CrackerJack Consulting Podcast

CrackerJack Consulting Podcast

Successful leaders of boutique consulting firms share their advice for how to build a firm. In the CrackerJack Consulting Podcast, David A. Fields interviews people who have built inspiring, impressive consulting firms and teases out how they solved the critical challenges that could have stymied their growth. Every episode comes with a prize – a valuable infographic, worksheet, framework or other tool that draws from the podcast and you can use to help your consulting firm make progress. The podcast is specifically for leaders of boutique consulting firms (i.e., firms roughly $2m – $100m/year); however, if you have a smaller or larger practice, you may still find the episodes interesting and useful.


January 19, 2024 31 mins

More and more clients are turning to giant staffing firms for consulting capability. Firms like Graphite, BTG, Infosys, and Toptal present real competition for your consulting firm. I dug into this challenge and how to overcome it with Mark Piro, the Founder and Managing Partner of Affusion Consulting.

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If your executive team consists of multiple people (e.g., practice leads, or functional heads) or you have multiple equity partners at your firm, it's shockingly easy for that small group to have divergent visions and plans for the business. I delved into that situation with David Burnie, founder of Burnie Group.


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On your journey down the yellow brick road of consulting firm leadership, you've probably encountered the occasional result (or person or team, or practice area) that falls short of expectations. Or, perhaps you're post-merger/acquisition and the evil spell of disorganization has hit your firm. In either case, it's time to visit a wizard of consulting firm leadership and operations: Kurt Brykman. I did, and thi...

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Consultants work hard. Very hard. Sometimes too hard, especially when there's a spike in project demands and you have trouble finding talented people to add to your team. The inevitable result? Burnout. Unhappy consultants quit, which leads to more pressure on the remaining team and more burnout and a vicious burnout cycle. I addressed this topic with Robin Nasatir, who was the CEO of Cliff Consulting and exper...

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January 19, 2024 46 mins

Ask any successful boutique consulting firm leader what the number one success factor was in building their firm, and they'll say, "culture." Great. But what if your firm's culture isn't strong? Or, what if your culture is downright broken in some ways? That's an easy problem to run into, particularly if you've been involved in any acquisitions. To lead us in an exploration of these questions, I turned to Tom M...

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January 19, 2024 40 mins

Scaling. That's a big topic which is on the mind of virtually every owner of a boutique consulting firm. How do you grow the firm and, especially, how do you grow it past yourself or yourself and the other, original founders? We hit that question head-on in this podcast with Matt Pieniazek from Darling Consulting Group.


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Most boutique consulting firms bemoan the paltry awareness of their firm compared to large, well-known consulting firms. You can, however, build very high awareness in your target market, as demonstrated by the rapid emergence of Umbrex as a competitor to GLG, Catalant, Business Talent Group, a-connect and similar businesses.

That’s why this episode dives into the whys and hows of building awareness with the perfect guest: Will Bac...

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As you expand your consulting firm, you quickly find that some employees are good at delivery but don’t have other, critical consulting skills. In particular, some delivery mavens lack the Business Development skills and/or ambition typically required to reach the top of a consulting firm’s ranks. How should you manage the career path of those team members?

That’s the question I explored with Erin Anderson, the Chief Operating Offi...

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As soon as you have a team working at your consulting firm, you face the tension between individual and team performance. Individuals want to be rewarded for their efforts and don’t want to carry underperformers, yet your firm succeeds or fails as a group in the eyes of your clients. To tackle this critical topic, I talked with Joel Kallett, the CEO and Managing Director of Clearsight Advisors.

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You know that to build your consulting firm, you need a handle on the vital signs that indicate how your firm is performing and where it’s headed. That's particularly true when it comes to measuring the finances of your firm. That's why I was excited to talk with Jeff Oskin, President and CEO of Jolt Consulting Group (now Forcivity, an Apps Associates company). Jeff has an outstanding, simple tool for tracking his firm’s financial ...

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This episode delves into one of the most important factors that separate successful boutique consulting firms from firms that work and try hard but struggle to grow. The perfect guest joins me for this discussion: Allan Platt, CEO of Clareo.

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If there’s one topic that seems to come up in every conversation with a successful leader of a boutique consulting firm, it’s the culture of their firm.

So, here’s a question for you:

Can you turn your culture into a competitive advantage that you can scale as you grow? 

That’s what we explore today with Mike McLeod, COO of Integrated Project Management.


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