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Press play above for "Nickels and Dimes" from Social Distortion's 2004 Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll and "The Chequered Flag" from Jethro Tull's 1976 Too Old to Rock & Roll - Too Young To Die. Isn't it grand...

Press play above for Pink Floyd's "Us and Them" video from a 1995 concert


My professional career has been mostly traditional...

Following college I started work as a design engineer in New England. After a couple of blizzards, I changed jobs and location to southern California where I worked for another big company in engineering, then manufacturing and then supply chain management. I got my Masters degree in '82. After 20 years in industry, I quit and joined Product Development Consulting, a small management consulting firm where I worked another 20 years.

In a very untraditional move, in 2019 as many of my friends were retiring, I updated my resume and sought a job where I could still work at home, but learn something completely new - marketing. I aimed at working in marketing long-term for the wine industry, but having no solid chops in marketing to show, I needed to learn. From May, 2019 through April, 2021 I was the Global Marketing Leader for New Product Introduction Launch Programs at Keysight Technologies, which is the second generation name change of Hewlett Packard's test equipment business. For almost two years, I learned marketing at a pace that I haven't experienced since college.

How do marketing people think differently than others? As an engineer by education and experience, I've observed that engineers think differently by always seeing problems from the perspective of solving them. Marketing folks see everything differently by finding what's right or beautiful, and then amplifying it. No matter what "ugly baby" product or service marketers are presented with, we dig deep to find the good in it. Not a bad way to look at life in general. So I'm feeling proud about becoming a professional marketer. Look out wine industry - I might head your way someday and in some way with solid new skills.

For now, I am retired and enjoying it immensely. I did my part for the business world for 45 years. To quote a great song by John Lennon, "I'm just sittin here watching the wheels go round and round". I can relate my situation to all of his lyrics:

People say I'm crazy
Doing what I'm doing
Well, they give me all kinds of warnings
To save me from ruin
When I say that I'm okay, well they look at me kinda strange
"Surely, you're not happy now, you no longer play the game"

People say I'm lazy
Dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice
Designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall
"Don't you miss the big time boy, you're no longer on the ball?"

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ah, people asking questions
Lost in confusion
Well, I tell them there's no problem
Only solutions
Well, they shake their heads and they look at me, as if I've lost my mind
I tell them there's no hurry, I'm just sitting here doing time

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round

I just had to let it go

In the mid-nineties, I took an excellent series of advanced leadership programs, dubbed "executive charm school" by some of us, through the Center For Creative Leadership. One aspect of their approach that rings true for me is that successful executives must balance four pieces of their life: self, family, profession and community. Many miserable executives do not emphasize self or community to the degree they do the other two.

This section of the site is focused on the consulting profession. Mary Lou and I also have a separate California Corporation, Mackey Group, Inc. for future pursuits.

Consulting - It's not as easy as it sounds...

Successful management consultants "think" differently than other professionals and they listen more effectively to their clients' needs. They are focused on providing value that can not be found within a client company. There is no shortage of hacks out there to give the profession a bad name (cartoon at right).

In 2000, I was invited to present my perspective on management consulting to an IEEE conference in Universal City, CA. Follow this link to view the slideshow which may have some useful insights for others within or thinking about entering the profession.

I have also included a page under this section with my most recent published article or conference presentation. Please check "What's new" to see when it is updated.

Consulting reference materials...

There are some excellent reference books on consulting which helped me when I was first starting out. This is a fairly comprehensive list:

Managing the Professional Services Firm, David H Maister (the best)

Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher & William Ury (also essential)

The Trusted Advisor, David H Maister (about building and maintaining the consultant - client relationship)

Flawless consulting: A guide to getting your expertise used, Peter Block (how to consultant guidebook describing ways of behaving with clients)

Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice, Alan Weiss (steps to developing & marketing a business)

The Secrets of Consulting: a guide to giving & getting advice successfully, Gerald M Weinberg (His definition of consulting: art of influencing at their request, usually they're seeking some sort of change, a down to earth entertaining look at how to deal with someone's request for influence and with client resistance)

The Consultant's Kit: establishing & operating your successful consulting business, DR. Jeffrey L Lant (the basics: what is a consultant, should you be a consultant, principles of networking, contracts, etc)

Be Your Own Sales Manager: Strategies and tactics for managing your accounts, your territory, Tony Alessandra, Jim Cathcart, John Monoky (addresses how to be your own boss, take on responsibilities, monitor your performance)

Teaching the Elephant to Dance, James Belasco (includes case studies, premise is orgs are like elephants, slow to change)

Marketing Your Consulting and Professional Services, Richard Conner and Jeffrey Davidson (message: focus on clients aches and pains)

Harvard Business Review - On human relations, Harper & Row (essays from over 30 authors addressing non-rational or human aspects of mgt which are often overlooked, counterpoint to standard scientific mgt tools)

How to Master the Art of Selling, Tom Hopkins, a sales trainer (covers topics such as prospecting techniques, pointers on asking questions of clients, etc)

Organizational Diagnosis: a workbook of theory and practice, Marvin Weisbord (hands on approach to learning what it takes to make an organization perform better)

Productive Workplaces: organizing and managing for dignity, meaning and community, Marvin Weisbord (Weisbord is an OD guru - book reviews theory and practice of change and includes case studies and specific how to instructions for involving people in designing new work methods, developing new strategies for Org improvement and building cooperation)

How to Select and Manage Consultants: A guide for getting what you pay for, Howard Stenson (a look at consulting from the other side of the table offering practical advice on how to select and manage consultants to help your organization, provides list of most common fears of managers who hire consultants)

Getting Started as a Consulting Engineer, DG Sunar (a quick read - 75 pg of the basics, focusing on important aspects of being your own boss)

Home Mackey Group, Inc. Consulting 101 Publications

Mackey Group, Inc. 2002 - 2021