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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.

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|

WHAT IS YOUR HOLIDAY MESSAGE?

Year-end holidays starting with Thanksgiving are the times for sending messages of gratitude, goodwill, wishes for happy holidays, happy and successful New Years, etc. to clients, customers, employees and various business partners and vendors. Mostly they are mass-produced and -printed, and in a business context are of dubious value.  For example, how many beautifully-designed holiday cards are sent to executives with scarcely a personal signature, to be opened by an assistant and then taped to

By |December 2nd, 2017|Categories: Leadership|

Can You Sell Your Business When the Time Comes?

If you own a business, you plan to sell it sometime in the future. Unless the sale will be to a family member for a nominal amount, your expectation is probably to gain a substantial monetary reward for all your years of hard work, risk, and personal sacrifice to build a valuable enterprise.  Unfortunately, the odds are not in your favor. According to Department of Labor statistics, of all the private companies put on the

By |October 18th, 2017|Categories: Leadership|

Can You Professionalize and Stay Entrepreneurial?

Every leader of a growing and successful entrepreneurial firm, with its informal and loose management controls, will inevitably be advised by consultants that as soon as possible the enterprise should become professionally managed.  This transformation, it is implied, is the formula for future growth and success, not to mention survival.  My experience is that this can become a dangerous illusion. Some brief definitions: entrepreneurial firms are privately held, founded by an entrepreneur, and tend to

By |February 13th, 2015|Categories: Leadership|

Waiting for Winds to Fill the Sales

     The economy essentially flat-lined in the first quarter with a growth rate of 0.1%, notwithstanding the addition of 288,000 jobs in April and the fact that the overall outlook for 2014 remains positive.  In this slow recovery, the sense of frustration experienced by many businesses calls to mind a scene from one of those adventure movies with tall ships from the 18th or 19th century, such as Master and Commander, one of my favorites. 

By |May 8th, 2014|Categories: Leadership|

Will Your Successors Be There when You Need Them? Lessons from the Trump Empire on Orderly Transitions

Donald Trump made headlines again last Fall when he announced that instead of naming one of his three eldest children as heir to his fortune, as would have been customary, they will all share equally in ownership and responsibility in leading his multi-billion financial and real estate empire.  Also notable is how carefully he and they prepared for this decision, since each of the heirs has contributed significantly to the family brand and has been

By |March 28th, 2014|Categories: Leadership|

Sales: What is Myth, What is Reality?

No one buys the product or service your organization provides, unless someone sells it, whether this be the necessities that sustain life or the most refined intellectual creations. If someone is exchanging their money for what you sell, someone else persuaded them to do so. Because successful selling is so fundamental to business and the economy, Mulkern Associates recently developed a sales training seminar based upon many years of successful sales experience, a synthesis of

By |June 20th, 2013|Categories: Business, Sales|

Hedging High Dollar Investments in Executives

Would you be willing to make a six-figure investment on behalf of your company that had about a 50% chance of failing, especially if failure would cost you many times your initial investment? Very likely you would say, “No way,” but may be surprised to find that corporations actually do it quite frequently. It happens when they hire new executives. According to studies cited by Michael Watkins in his book The First 90 Days, 40%

By |April 7th, 2013|Categories: Leadership|