What It Takes To Be An Acknowledged Leader: An Interview with Colin McAllister

We talk to Colin McAllister about his management consulting and executive coaching firm and he offers some tips on how to become a successful leader!

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    By Tiffany

    Tiffany studied Language and Economics, and now likes to write about business topics and conduct interviews with interesting people. She spends her free time looking after her plants and with her dog.

    After successful careers in Engineering, Start-ups, and Executive Management, Colin McAllister decided to launch a management consulting and executive coaching firm. From his experiences, he realized how much opportunity there was for businesses to become even better through impactful and actionable strategies, solid business models, and effective leadership. After all of his years of experience at Perspect, today he shares with Mailbutler some tips on how to become a successful leader!

    Hi Colin, nice to meet you! It is a great pleasure to have you as a part of our #mailbutlerstories. How did you become an executive leadership coach and management consultant?

    Hi Andrea, great question. As an engineer, I have always found solving problems with, and for others extremely exciting. As I advanced in my career, I was able to spearhead an international business in healthcare technology. This role tested my abilities beyond the technical side of the world and more to one of inspiring and motivating my team to a common purpose. I will be quite honest with you; I did not fare well on this side of the business early in my career. It was a new type of problem that I did not really have any training for, nor did it come naturally for me. 

    After serving in a few C-Suite roles and many international engagements, I decided to follow a dream and launch a management consulting firm. We offered services across several different disciplines including strategic deployment, organizational change management, business process improvement, etc. What I noticed in each of our engagements was that we were spending lots of time teaching organizations what we knew. However, we spent little time helping those organizations capitalize on the internal knowledge that they had both as individual leaders and an enterprise.

    It was this realization that inspired me to enroll in an executive coaching program. The learning gained here was truly life-changing. It was not an easy or comfortable process to go through, but the growth was undeniable. I truly felt like a new person who could at last, experience true peace and contentment. This personal transformation was so powerful that I turned my focus and purpose to help successful executives and business owners maximize success within their organizations in a sustainable and measurable way while achieving new hope and confidence.

    Wow! So, you finally got what you were looking for! You are passionate about inspiring executives and owners to discover and release hidden potential. In fact, you do so at Perspect. How do you help them?

    Perspect’s clients are highly intelligent, motivated, and successful leaders that typically have influence over many people. Even with their incredible successes in life, they realize that what got them where they are today, is not the thing that is going to take them where they truly want to be

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    Our process is structured, time-efficient, transparent, and simple. We are firm believers that no one can achieve sustainable change without the help of others. As such we place a heavy emphasis on the involvement of stakeholders. 

    1. In consultation with the coach, the leader selects 1–2 leadership growth areas based on behavioral interviews and multi-rater leadership assessments that identify their leadership strengths and bottlenecks.
    2. Monthly stakeholders provide a few practical ‘feedforward’ suggestions that relate to the agreed-upon leadership growth areas.
    3. The stakeholders’ suggestions and areas for development are incorporated into a monthly action plan that the leader commits to implement during the following month.
    4. The leader changes behaviors and perceptions through execution on the job.
    5. Leadership growth is measured quarterly and is based on changes in stakeholders’ perceptions.

    Our clients are busy and their time is their most valuable resource. Investing in coaching only makes sense if there is a guaranteed return on their investment. Our process guarantees results and our coaching fees are dependent on measurable leadership growth.

    Our process is used with more than 150 of the Fortune 500 companies and has > 95% success rate. At Perspect, our average ROI for executive-level clients is 39X their investment. 

    Our clients say the top ways they experience success in our program is:

    1. Shift from managing to leading through empowerment and trust
    2. Move from working on day to day tasks to aligning the team to an inspirational vision  
    3. Enhanced clarity of purpose 
    4. Authentic and sustainable internal and external influence 
    5. Enhanced leadership presence and brand 
    6. Strengthened communication, listening and conflict management skills
    7. Deeper and more meaningful relationships
    8. Experience appreciation, respect, and love as a leader and person
    9. Greater life balance  
    10. A true sense of contentment and peace 

    Everything you do sounds really helpful! After your years of experience at Perspect, where you have been inspiring and developing leaders, what would you say are the characteristics that define a good leader within a company?

    Great question, there are so many. A few of the most impactful characteristics I have seen in action are:

    1. Vulnerability/humility. If there is no vulnerability, there is no growth. This is especially true in a knowledge economy where the leader is no longer the smartest person in the room. 
    2. Self-awareness is critical for leaders, they need to have a clear understanding of what they truly value and what purpose they aspire to. They must take an honest look to see if people’s perception of them is aligned with their values. If not, they are likely to experience a significant gap in success and contentment. 
    3. Ethical integrity is critical for leaders in today’s age. We must be able to leave by example and do what we say we are going to do – and it has to be the right thing for the organization and the people – not just the leader. 
    4. Empathy is critical to successful leadership. If a leader does not have the ability to meet his people where they are, he or she will never be able to truly connect and as such unable to inspire and motivate these individuals to the goal of the organization. The fact is everybody communicates, but few can truly connect. Those that do, win!

    Interesting, and very true! What are the practices leaders should avoid to be successful?

    Not surprisingly these are directly linked to the previous question. The top three things I would suggest leaders avoid if they truly want to be successful are:

    1. Never assume you know more than the people that work for you, and certainly don’t behave like you do.
    2. Stop micromanaging and start trusting and empowering the people that you have put in place to move the organization forward.
    3. Don’t underestimate the power of recognition for the things your people do and more importantly the acknowledgment you provide for who they are.

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    Employees are an important and essential part of any company. How can leaders improve their commitment to employees?

    A leader needs to develop their emotional intelligence so they can find the space and ability to truly connect with their people in a way that creates mutual trust and confidence. If they are unable to do this then they will not be able to empower their people thus creating a sense of meaning and purpose for the employee.

    When we feel meaning we are energized, engaged, and productive. 

    And is there one “problem/issue” between managers and their employees that you see on a regular basis? 

    The number one issue we see with successful leaders is that they are used to doing everything themselves. It is this drive and determination that is partially responsible for their success to date. They unknowingly subscribe to something we call the success superstition, which basically states, “I am successful because of the way I do things, if I change I will fail.” The fact often is they are successful despite the way they do things.

    This belief system leads to micromanagement, lack of trust and empowerment, a work-life imbalance, and low personal satisfaction. For the employees, they experience minimal psychological safety in the workplace which destroys employee engagement.

    What would you say was your greatest success?

    This is an interesting question. I see the coach as a facilitator of a process and as such to success is not ours to claim. The client is the one that’s doing the heavy lifting and shifting perceptions on a daily basis, the success is absolutely theirs. With that said I wouldn’t be in this business if I didn’t experience great joy every time a client is able to achieve the goals that they set out at the beginning of our engagement.

    It is great to see what you think about your success!

    How do you use Mailbutler to improve your communication with your clients?

    Our clients referred to us as their confidential sounding boards and accountability partners. Mailbutler’s features such as email tracking and scheduling make this much easier for us. It’s simple for me to quickly look and see if an email has been opened by a client. I know they often get busy and miss these things, so this gives me a trigger just to reach out and ensure that they get the information they require.

    Scheduling is great because we do have regular meetings and contact points throughout the month, with scheduling we can make this “just in time” information for the client.

    We are happy to hear that! Thank you for giving us the chance to talk to you today and for sharing those interesting tips. We wish you all the best, Colin!


    If you would like to connect with Colin for a free consult you can book a time with him here


    Did you read the last interview of Mailbutler Stories, where we had the chance to talk to Jonathan Levi? If not, keep reading this interesting article “How To Become Your Superhuman Self".

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