Tom Marin, President of MarketCues, Inc.
I tried very hard three different times to join the ranks of the employee rolls. First as a high school teacher in my hometown where I was raised, Homewood, Illinois. Second as an executive at an integrated marketing firm in Chicago and then later as one of the vice presidents at a publishing firm in Orlando. In all three cases I was praised for excelling in my assigned area but there was always something that gnawed at me from the day I started until the day I left. I think it had more to do with who I was than what I was able to do, which is at the core of what motivates all of us to get up every day and do something great.
In-between my employment at the marketing firm and the publishing house I ran my own marketing firm for 20 years in Chicago. It was a successful mid-size firm that won national creative awards and was respected by those agencies we competed for business each day. That 20 years proved to be my happiest treasured moments where I learned from the likes of Aaron Buchman, our creative director who taught me how to tell the difference between a great idea and a lousy one. Or Don Osyp, our art director who taught me how important less was than more. And of course clients such as Rand McNally, Fujifilm, First of America Bank, and many more who taught me the value of value. To them I owe a debt of gratitude because taken together it gave me a barometer from which to judge everything else.
So in January 2005 I began anew with a firm I named, MarketCues that brings together a set of market forces of the type that the brilliant strategist Michael Porter termed the Five Forces Model and the cues that focus an enterprise on the difference between relevance and irrelevance. With these principles in mind and my then 30 years of experience I began my consulting career.
Then I ramped up my consulting work…
I had always wanted a way to assess an organization more quickly and beyond my gut instincts. For years I worked tirelessly on an hourly basis serving clients to the point my hours often exceeded the fee I was being paid. I used to say, that’s what I bring to the party. But this got old so when the market crashed in 2008 I took a year off with far fewer client assignments than the years before and designed an organizational assessment program based on the 575 organizations I had researched over 30 years. Then I had the program’s data programmed into a full-fledged software product we now call the SmartPlan360˚ Program™ that does in minutes what used to take me weeks. Today, our program is being used by businesses, universities, nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
Then I Met Nick Horney of Agility Consulting…
Through an introduction by Dr. Bob Prescott, someone I knew from Orlando, I met Nick Horney and was immediately taken by his agility work and systems. They perfectly align with our organizational assessment product and allow me to extend my coaching, consulting, and teaching into multi-year engagements.
I am currently working toward certifications of agility coaching, facilitating, and consulting and could not be more excited about what lies ahead. In all of the engagements I have had the privilege of working on, I can count on one hand the number of organizations that were not in need of leadership development. Because the market has been so tough for the past decade the companies that are left standing today have figured out how to manage their finances and technology fairly well. But people – their human capital – is where they struggle and this is where agility consulting can be such an enormous benefit to them.
My older, wiser career advice…
It is much better to do one thing better than anyone else than to try and do many things like everyone else. Pick that one thing that everyone has told you for years what you do best and just do that. Don’t try to be all things to everyone. In my case, it’s strategy development. And that’s why I became an agility consultant.