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About Tony Mulkern

Tony specializes in the development and delivery of leading-edge executive coaching, executive launch and leadership development programs. He is founder and President of Mulkern Associates, a Los Angeles-based consulting services firm. All articles in the Executive Compass are the original work of the author in the by-line, not ghost-written or purchased elsewhere, and copyrighted by Mulkern Associates. Articles by Tony Mulkern are based upon issues his clients have struggled with in the over 25 years he has been an Executive Coach and consultant to upper level management in a wide spectrum of industries, from small start-ups to Fortune 100s, public and private organizations.


James Madison, fourth President of the United States and one of the drafters of the Constitution, famously said that no limits on government would be necessary if we were ruled by angels.  Of course, we know better regarding the human capacity for wrong-doing.  Yet when academic advisers to management write about how leaders should exhibit great trust, it is almost as though they think that all employees and co-workers really are angels. One example is

By |June 10th, 2019|Categories: Leadership|


Editor’s Note:  Team Formation, the topic of this article, is the sixth of the Six Engines of Entrepreneurial Ascent®, which are detailed at https://mulkernassociates.com/leadership/six-engines-entrepreneurial-ascent. Everyone in business accepts without question the critical importance of teams and teamwork.  The terms are treated almost with reverence.  Yet much of the time, I respectfully submit, we do not seem to know what we are talking about.  Some examples: President Trump has said repeatedly in speeches that all Americans

By |February 21st, 2019|Categories: Leadership|

Leading Lawyers

Editors note:  The following article co-authored by Tony Mulkern and Cynthia Flynn, Esq., appeared in the February 2019 edition of Los Angeles Lawyer, the magazine of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.  Cindy Flynn is the founder and managing partner of Hackler Flynn & Associates, a boutique law firm in Los Angeles and Irvine that focuses on employment defense.   In the past two decades, various changes in the practice of law have created strains on law

By |February 13th, 2019|Categories: Leadership|


By Tony Mulkern Discussion about accountability is as much a part of executive conversations as goals, objectives, standards, and bottom line.  It is also seems among the most difficult concepts to define or make stick.  Patrick Lencioni, author of the outstanding book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, considers one of the most difficult tasks for members of an executive team is to hold one anther accountable. Of course, he is right.  I have seen

By |February 9th, 2019|Categories: Leadership|


By Tony Mulkern Jeff Bezos, founder, chairman and CEO of Amazon, and the richest person in the world, recently said that he wants his employees to “be afraid” and to “wake up every morning terrified.”  Presumabaly he was exaggerating, because Bezos knows something about what motivates achievement, and terror is usually debilitating.  What he is referring to is the fifth of the Six Engines of Entrepreneurial Ascent®, namely, Sustaining a Sense of Urgency, which is

By |November 17th, 2018|Categories: Leadership|

Do You Inspire Others?

By Tony Mulkern If you like what you read here, contact me to learn about the Leader's Dashboard. It is a great tool that will show you how to inspire others and stay inspired. Contact me at ajmulkern@sbcglobal.net or at 818 249 0147. UNLEASHING INSPIRATION is the fourth engine of entrepreneurial ascent. The term itself suggests that there exists an energy in people that is restrained, held back, and that if the leader can liberate

By |July 12th, 2018|Categories: Leadership|

In Clear English, How Does Your Company Make Money?

By Tony Mulkern TRIGGER WARNING:  If you already have Mission and Vision Statements which are full of vague “solutions” jargon, you may find parts of this article offensive. INVITATION:  If you would like to improve your Mission and Vision Statements, or write them well in the first instance, you will likely find this article very helpful. What is your mission?  What is your vision? Many entrepreneurs seem not to know the answers to these two

By |May 27th, 2018|Categories: Leadership|

Executive Hiring: Getting it Right

The high turnover in President Trump’s White House staff illustrates that hiring the right person for the job does not come naturally even to the most accomplished, entrepreneurial executives.  In fact, success in deal-making and wealth generation can lead to over-confidence in one’s ability to make good selections.  Yet without the right team, the leader is powerless.  This is the reason Hiring Right is the second of the Six Engines of Entrepreneurial Ascent®. The President

By |April 5th, 2018|Categories: Leadership|

TRUST–An Engine of Ascent

  A previous article outlined the Six Engines of Entrepreneurial Ascent®.  Over the next six articles, each of these engines will be discussed, one by one, and this one deals with the first, Trust. Warren Buffett recently gave some sound advice on how to hire well: screen for intelligence, energy, and integrity.  In his characteristically terse wit, he added that if you hire someone who has intelligence and energy but is not ethical, you will

By |March 9th, 2018|Categories: Leadership|

The Six Engines of Entrepreneurial Ascent®

By Tony Mulkern Ever wonder why some entrepreneurial companies take off like rockets, while others struggle to gain at best modest “altitude,” while still others fizzle out or never get more than a few feet of the launch pad?  When it comes to actual rockets that hurl satellites in orbit, travel to the moon, or send missions to the other planets, they require multiple, high thrust, first stage engines to get off the ground and

By |January 18th, 2018|Categories: Leadership|