Gil Davidson: Future-focused One-stop-Shop for All Leadership and Team Development Needs

We are a future-focused one-stop-shop for all leadership and team development needs. Over the last 20 years we’ve built a reputation for true partnership with our clients and a deep commitment to life giving leadership throughout organizational communities regardless of size or industry.

Whether executive coaching, team development, conflict or strategy work, our experienced coaches/facilitators equip clients to create long-term behavioural shifts. We believe that only by partnering with our clients can impactful, adaptable leaders cut through time-wasting politics straight to results.

What if your external consultant was motivated more by your long-term vision than their bottom-line? What if every one of their internal interactions increased your internal credibility and influence? What if they were committed to customizing their programs to integrate and build on what you already have internally? Imagine such a consultancy actually existed… we do 😉

Our clients consistently value our commitment to the above as well as our courage to lean into the true root cause ensuring the right shifts happen.

Areas of Expertise: Employee Engagement/Team Building, Learning and Development, Succession Planning, Strategic Planning, Executive/Leadership Coaching

Tell us about yourself?

I don’t come from a business background and, although I ended up in business largely by accident I absolutely love the business world – I’m passionate about it.

My father was a surgeon and my mother a teacher. Our extended family was made up of professionals and farmers. From young I was interested in medicine and I had observed two operations by the time I was 16yrs old.

My dream was to go into medicine, but I was required to have a second choice on my university application, so I reluctantly put down a Bachelor of Business Science (a business administration degree), with a major in Human Resources… The rest is history.

During my time in HR I was fortunate enough to land a variety of strategic roles in a range of industries with fantastic mentors. I observed that the most impactful change – within teams or individual leaders – occurred through facilitated learning. That observation led me to get my coaching certification and Advantage Management Consulting was born.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Two years ago takes us to the middle of the first year of the global Covid pandemic. It was a really tough time for us as a business because 90% of our long-term clients froze all training spending for 12 months.

We had also just committed to investing significant money on the back-end of the business. I had to decide on how to proceed.

I truly believed that we have an amazing team who do incredible work for our clients and that the lack of income was completely out of our control.

We have a very relational model to building our business and aggressive marketing to new clients in a climate where organizations were struggling to keep their heads above water just didn’t sit right with us.

We made a decision to continue to build the back-end, to be there for clients, but not to go hard after new clients. Doing so, we believed we’d be in a better position – both structurally and relationally – to respond to new business when the market opened up again.

Making the decision was relatively easy – sticking with it over the 12 months was really hard. My motivation and confidence in that assessment and the decision was extremely hard to hold on to.

I had constant nagging doubts, wondering if we were building a ‘white elephant’ or if my assessment was correct. By the end of 2020 things began to turn around, 2021 ended as our best year yet and 2022 is on target to double 2021.

The advice I would give to myself would be to trust my instincts, not the naysayers. My instincts are grounded in 30 years in business and 20 years of owning a business in this industry – anyone can develop their instincts by staying humble, objectively assessing and being selective about who you go to for counsel- surround yourself with people who understand your industry and can speak honestly with you.

What problem does your business solve?

Business has a ‘bad rep’ for kwashing energy, passion, initiative and innovation. I see it differently.

Business is complex and its complexity can result in poor systems and/or dysfunctional cultures, which earns it a negative reputation, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

I strongly believe that all people are driven by a desire to have a positive impact, to build and shape things to be better and to do that with others. Business provides the structure for people to gather and work together towards a common objective.

Our business reframes how people see themselves, their teams and their leadership. We move leaders and teams to a place of greater awareness, alignment and choice.

We equip them with ways of decision making and relationship building that transform businesses into life-giving, productive, profitable environments.

Everyone on our team is handpicked for diversity of experience and style together with a high level of professional service and a deep conviction that organizations can and should be places that energize and release potential in a life-giving way.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The inspiration behind Advantage Management Consulting is two fold; both to partner with visionaries and future builders and spread life-giving leadership throughout the corporate world and to share our wealth with the world’s marginalized.

The more we grow, the greater the impact we have both with our clients and in equipping the world’s poorest with education and/or access to loans so they can lift themselves out of structural poverty.

The business world is rich with innovation, inspiration and follow through – our mission is to equip one leader or team at a time to replace old paradigms that lead to stuffiness, disillusionment and conflict with ones that create life-giving, vital environments where accountability, innovation, connection, creativity and joy are the tangible, visible culture of the day.

What is your magic sauce?

Our magic sauce is our team – before inviting someone to join our team we ask ourselves “Are we honoured that they would even consider joining us?”, if the answer is “yes” then we continue the conversation, otherwise we don’t.

We select team members who not only share our vision, but who also practice strong, courageous, authentic leadership. Team members whose lives and interactions clearly model the principles we espouse.

This means we understand what we’re talking about when we invite clients to have those difficult conversations, to hear the tough feedback and to commit to authentic, accountable relationships.

We’ve got a wonderful, diverse team coming from so many different backgrounds who all share this passion for people and for living in integrity with our values.

We are a social enterprise and are committed to the betterment of local and global communities and you can see that from where our efforts and money go. This is one of the key linking factors of our team and company – a deep care for the people. For each other, for our clients – both the people and the organizations we serve.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Advantage Management Consulting began in 2002 in the Okanagan, BC, Canada and has been expanding nationally by strategically adding team members in other regions (including Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and PEI).

Our goal is to become a nationally recognised brand in the next 5 years, before looking to expand internationally. What is most important to us in this expansion is retaining our original DNA.

We have committed to ourselves that while our goal is international expansion, we will not do so at the cost of our core DNA.

We offer customized, personal, long-term ongoing solutions mostly with a very relational basis – this is integral to who we are and what we do. Our commitment to each other is figuring out the best way to grow without compromising on this.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

We have had many. The biggest challenge is staying the course when things don’t go as planned. We survived the recession in 2008 and the impact of Covid in 2020.

Both times the business impact was significant and overcoming the challenge to internal motivation was tough. It was thanks to the reading I’ve done over the years of (much more successful) business owners that helped me understand that this is something all business owners go through and to stay the course.

One specific challenge we had was when we converted one of our highly impactful in-person courses into a virtual program. We were excited about the possibilities it opened up and did our best to prepare for a smooth transition to the online platform.

It bombed. From the very first session participants expressed frustration. We were very responsive and made adjustments as we went along, to improve their experience, however, they still ended the program still frustrated with the process.

We have a high value around the level of service we deliver and so we decided to have the CEO meet one-on-one with each participant to understand what were the barriers to their learning, we fully refund all participants, and gave them each a customized gift certificate to thank them for their feedback.

This response was so well received that it resulted in many of the participants coming to realize they had taken away valuable learnings from the course. One of the organizations has continued to put employees through this training and even given us external referrals because of how we took ownership and pivoted after the first run.

The program has now been fully reworked to incorporate the feedback and is so much better for it! The great part of this challenge is that, not only is our program much stronger as a result of the candid feedback but the participants all (but one) left with real learning – close to the level of behavioural learning we designed the program to have.

It also tested our commitment to our values and our integrity held. All in all, the way we rose to the occasion and held ourselves accountable turned it into a “Quality Failure” and I’m proud of how we handled it.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

Are you wanting to secure your competitive edge one confident, agile leader at a time? Is the idea of instilling courage, vitality and joy into your organizational culture aligned with your goals?
Visit our website and see for yourself how we can make that happen.

If you are wanting to learn more about courageous leadership and infusing life into your organization but not yet ready to speak to someone, follow us on LinkedIn and engage with our content.

We are constantly engaging in dialogue about what life giving leadership looks like and how it can be achieved and always value hearing new voices in the conversation:

Ready to start the conversation? Contact us via email or phone here and we will set up a free exploratory call to see if we are a good fit:

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