Interview with Andrew Blum on His Recognition as a Top 25 Consultant

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We are thrilled to announce that our Founder and CEO, Andrew Blum, was named a Top 25 Consultant for “Excellence in Leadership” by Consulting Magazine. We took this as an opportunity to ask him about his journey in management consulting, what the award means to him, and what he has learned along the way.

Why do you think you were acknowledged with this award? What does it mean to you?

It is always an honor to be acknowledged with an award like this, especially when you are recognized in the company of leaders from some of the world’s most successful consulting firms. So, for me, this is validation that Trium’s original hypothesis – that for true evolution to take place, we had to be working with leaders in an integrated way at both “the head and heart” level – was accurate. For many years, only the most progressive companies would have acknowledged the need for the kind of work that we do. In the beginning, we spent a lot of time trying to convince people that how leaders think and behave is a key, if not THE key factor affecting business performance. But now there is widespread agreement in our approach, so we no longer have to convince anyone. It’s become the norm, and in fact, many of our competitors are emulating our approach. I’m proud to say that we pioneered the integration of strategy and leadership as a fundamental value proposition for management consulting.

Can you talk a little about the insights and experiences that led to your founding Trium?

When my partners and I founded Trium, it was based on collective and individual revelations that what we’d been delivering in traditional management consulting firms – PowerPoints with piercing strategic insights and lots of charts – left major issues on leadership, team dynamics, and organizational culture unaddressed. And therefore, it felt like we were promising to help clients evolve and improve their organization’s performance, yet we knew through experience and observation that we were only solving half the problem. A brilliant strategy that is delivered into a team that doesn’t trust one other…that isn’t having honest conversations with each other…that has a culture that isn’t really appropriate for the strategy being recommended…is doomed to fail. So, I got very interested in wanting to do something that had real integrity and truly drove change. My experience in the Marine Corps, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), and the personal development work I was involved in exposed me to methodologies that DID help address those issues of trust, cohesion, authenticity, and honesty. At that time, there were team-building shops and strategy shops and never the two shall meet. So, our pioneering insight was that by integrating the human and team dynamics side of the equation with the hard business analytics that came from traditional consulting, we would have a truly impactful solution.

What inspires you most about being a management consultant?

What is really special about being a management consultant is that we are often invited directly into the office of the CEO to talk honestly about the biggest issues facing the company. In that regard, we have a unique opportunity to really help enable change and that’s an incredible privilege. And, as advisors and trusted consiglieres, we have a powerful platform for driving that change across many organizations, not just at single companies. Right now, for example, Trium is serving 30 clients and therefore we’re having an impact on 30 CEOs and 30 companies, and by extension, hundreds of thousands of employees. So, in any given year, we literally have the ability to positively influence millions of lives.

What is the most important lesson you have learned through this experience?

The single most powerful point of view you can have is that all change starts by you taking yourself on. My friend and mentor, Byron Katie once said, “If I think you are the cause of my suffering, I am insane. It’s what I’m thinking and believing about you that is the cause of my suffering.” If you can really understand this…if you can see that every point of stress, every point of frustration, every point of anger stems from your own mind and thoughts, then you have the agency to create change. Most people focus on creating change outside of themselves, but this is very difficult unless you start by first changing yourself and your thinking or “mindset.” So, where we uniquely work with our clients is not just on the business challenge, but in helping them to gain control over their internal world so that what they manifest externally is more cohesive and thoughtful. Because if I take full responsibility for my thinking and my behavior, then I have an unlimited range of actions available to me. In the absence of that, I am trying to lead change without really understanding the process of change. When leaders REALLY get this concept, all challenges become amazing opportunities.

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