We talked to Mark Fitzsimmons on how 360 Degrees Management is a management consulting platform, and this is what he had to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mark Fitzsimmons: Thank you for asking. We’re managing through the Covid-19 pandemic and are grateful to have remained healthy.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded 360 Degrees Management?
Mark Fitzsimmons: After having worked in Fortune 150 companies for over 20 years, I had gained extensive experience leading the development and execution of improvements to operations, quality, marketing, human resources, and customer/user experience. I saw an opportunity to leverage this experience and help businesses that could benefit from my unique experience and training by improving their business and, ultimately, their financial performance. From an educational standpoint, I earned a B.A. in Organizational Psychology and an M.B.A. in Accounting. Along the way, I’ve also become certified in Agile Development and as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. I’ve combined this background to help the businesses we work with generate improvements through a fusion of technology, behavioral science, and data analytics.
How does 360 Degrees Management innovate?
Mark Fitzsimmons: We have a relentless commitment to improving our work and how we help people. More specifically, here are a few things we are doing:
1. Education – there are so many great opportunities to learn, both formally or informally.
2. Networking – with others in our network and by expanding our network.
3. Industry functions – although we can’t do these in person, there has been an explosion of online industry and knowledge base events that we are participating in.
4. Relationships with thought leaders – whether by reading their publications or listening to their podcasts. We’re paying attention to the latest research.
5. Listening – learning what the Best in Class organizations are doing, regardless of their size or industry. Lessons are often transferable, and we try to find opportunities to pass along those lessons.
The reality is that as much as we all want to disrupt the industry we compete in, we can often make more significant gains by iterating incrementally and improving what we do in an organized, purposeful way. Now, if we identify an opportunity to disrupt what’s happening by introducing a new product or service, we’ll certainly try to do that, but those opportunities are very rare.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mark Fitzsimmons: All indications are that the way we operate our business has permanently changed from the perspective of interconnectivity. The trend towards enabling people to work remotely and e-commerce constituting a foundational component of every business have accelerated at a dizzying pace during the coronavirus pandemic. We have all been challenged to develop better ways to provide customers with a seamless and consistent experience, regardless of whether they shop in a bricks and mortar store, by the telephone, on a website, or a mobile app. We’ve found that every business needs to be proactive and manage through the changing landscape to ensure employees are positioned, regardless of where they are located, to manage all points along the omnichannel effectively. We’re using various electronic tools to meet with and serve clients; fortunately, there are some great resources available, and they’ve made this easier than we might have imagined before the pandemic. It has been a fascinating experience to witness how innovative some businesses have been. Of course, all of this having been said, we’re looking forward to a time when we can sit down with each other and have a conversation face-to-face.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mark Fitzsimmons: We have had to make some tough choices, as have many people we know. I think the greatest lesson we’ve learned is that we are all connected, regardless of where we might be located, and that we truly live in a global village.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and 360 Degrees Management in the future?
Mark Fitzsimmons: Stress and anxiety are a constant issue for most, if not all, business owners. It’s part of the job, I suppose. A few things I do are:
1. Sleep – make sure you get enough each night. I know how tempting it is to stay up late and get a few more things done, but it catches up to you and ultimately impacts your effectiveness.
2. Diet – eat healthy foods and have a well-balanced diet. As much as we are tempted to get to work as soon as possible or skip lunch because we’re busy, it’s important not to succumb to these temptations. There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of, “eat the breakfast of a king/queen, the lunch of a prince/princess, and the dinner of a pauper.” You’re not doing your business stakeholders any favors if you get sick. To be at your best, you need to take care of your health.
3. Take the time to spend relaxing, being with your friends and family, doing your favorite things. It’s an opportunity to refresh and recharge.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mark Fitzsimmons: Our competitors come in two forms:
1. People within an organization that are reluctant to ask for help. Perhaps they think they can’t afford it, or maybe they don’t want to be seen as lacking the expertise to solve an issue. The reality is that we can bring an objective, data-based approach using proven methods that provide a return on investment (R.O.I.) that make us an excellent investment.
2. Consulting firms. This is a matter of finding a firm that will listen to you, understand who you are, where you want to go, and what you need. Often businesses know they have a challenge but cannot articulate what they need or don’t know what they need. We work very hard to focus on creating outcomes that serve our customers and align with their vision.
Our approach to “stay in the game” is to relentlessly focus on delivering value to the people we work with. We want to be seen as being partners in their success. Whether we’re working on a short, focused project or providing a longer-term advisory service, our clients know how much we care about their business and how committed we are to helping them wherever possible.
Your final thoughts?
Mark Fitzsimmons: Thank you so much for this opportunity, and I wish you a safe and healthy 2021.
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