IT/Management Consulting and Shared Leadership Training
Charlies story

It takes courage to open up and share some personal and financial information about my career past, present and (anticipated) future.  However my C.A.R.E. certification provides that courage and allows me to share the journey that led to the development of the C.A.R.E. program and some of the successes realized along the way as a result.  I share this with the hope of inspiring you to learn, trust, reach out and invest in my program, in your career and in yourself by becoming C.A.R.E. Certified in the workplace; your teammates are counting on you. 

The following statement is explained and re-stated further below in the text of my story.  However it's such a strong statement and one that I believe "wholeheartedly" that I wanted to share it here just in case you may not have the 20 minutes to read the complete story below:

There is no other training available anywhere that can substitute over 40 years of lessons learned from 22 fortune rated corporations and 9840 replays of those lessons to ensure I actually learned them.

 I’m 60 years old and 40 years deep into a successful Corporate career that includes lessons learned from over 22 corporations and counting.  I’m an experienced technology consultant, published author, speaker, trainer, radio host and change agent.  I’m also high school educated and officially diagnosed ADHD. 

That last sentence has allowed others to predictably profile and react in 2 different ways; 

1. I'm non threatening (to peers and co-workers) and can easily be passed over in the career advancement race. 

2. I have some obvious career limiting attributes with little upside potential.

I played into that thinking until I started to realize these 2 career limiting attributes actually gave me a huge advantage over others in my field and actually provided me with a very valuable "ah ha" moment which I'll share a little further into my story. 

In 2006 I began developing the C.A.R.E. brand.  My career was suddenly dropped into a very uncomfortable situation with some harsh realities that required (basically) a personal intervention.  I needed to re-evaluate my 40 year career, review my lessons learned and then somehow resurface new and improved.  Otherwise my 40 year career was in danger of coming to an end.  It turned out to be the best thing I ever did. 

C.A.R.E. (if you don't know by now) is the acronym for Courage to take Action Relevant to Everyone.  This shared leadership model was developed as a result of everything I’m going to share with you but just to keep going; in 2009 I published my first book and in 2010 received the president’s service award for shared leadership as defined within the C.A.R.E. brand.  Also in 2010 as a certified seminar leader I put everything together into my signature seminar; C.A.R.E. certification in the workplace; grow your career thru shared leadership.  I’m proud to say this seminar has been approved for presentation, content and market need by one of the premier seminar training agencies in the country. While others in the workplace were predictably profiling me as at best a resource with limited upside, I was now creating industry approved content; my content!  Content that proved my career to be the exact opposite, content that has sent my already successful 40 year career into the stratosphere and content that was going to start a workplace improvement revolution!

Net/net; today the C.A.R.E. shared leadership model; my model and the workplace improvement revolution is now 8 years old and even more valuable than originally delivered. 

How's that?

My seminar has gone through some adjustments in the past 8 years as the workplace and the economy consistently change. Therefore, as the world changes; the model changes along with it. THe C.A.R.E. model is now 8 years tweaked (often called C.A.R.E. 2.0), 8 years of career enhancing success and more importantly 8 years of training others to become C.A.R.E. Certified in the workplace. 

For me this has been life changing and I can't wait to go to work tomorrow! 

In the early days of the program, I was able to manage all of the above including speaking, travelling, teaching my seminar and hosting a radio show based on the C.A.R.E. model, all while maintaining my corporate VP position.  As the model grew,  it was starting to become too much; the C.A.R.E. momentum was surpassing the potential at my current job.

I left my Corporate position in early 2013.  I was as they call it "JD'd" my job was discontinued; eliminated. 

Wait; what? Out of a job?  What about all this C.A.R.E. stuff?  

Right, let me continue....

My tenure at this company ended 7 years after the genesis of the C.A.R.E. shared leadership model.  This model was developed by me as a result of being left to die by some of my previous mentors that relocated me to Ohio from NYC in 2006.  As it turned out, these same mentors that I trusted to have my back and who's coat tails I was holding on to had already left the company; before I even unpacked! So much for mentors and given the fact that I was still standing after they had all come and gone makes me realize I should've been mentoring them!  Anyway my entire network (my gang) either remained in NYC or were terminated by my Company for NOT relocating to Ohio like me. Now what?

I needed a strategy to attract new teammates, I needed some support, I needed a new network.  This time though it needs to be one based on trust, loyalty and partnership with my company (the one I chose to work for), AND NOT based on riding someone else's coat tails.  I started by really understanding what a "mentor" actually is, then I went on a search to find some!  Eventually I did though not who you might expect but mentors I keep close and mentors that "revolutionized" my behavior, strategies and career approach.  I share this mentoring approach (and my new mentors) in my book and seminar but for the sake of time lets just say I'm grateful for my new found mentors and the authentic strategies they have taught me. 

 As a result, I began sharing my subject matter expertise (just give it up, it's Company property anyway) with others at my new Company location, with the hope of them doing the same with me. Something like be the change you need to become and let your example inspire others to do the same.  I came out humble and  trustworthy but also supportive and very much accountable.  Pretty much the opposite of any previous workplace behavior model; it was always keep your company knowledge private, it's the only job security.  This sounds easy to say but to actually do, took some courage.  The good thing was I was being guided by the examples provided by my new mentors.

Ta da; Well what do you know, I had a winning model in the making.  In the process I went from being a resource, an expendable resource (like all those earlier mentors I had), to a partner, a go to person in this new location for my co-workers, new team and also the seniors that remained in NYC . 

Honestly thinking as a partner 8 years later; eliminating my job in 2013 was the right move by the Company.  I had been ready and waiting for this for a quite some time as my position was in fact winding down.  I'm now completely reinvented to the point that my behavior, my demeanor, even my likeability; in fact just the sight of me became my new found job security.  I can work anywhere, regardless of the economy.  I was ready.  My new mentors helped me develop the C.A.R.E. brand with an "M.O" of when the going gets tough, the tough stay and fight! and I had done just that for the last 7 years.  Prior to C.A.R.E. (the old me)  would've cut and run as far back as 2006 and most likely held on to the coat tails of some of those past mentors.  But things are different now; now with my C.A.R.E. certification, I realize company decisions are not only about me but actually include me!  I stayed, contributed and left no stone unturned in making a difference in my company even as 1 person.  But now it really is time to move on. If nothing else it builds character and creates opportunity.  

When I left, I was the technology manager (VP position) of a commercial real estate portfolio application that was "liquidated" as a result of both the poor mortgage lending practices of my company and the overall economy also caused in part by the poor mortgage lending practices of my company.  In fact prior to these poor Mortgage lending practices “hitting the fan” this portfolio was valued in the billions; which as the technology manager provided a high profile position within the company.  However after these lending practices were exposed and the majority of the portfolio was re-classified as "toxic" we couldn’t give them away.  OK so if job elimination was the right move as the application I supported was "liquidated", why couldn't the Company find another position for a C.A.R.E. Certified employee?  Read on but as far as my current position goes the position was eliminated based mainly on the poor lending practices of my Company.  

So much for “Corporate leadership!”

(kind of like the old twilight zone episode to serve man; turned out to be a cookbook!)

......Our mission is to serve our employees….. (ugh!)

Before I actually left the company, before it was official and my job elimination was still in the planning phase; I made a trip to NYC.  I actually had a paid speaking event outside of my job; I was representing "media" on behalf of my radio show which is another one of my successes since becoming C.A.R.E. certified.  Naturally this paid speaking engagement had me over the top.  Small business owners, authors, speakers, coaches and entrepreneurs were seeking my advice on public speaking, presentation and overall exposure to their target audience.  They were seeking my advice! Mine. 

Anyway while there for that event, I made it a point to meet with the CIO of my company.  I was always up front with what I was doing, learning and planning (another C.A.R.E. attribute; transparencey).  This CIO was good; he was always willing to listen; with interest. He always said keep me posted so here I was telling him of my progress.  He was new to the company when I was relocated in 2006 so he only new me from what he heard from others.  I was merely a resource back then but that has since changed.  I was grateful he set aside time to speak with me, especially since he knew my tenure with this company was winding down.  He also knew of all the (career reinvention) progress I've made not only for myself but my new team as well which was made up of on and offshore teammates from a 3rd party vendor.  He confirmed exactly that when he said he was both happy for me and also proud of me for all the progress I've made.  I’ve come a long way on the path of reinvention especially in the last 7 years.

He said he could bring me back to NYC in another position with the company in a moments notice because of my new found relevancy, all I have to do is ask. However (he said) I think it would hold you back, I think you should continue in the direction you’re going because what you’ve developed is too valuable to limit to one company.  Your mission should be to share this; your shared leadership model is one that everyone in the workplace will benefit from.  

(Well that was very nice!) and while we’re here I want to say that it’s OK to share future plans with company seniors provided those plans are not at the expense of others.

OK so I left the company in early 2013.  My CIO was gracious but I was past the coat tails era; it was time to step out.  At that time my pre bonus salary was right at $140K per year, up from somewhere around $110K per year (pre C.A.R.E. Certification) when I started with the company in 2003.  Yes it took courage to leave.

In my first year completly out of Corporate for the first time since 1973; the first year of selling, training, coaching and living the C.A.R.E. model we had our highest earning year ever as our reported income was just shy of $250k; and if I may add; with HUGE upside potential!.  

Who's we? 

Me and of course Eva, company co-founder, coach and soul mate but "we" is also our growing shared leadership network of support including the many C.A.R.E. Certified teammates I've trained along the way.  All of which provide great leverage and make the company we founded; our company The Visionop Group LLC much stronger.  VisionOp is a consulting, coaching and training company.  Our mission is to empower our clients (you!) to reach your fullest (but often times untapped) potential.  Of course our model is C.A.R.E. (shared leadership).  I'm proud to say we're executing all attributes of our business; we're consulting, we're coaching and we're training.  We're gaining momentum and recognition month by month, client by client, seminar by seminar, company engagement by engagement and testimonial by testimionial.

Actually, (going back to that previous company I just left,) since 2006, since my reinventing (or post C.A.R.E. certification) my income increased every year and my incentive bonuses on top of my salary really confirmed my new found relevance in the company. 

 My incentive bonus (high water mark) was 65K (bonus) in 2008. In the Pre C.A.R.E (pre 2006) days my incentive bonuses were topping out in the 10 to 15K range. In 2008 my Bonus was 50% of my salary. 

 I mention that one because those were bad times at my company; layoffs, off shoring, downsizing, bad press; everything you can imagine.  In fact that year I was even layered in my position but I was actually soaring and very much relevant to the success of my company regardless of my job description. 

I looked past my angry quest to become leader in title, and became a leader...of myself; through my behavior.  I became transparent with my subject matter expertise and started to lead from the bottom.  This attracted teammates to me like a magnet; teammates both on and offshore; both contractors and full time company employees.  The results achieved by my team as a result were off the charts; projects were now accurately estimated, everyone was contributing and more importantly had a say in the strategic planning of our team. They were now leaders too; of themselves.  My team went from "tell me what you want me to do" to "based on my understanding, this is how I believe we should proceed".  This model became inspirational!  I was becoming C.A.R.E. certified, taking everyone I came in contact with specific to my current responsibilities with me and was being financially rewarded better than ever as a result.  One more thing; I slept better too.  And just another point; we were the same people, the same previously unrecognized group but now united with the same motive; care (or C.A.R.E.).  With that one adjustment, we became partners.

C.A.R.E. certification in the workplace works!  Not in place of but in addition to everything else we bring to the table…..regardless of your job description!

OK so again 60 years old, no college and officially diagnosed ADHD.  Lots of success distracting variables BUT look at what this model has done for me!  Try and imagine what it can do for you with or without any success distracting variables; you can achieve the same type of career advancement, maybe director, CIO, business owner; anything you aspire to be.  At this point all you need is the willingness to be influenced and my ability in inspire.  Just imagine your day to day workplace behavior actually becoming your job security.  Imagine now being looked upon as a partner not meerly a resource!. 

Now this strategy has been great for me, but what about you?  What about the others my former CIO said will benefit from my shared leadership model?  How can I influence you right now to invest in me and this model but most importantly in yourself; be the leader you always knew you are but were never given the opportunity to actually lead. 

How?  I’m  thinking 2 ways; share a little of my actual background and also some of the actual seminar content.

Let’s go back to NYC 1973 where the village was cruising, the Yankees were losing and I was a computer operator at Excell Plastics.  I was 19.  I graduated High School from which I don’t remember 1 single thing I learned.  I never made it to College; “kids go to College to do drugs and get stupid” that was my family advice.  They did at least allow me to go to a trade school; I went to a computer trade school for a few months and the rest well…. Let me keep going…

BTW;  where were you in 1973?  George Stienbrenner purchased the NY Yankees from CBS,  John and Yoko formed a new county “Nutopia” and its national anthem was silence, Nixon admits to Watergate, Agnew resigns and Brezhnev visits the US!  Just to show you how long ago that really is: Kristen Wig, Seth MacFarland and Pharrell Williams were born in 1973.

Meanwhile in 1973 I was 19 and working in Corporate where (although I was (ADHD) all over the place, I unknowingly used it as my College.  Where did I go to College?  Workplace U and after 40 years of hard work and lessons learned;  I achieved C.A.R.E. certification in the Workplace.

Anyway (almost done) the workplace was my College; marketing, profitability, economics, technology and everything else in between ; all included in my curriculum.

Since then a lot has changed, in fact in my career as a technologist I’ve seen enormous mind blowing off the charts change in technology.  But not much in our day to day workplace personal agenda and covert behavior which (to say the least) can be at times toxic.  This needs to change, this is what holds us back and this is what separates resources from partners; believe it or not it’s us! We get in our own way. 

For 40 years I worked hard (just like you) kept my head down and did my job as best I could (just like you), BUT (but, but, but); I had an advantage, I never knew it but I had an advantage.  In fact I had 2 and they were both huge.  I had no clue about them but in retrospect this is what launched my 40 year career with lessons learned in over 22 corporations (since 1973) and has brought me to this moment so I can share it with you:

  1.  Early in my career, I didn’t think I could get anywhere within a corporation.  I had no formal education which was something all the (toxic) tough guys would bring up every time I offered up a suggestion.  So here’s an observation I had of which I’m proud of:  my peers and co workers never took me serious but for some reason the seniors in the company did; I always had good informal rapport with them.  As a result my career navigated to consulting.  I didn’t have to worry about peer pressure or office politics.  I just did my job and rode off into the sunset when finished.  I did this for 30 years and spent time in over 22 corporations.   
  2. I was ADHD.  Didn’t know what that was until recently but for me the symptoms were that my brain never shut off.  Every night when my head hit the pillow I replayed the entire day back:  how did I look, what did I say, who was reaching out, what were they thinking, where did I screw up, how can I improve, etc., etc., etc.  Want a metric on what every night means?  240 workdays per year X 41 years = 9840 replays.  Now after just about 10,000 replays, there’s a good chance I figured out how to get it right.

 (OK now really almost done)

So what did I learn from all those replays? 

  1. I learned from the replays that I really did accomplish a lot in my career since 1973.
  2. I learned mentors must be carefully recruited and not simply assigned.  I had many in the last 40 years and they hey all came and went.  As I mentioned earlier, I would’ve been a better mentor to them!
  3. I learned from the replays that under the radar I was a leader all the time; of myself.  Not so much in title but in behavior.  Otherwise I would’ve never made it this far.
  4. I learned (over time) the foundation behind my behavior was care (or C.A.R.E.) my secret weapon! 
  5. I learned my soft skills were equal in value (probably greater) than the hard (technology) skills required to do my job.

I just mentioned (5) lessons learned from my 9840 self assessing workday replays.  That’s (5) of probably millions.  I’ve learned many things over the years, everything my ADHD brain could take in and then spin it over and over until I eventually mastered it.  I even use this spinning wheel technique in my seminar during one of the many creative workshops. 

There is no other training available anywhere that can substitute 40 years of lessons learned from 22 fortune rated corporations and 9840 replays of those lessons to ensure I actually learned them.

Whew!  Honestly I get emotionally charged every time I get the opportunity to share my story.  That’s because it’s real, honest and authentic.  There was no outside research, no cutting and pasting words from other “leaders”, no approvals from anyone as to what I can or should say and what not to.  Everything that I present, speak about and train others about; every word, picture, graph, metric, prop, workshop…ALL MY CONTENT (my greatest asset) is a direct result of the 40 years of lessons learned in 22 fortune companies and the 9840 replaysof those lessone spun by my ADHD brain to make sure I actually learned them.

OK so… (and finally)

What exactly is C.A.R.E. certification in the workplace?  Rather than repeat this information, simply click here to learn more about the actual seminar but for now keep reading! 

C.A.R.E. is my award winning acronym for Courage to take Action Relevant to Everyone.  These are strong words and this is my signature seminar on shared leadership.  When you’re C.A.R.E. certified in the workplace you have the courage to take action relevant to others.  This means you deliver results for your company (the company you chose to work for).  However if those results has a negative impact on others; other people, groups, businesses, etc. then you must find another strategy.  YES, even if it means project delay!.

This is shared leadership, this is C.A.R.E. certification.  When care (or C.A.R.E.) is the motive, teamwork and leadership become one.

I’m telling everyone right now that when Companies realize the dollar value  C.A.R.E. certification the workplace brings; it will then become required training.

How do I know?......9840 replays and what I accomplished as a result.

So now what?

Well, this is an opportunity to invest in yourself as an individual with a desire to make a difference in the workplace even as 1 person.

This is an opportunity to invest in your company (the one you chose to work for) as a teammate with a desire to make a difference in the workplace even as 1 person.

This is an opportunity to take your career to a new level by joining the C.A.R.E. network and the workplace improvement revolution; your teammates, co-workers, peers and seniors are counting on you.

Please proceed with a sense of urgency, contact me today and lets go forward together! - Charliespeaking.