Frequently Asked Questions

How is Tom Irwin qualified to guide me up the mountain?
Tom is proficient in survival and rescue techniques, hazard assessment, rope management, and climbing strategies. He demonstrates courage, endurance, and skilled movement on rock, on ice, and in the boardroom. He has a proven safety record and an M.B.A. in Finance. Tom has worked with companies in all conditions: on life support, rescued by other companies, in the throes of mutiny, in the midst of transferring leadership or ownership, and companies always true to the trail.

What is a "Promises Made/Promises Kept" contract?
Negotiation and compromise rarely lead to much more than an acceptable agreement. But a collaborative effort results in a fully embraceable commitment. Tom Irwin encourages clients to develop a plan of action in cooperation with key management staff. Members of the group agree to assume specific responsibilities and to account for promises made to each other. Companies that draw up and fulfill individual contracts based on these promises will reach the next level.

I'm interested in hiring Tom. What can I expect from our first meeting?
You can expect NOT to pay for Tom's time at the first meeting. (But travel and lodging expenses may be necessary.) In this assessment session, you will discuss financial concerns about your business, urgent issues, company identity, core competencies, niche expertise and client base. And your willingness to make changes in your company. If you decide to work together, Tom will ask you to sign a letter of intent based on negotiated outcomes and month-to-month compensation.

What happens after the initial meeting?
In subsequent sessions, Tom will meet with senior management and staff. He'll secure an agreement between members of the group to develop an honest evaluation of the current state of the company: financial and staffing issues, new business prospects, and secondary business concerns. Then Tom will suggest a work plan, which is dependent on participation and accountability. The plan includes concerted tangible steps to stabilize or grow the company and a road map to improve business performance. Unlike many other consultants who produce a plan and leave it for management to read and implement, Tom supports the execution of the plan and provides third-party oversight.

What does Tom mean when he talks about finding the light in the center of the room?
Tom believes that management's collaboration with staff is vital to the development of a sense of unity in the company. When everyone understands the goals and is personally committed to the outcome, then business performance and morale improves. When employers and employees collaborate, they create synergy, which is accompanied by an enthusiasm that often borders on euphoria. That is the light in the center of the room.

I hired a consultant once and my company isn't any better off. Why should I hire Tom Irwin?
Maybe you shouldn't. Tom wants a client with a genuine belief that the company can be improved. A client who's serious about making his company better. Are you willing to collaborate to find solutions? Are you willing to draw up individual contracts with your employees to assign responsibilities and make everyone accountable to each other? Willing to enforce the contracts? If not, you shouldn't hire Tom—because he wants a willing client.