business objectives.


• We work with the client where they are.
• We try to ask the right questions, the tough questions.
• We believe that what you don’t know (learned ignorance) is important –
  that it drives the search for solutions to complex problems,
  the discovery of new opportunities and, ultimately, performance improvement.
• We help the client develop a strategic point of view.
• We help clients focus on one or two issues - the 80/20 rule.
• We believe that strategy is informed opportunism, driven by action,
  a process of discovery through prototyping. We look for “big” quick hits.
• We believe the sustainability of change is mission critical.
• We want to enact value in every encounter and believe consulting is
  more than delivering the final presentation.



Our three-step process maximizes and extends existing client resources


Discovery occurs through one-on-one interviews and often a customized management retreat.



This phase begins the solution-making portion of the client-consultant collaboration. It is the architecture of an assignment.



Delivery is the actual doing of the work. It is the launch and completion of a retreat, a project or a seminar. In the case of a project, the following would be typical.

Establish a close working relationship with the CEO and/or general manager.

Make the executive’s concerns and opportunities explicit.

Identify a core issue that is important to the organization’s momentum.

Develop a rationale to launch 100-day projects

(arrow pointed right)

Senior leadership establishes charter and commits resources.

Select the right team and define accountability.

Create work plan: Agree on time line, choose the right tools and methodologies.

(arrow pointed right)

Kickoff: Communication of charter to the team.

Assignments given to participants.

In-progress reviews: Regular meetings reveal progress to date and flag potential problems.

Project assessment: We de-brief on results accomplished and ways to reinforce and extend what was learned.

OUTPUT: Agreement on the core issue and the scope of the project.   OUTPUT: A blueprint for the assignment that exploits existing resources.   OUTPUT: Results achieved by project, and lessons learned by participants.


The following is a real-world list of concerns expressed by some of my clients.

• Working across business units to meet deeper customer needs • How to quickly fix costly operational problems
• Entering new markets • Project management of key business initiatives
• Growth through strategic alliances and mergers • Overcoming resistance to change
• How to build and maintain customer loyalty • Getting to the right ‘short-list’ of priorities
• Managing multiple service delivery channels
  (face to face, call centers, internet based)
• The depth of leadership
• “The basics”: achieving revenue, profit and
   productivity operating plan targets
• Creating more constructive dialog and work
  sessions at off-site meetings
• The clarity of roles and responsibilities in light of the
   need for organizational flexibility
• Developing productive ‘thinking partner’ relationships
  with their Boards

We believe managing change is a core competency. 
As one of our clients insightfully summarized the issue:
“Change is to management as gravity is to physics.”


“Double Vision”:  The New Executive Skill

We have found that successful executives manage change on two fronts.  They build tomorrow’s business today.  And still deliver operating results quarter by quarter.  They have the ability to focus on, and act in, two time frames simultaneously.  We call this mind set double vision.    

Focus on the present
Deliver on operating targets
Provide customer service
Get better results from suppliers
Manage core business
Focus on the future
Stage new initiatives
Re-think service delivery channels
Reduce the number of suppliers
Develop or acquire new businesses

In this new world, strategy, leadership and change are more complex.


There are No Cookie Cutter Solutions to Today’s Complex Business Challenges

Each executive needs to steer his or her organization through its distinctive sea of change.  Each must keep today’s business on course, while seeking to discover the business of the future. True North helps CEO’s and general managers chart and navigate both courses.  But our methods go beyond those of traditional change management firms. 

The Search for the Right Business Initiatives

We work with executives on strategy and organizational problems and on making today’s numbers--often in the same assignment.  We have seen the value of a well-crafted leadership agenda in such situations.  We help executives articulate their direction and develop an agenda that is clear and actionable. And then we help them build and launch the initiatives that will take the business where they want it to go.  A good leadership agenda translates the strategy for the business into 3-4 initiatives that can be explained in the board room and on the shop floor.

We believe a clear business rationale and action agenda is worth 20 IQ points.

What Makes Us Different?

Implementation is the acid test in business.  Executives don’t fail for lack of sound strategies. They fail because they did not execute.  We help clients execute.  We don’t rely on long, involved studies that require large commitments of money, time, and people. We have a bias toward finding ways to put strategy into action.

The centerpiece of our consulting model is to work with executives and their top teams to identify a clear  leadership agenda that drives specific action plans.  To make sure those plans get traction, we work with clients to set up a series of steps that produce concrete, deliverable items every 100 days.



True North Advisory Group

True North Advisory Group