A monthly newsletter from the Rochester Professional Consultants Network.
From the President
Hello everyone, I am Devin K. Floyd. On July 1st I took over as the President of RPCN. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the organization. This next year is going to be an interesting one - I hope everyone is ready for an adventure!
As an organization, we have not stopped due to the pandemic and economic shutdown. Instead we have adapted and striven to be a leader and an example through these difficult times. We have made use of tools available to us [i.e. Zoom] to move our meetings online. We have created programs such as the “Drop-In” Clinic - where RPCN is providing pro-bono consulting services to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis. We continue to reach out to other organizations in the community to form alliances; recently we partnered with the Global Leadership Summit - which provides more leadership training options in the Rochester area.
We are also taking this time as an organization to step back, turn inward and strengthen our foundation. RPCN’s Board of Directors, along with the Committee Chairs, met over several weeks and put together a Strategic Plan for the organization that we will use as our guide. We defined 6 major strategies to focus on…
1. Sustain Education & Professional Development Programs
2. Foster a Stronger Member-Centric Foundation
3. Re-imagine Alliances
4. Enhance Community Presence & Recognition
5. Increase Revenue
6. Adapt to Ongoing Pandemic and Recovery
You can see the full Strategic Plan on our website here.
As a non-profit, RPCN’s staff is made up entirely of members who are volunteering their time. There are 12 committees which do all of the work behind the scenes to run the organization. It is the members themselves who create the enormous value RPCN is able to offer its membership and the community. I encourage every member to get involved and contribute to the cause. All of the committees would welcome and greatly appreciate the help! The more who get involved, the more we can accomplish as an organization, and the more you will get out of being a member.
We held another RPCN EHC Lunch -n- Learn on Thursday, August 20 at 11:30 AM on Zoom, and discussed Building Trust with Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits. We had nearly twenty attendees including a non-member and a first time attendee. The discussion was lively and centered around trust and how to gain the trust of the people we interact with by focusing specifically on Covey's sixth Habit – "Synergy.” After introductions and an overview of EHC, we started with a discussion about what Covey meant by the term synergy and how, when we seek out synergetic solutions, the whole becomes more than just the sum of its parts. We also discussed how integral trust and creativity are to finding synergistic solutions and how, unless each person involved in the team has an “ownership” in reaching decisions, the process may not be successful.
There was a good bit of brainstorming around the topic of how having a facilitator who can come to the session with an open mind is essential to having successful brainstorming sessions. So much so that it can be beneficial to have a facilitator from outside the team, or one with absolutely no personal stake in the outcome, to facilitate sessions involving important decisions. This should help to remove biases from the creative portion of the meeting. By seeking a “third way,” parties may find it easier to come up with solutions that benefit both parties.
We also discussed team building exercises and how having people approach tasks with a “confident vulnerability” helps to build trust. This is essential in reaching a synergistic result.
Believe it or not, but we managed to cover all that in less than 90 minutes!
To get more information about EHC, please contact the EHC team or join us on Zoom for the next in our continuing series of Lunch-n-Learns. On Thursday, September 17th, the EHC Lunch and Learn (led by David Powe) will focus on “Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation”. Intrinsic motivation involves doing something because it is inwardly rewarding to you. Extrinsic motivation involves doing something because you want to earn a reward or avoid punishment. Many companies rely on extrinsic motivators because they are tangible and manageable. We will delve into the tricky issue of how to foster intrinsic motivation in order to produce more engaged stakeholders and better results.
About "people that..."
Do you ever feel as though you are a piece of furniture? I hope not.
However... do you ever write about other people as thoughtheyare pieces of furniture?
"Who? Me? No, I'd never do that." Is that what you are thinking to yourself?
Yet, suppose you were to write (and I'm making this up, not taking it for a newsletter entry) "All the RPCN members that are interested may sign up...." then that is what you would be doing.
"That" is a pronoun that refers to inanimate objects... Furniture, buildings, Christmas pudding, the floor, all may be represented by "that."
"That" also applies to all non-human animals. "The dog that barked at me was scary." Fine. Well, not fine if it scared you, but grammatically it is fine.
It is people, us, who should be represented by the pronoun "who," simply because we are people.
The error is extremely common. Newscasters make it on an almost daily basis. I'm not sure that I've ever edited any RPCN newsletter in which I have not, somewhere, needed to change a "that" to a "who." No problem. That is what an editor is supposed to do. However, think about it. If you are referred to as "that" rather than "who" you are, consciously or not consciously, being equated with an inanimate object.
Part of RPCN’s Strategic Plan is to form Alliances with other organizations. RPCN Alliances are Strategic Connections that offer mutual benefit for RPCN and our connected organizations. RPCN Members have opportunities to expand their membership benefits by getting involved in an RPCN Alliance. Our Alliances seek benefits for RPCN as an organization, and for individual members, as shown in these objectives:
RPCN Alliances aim to:
1. Raise the Visibility, Image, and Reputation of RPCN as an “organization of value” to:
Startup & Practicing Consultants, and people Exploring the Consulting Profession.
People seeking help from consultants.
Influential community organizations.
2. Increase RPCN membership through association with Alliance Organizations (e.g. They provide referrals to RPCN and access to sources of new RPCN Members).
3. Provide opportunities to increase RPCN’s:
Collaboration with other organizations
4. Increase Networking, Learning and Business Opportunities for RPCN Members.
5. Expand Volunteer Opportunities for RPCN Members to showcase their skills while providing value to the community.
Some of our RPCN Alliances: (Lead person in parentheses. Contact them for more info).
Pathstone (David Powe): RPCN provides mentors for Pathstone business clients who acquire loans from Pathstone.
Simon Vision (David Bassett): RPCN provides mentors for University of Rochester Simon School student project teams. The teams help real-life clients (outside U of R).to solve business issues. RPCN has also proposed some of the clients.
Enhancing Human Capital (David Powe): This alliance with Floyd Tucker has evolved into an RPCN Special Interest Group. We learn how to use Floyd’s EHC material in our businesses. We also present ”Lunch & Learn” sessions for members and guests.
Global Leadership Summit (David Powe): We provide conference planning assistance. RPCN members receive discounts on conference fees.
SCORE (Tamara MacDuff): We cross-provide presentation opportunities and mentors. Some event discounts. Tamara is SCORE Rochester Leader & RPCN Past President.
There are other RPCN Alliances. We’re continually expanding RPCN’s outreach to benefit RPCN members and our community (and you can help with ideas and suggestions).
RPCN Alliances Committee: The Committee fosters theformation ofAlliances between RPCN and other organizations to achieve the RPCN Alliances Objectives. Contact Bob Lurz, Committee Chair, for more Alliances info, and how to access the opportunities.
Rochester Professional Consultants Network and Simon Vison Consulting Program looking for Kick Off our Sixth Semester Providing Mentors for Student Consulting Teams
By the time this article reaches you, the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business (Simon) will have begun the Fall 2020 Simon Vision Consulting Program (Simon Vision). At the same time the Rochester Professional Consultants Network (RPCN) will be starting our sixth semester of providing Consulting Mentors to the program.
The project teams were forced into holding virtual meetings with clients, mentors, and within their own teams last spring, which was quite a surprise as we headed into the semester. However, the students did a great job of adapting to the situation while still helping their client companies. I am expecting that this semester will see project teams meeting virtually again, although maybe we’ll get lucky and some face to face interactions may be possible as well.
Although we’re pretty well staffed for the coming semester, the program will continue with new projects and new project teams for the spring semester. During the fall we’ll be looking for additional people interested in being mentors in the spring and also in finding projects for the project teams to work on. If you or a client or associate have a well-defined project that could be outsourced, Simon Vision could be a great source to get your project completed. Projects are typically staffed with four to five Simon Vision consultants and a project manager. Ideally, projects in the spring semester last about 10 weeks. Longer projects may also viable. The leadership of Simon Vision will work with you to define a project that can be successfully completed within these constraints.
I’ll bring you updates on the program as the fall semester progresses.
In case you are unfamiliar with Simon Vision, the program is an effort to increase experiential learning opportunities for Simon’s MBA and MS students. It is a student-run program that usually has 4-5 student members per team. Each team provides consulting to (typically) a local small business for 8 - 12 weeks, i.e. one semester. (In the semester that follows, Simon sometimes has another student consulting team take over another project for the same company.)
The projects can be any business problem and Simon Vision teams have successfully completed projects focused on marketing, business strategy, financial planning, operations, and competitive analysis. Other have included reviewing ways to decrease seasonal fluctuations in sales, developing a financial plan to solicit funding, and exploring new marketing channels. As you can see, the projects can take on a wide variety of topics. (And did we mention that the student teams work for FREE!)
Participation in the program is voluntary for the students and is not part of the regular Simon curriculum. In addition to the RPCN mentors, there are a couple of faculty advisers who help the students run the program.
Projects are vetted by the Simon Vision student governing board and typically 6 – 15 projects are chosen each semester. For the spring semester, which will start in January, we are expecting 8 – 12 projects to be chosen.
Who are the Board and Committee Chairs
for 2020-2021? (formerly Officers & Committees)
RPCN has a team of volunteers who make up the Board and Committee Chairs. This group was formerly known as the Officers & Committees. These people work together to make RPCN successful. They not only assist the organization, but benefit from becoming friends, learning about others’ fields, often do business with each other, feel good about what part they play, and have a lot of fun in the process.
This page on our website has not only been updated, but has also been renovated to include pictures of each Officer and Board member. It’s worth taking a look.
The President and Vice President change each year as the result of an election. Many of the other members also change from natural turnover and appointments by the President.
To find out whom these important people are and what role they play is easy. Just go to rochesterconsultants.org, click on About, and the scroll down to Board and Committee Chairs. You will probably see some familiar names. You could be on the list, too! Just tell any Board member that you are interested in participating. There are many ways for you to help make RPCN even more successful.
Last month I wrote about Current Awareness. Here is an example.
What is Current Awareness and why should you care?
WHAT: Current Awareness is keeping up with changes, events, new information.
WHERE: Information can come from many different places: newspapers, blogs, journals, databases, etc.
WHEN: It depends on why you need the information and what you want to do with it.
WHY: It could be used to: alert clients about something that could affect their business
WHO: You can do this yourself if you have the right sources.
HOW: Let’s say you want to keep up on developments in the candy market. Your client is a producer of chocolate. His customers are big candy manufacturers. You find out by reading an article (in a professional journal) that scientists have discovered that chocolate can be used to treat and possibly cure COVID-19.
Here is a real example: A fellow law librarian carefully reviewed newspapers daily. One article was about the possibility of a strike of miners in a South American country. She alerted the partner whose client relied on this source to manufacture his company’s products. Partner alerted his client about the potential problem. End result: Client was able to prepare, law firm got more business, and all this made the librarian look good!
Not an RPCN member? You can join RPCN now to receive great benefits, including free admission to RPCN presentations, a listing in the RPCN Member Directory, and discounts to RPCN events. Click here for more information on joining RPCN.
Program Ad Sheets
At every RPCN meeting, and at our events and tradeshow booths, RPCN distributes the Program Ad sheets.
Ads are inexpensive and support RPCN. The cost for members to advertise is $20 for 2 months. For non-members, the cost is $40 for 2 months. The deadline to get your ad included in the September/October 2020 calendar ad sheet is August 15, 2020. Sign up for your ad here.
A note from our copyeditor:
Good day, RPCN members:
As you know, I “pre-edit” the RPCN newsletter before sending it on to Melanie, who puts the newsletter together. This note is just to help us keep things in order because the system sometimes becomes rather more complicated than it sounds here.
In order to help me to retain my sanity, and to avoid my stretching Melanie’s to its limits as well, would you please, if possible:
1. Get your copy of the newsletter to us as close to the 21st of the month as is possible. (It is much more efficient if I can edit them all over a short period.)
2. Put your name and “RPCN newsletter” in the subject line.
3. Make sure that the piece you have just finished writing IS the piece that you actually send us.
The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion.