Baltimore Business Coach Jack Schammel describes how one company's challenge placed him on a path to help other business owners create their ideal business and dream lifestyle.
Have you ever been a part of a committee or project team and thought to yourself, “Mary is an okay leader, but I know I could do a much better job.”? Admit it, we’ve all had that nagging feeling at some point in our lives.
The difference in my case is that, although, I’ve never expressed those words out loud, my nature led me to be as supportive and constructive as possible to help the group succeed, to the point that it wasn’t long before I was recruited to be the group’s leader.
I first got that feeling when I was still a teenager on a volunteer committee for the Baltimore City Fair, an annual three-day event in Baltimore City—it wasn’t long before I was asked to chair the committee. It happened again when I became a Boy Scout District Committee member. And again, when I attended a meeting of our Homeowner’s Association. And numerous other times, including being asked to facilitate a CEO Peer Group that I had recently joined.
In each case, I was invited to take a leadership role and it just seemed like a logical progression. This time, though, there was no one to ask me to take a larger role. This time, it was up to me.
My consulting career began in the early nineties back when it seemed like the only people who had coaches were professional and Olympic athletes. Certainly, Business Coach was not a role that had much prominence in the minds of most executives. It was a pretty prescriptive atmosphere—I would make recommendations and the client would generally ask for help in getting the rest of the organization to understand and adopt the changes. Rarely did CEOs see that their behaviors needed to change in order to assure the success of the organizational changes they sought. Throughout it, I had a nagging feeling that I needed to do more to guide the CEO but hadn’t yet connected the dots and arrived at a workable approach.
The work was still enormously rewarding. My focus on strategy, quality, and leadership allowed me to work with companies in diverse industries here and abroad. It was heady stuff, guiding a major business unit from losing nearly half a million dollars annually to profitability in less than a year. But there was something missing. Many, if not most, changes seemed to lack any kind of permanence. Where were the behavior changes that would enable the improved ways to survive beyond the first few months? A lot had to do with how attuned the leadership was with the behaviors they needed to model from that day forward. This was a rare occurrence indeed.
I eventually accepted a very attractive job offer from one of my clients which led to more than a decade of adventures spanning several industries before my question would be answered.
To read the rest of the story, please see Part II.