(Every Friday, I am honored and delighted to turn this space over to Mr. Engagement, one of the world’s leading authorities when it comes to Engagement and its related intangibles.  I hope you enjoy his contributions to the conversation.  JG)

Dear Mr. Engagement:

I have been following your career for many years now and in virtually all cases have found your advice to be spot on.  I was did you come to become Mr. Engagement?  What drew you into the world of consulting and advice-giving?

And be honest.

Ralph Houk, Chief Executive Officer, The Balducci Companies


Dear Mr. Houk:

Thank you for your kind words.  (Although they did appear to include an unnecessary adverb: “virtually”.)  You’ve backed me into a corner by insisting that I “be honest,” so here goes.

One thing that drew me into the world of consulting and advice-giving is the fact that people like to feel that they live in consequential times.  Nobody wants to be told:  “What you’re dealing with are the things that people have been dealing with since the dawn of time.”  They want things that are new and shiny.  So while we used to call it “buy-in” and “motivation,” now we call it “engagement.”  That enables people to feel that they are on the frontier of something new as opposed to just re-hashing old stuff.

Here’s a second thing.  Rule number one of successful consulting is this:  “Whenever a client or prospective client begins a sentence with the words ‘Can you help me with...’, there is one and only one correct answer: ‘Yes.’”

You asked for honesty, and you got it.

Yours in Othership,

Mr. Engagement