Dieter Koerner, managing partner of T.A. Cook Consultants, believes in order to keep a good work/home life balance, you must be structured and work smart. Doing that enables what he calls “holy weekends,” which allow time to re-energize and get energy levels back up.
BIC Magazine recently visited with Koerner to learn more about T.A. Cook Consultants’ recent organic growth and the importance of finding talent in a
Q: What led to your position at T.A. Cook Consultants?
A: What led to my position was my experience with other consultancies — the range of work I’ve done on projects around the world. I work predominantly in business development on an international basis.
So far, my focus has been on Europe but, as our business has really started to blossom, I’m now going to concentrate on building on our recent success in the United States.
Q: What are the most important parts of your position?
A: The most important parts of my position are business development and developing key accounts. My day-to-day responsibilities include meetings with potential clients or with existing clients and following up on projects we’re running. So I will attend steering meetings to make sure our clients are happy and all of the requirements of the project are being fulfilled.
Q: Are you looking to grow in new markets or expand in current ones?
A: We are growing organically, so we’re focusing on developing existing clients and working with new ones where we can. Because we work with multinational clients, we try to develop our relationships with those clients across borders. A lot of our customers have similar issues but you can guarantee each one will have an individual flavor, which could be related to business model, culture or country. There are so many variables. Remembering there is no one size that fits all is crucial for expansion.
I’m not ruling out growth through acquisition in the future if it fits with our strategy. The only issue is the amount of potential candidates is not that large because we are a niche consultancy. So, we are not actively looking at the moment but if an opportunity were to arise, we would definitely consider it.
Q: How do you plan to address changes in the work force and economy in the coming year?
A: First of all, you have to be flexible. Some people in the industry are really nervous. They are still in shock from 2009, when business dropped off a cliff. Everyone thought, “My computer has shut down,” because there were no orders coming in. A lot of people still have that in mind. They’re still nervous and acting in a very conservative way. What we try to do is support our development with steady growth and demand for consulting services and keep a gradual, consistent pace.
We also try to engage new, talented consultants. As we are implementation consultants in a specific niche area, we really need people who have done the job before, either in a line function or at another consultancy.
Then, if you go for new talent, you have to advocate them. Methodology is easy to learn, but being good with people is vital because what we do is try to really implement change. You have to win hearts and minds, and change behaviors. You’re always in the firing line. You have to show you’re an expert so you are able to challenge them and motivate them to change.
Q: How do you maintain a good work/home life balance?
A: It’s not easy, but it is important. The one golden rule is to keep what I call “holy weekends.” I try to get the weekends off. You simply have to re-energize, to buffer up your energy levels. Another thing is planning. If you’re structured and you work smart then that should help you keep a good balance.
For more information, visit www.tacook.com or call (919) 510-8142.