We had the good fortune of connecting with Robert Hamilton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robert, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
The customer isn’t always right… and neither am I.
I joined the consulting world 11 years ago for one simple reason — I wanted to help people find answers. Doing this within the typical corporate structure was inefficient at best, with the best solution rarely an outcome. Whether it’s a process that needs reengineered, software selection or implementation, a staffing solution, a new revenue stream, or extreme cost cutting… I love working with people to find those answers. It’s hard going into a project viewed as an expert, as having all the answers, only to ask a lot of questions. Due diligence is extraordinarily important and often undervalued. Some clients look to you for the answer before ever showing up on site. There are also those clients who have an air of perfection… like why are we even doing this project if you already have the answers? That’s the beauty of a consulting project… we all get to grow; we all get to be better at the end.
Know what you don’t know.
When I go into a sales meeting or kickoff a new project, I try to set expectations of transparency and honesty. Let go of preconceived notions and assumptions, those will simply get in our way and lead to an unsuccessful and likely, more expensive project. Let’s have honest and open dialogue, let’s get ahead of the pitfalls and map them into the project plan and, ultimately, the deliverable. Let’s do our best to create value for the business.
What should our readers know about your business?
RJ Hamilton Consulting was founded in 2010… predominantly focused on financial and operational projects. I started with a few projects – interim CFO, operational design / business structure redesign, and Board services. The goal in starting the business was simple – how can I best help businesses add and recognize value. My first few clients were close friends.
Since then, I have had to overcome a lot of challenges. The staffing environment is ever-changing – finding the right talent for the project is never turnkey. Networking is invaluable to keeping a strong group of professionals at hand, but difficult to do when you are working long hours… which is commonplace in consulting. In the end, the one thing that will trump all challenges is being able to bring in interesting projects. Being able to stimulate your team keeps them engaged, happy. It makes retention or ability to rehire (if a contractor) much, much easier. It’s a glorious triangle – retaining the brightest talent, finding the best projects, and being able to staff those projects with the best people.
One major lesson over the last decade: When one door closes, another one will open. Don’t stay down too long if something doesn’t work out. Keep your options open and don’t be afraid to walk through an open door when you don’t know what is on the other side.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have known my best friend for nearly 30 years, so ‘best time ever’ would have to be exceptional.
We honestly do not get enough time together, often going 2 to 3 years without seeing each other. That’s the beauty of our friendship though, we can go so long without speaking and immediately pick up right where we left off. Nonetheless, my itinerary would include a heavy dose of nature: the mountains, conversation, and wine… just reset. The goal would be to soak it all in because we never know when we will see each other again.