Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Profiles in Passion: September, 2010 -- Don Harkey

“Watching people being successful is powerful,” says Don Harkey.

In his experience, though, Don has seen professionals from entry level to industry experts fail miserably. Their lack of success is a direct result of them not living their passion. “It has everything to do with being empowered with what you’re doing,” says Don. Over time, he has recognized the patterns behind people’s satisfaction levels and seen the difference in people and organizations when people like what they do.

Don owns Galt Consulting and is living his passion as a strategic planning and process improvement business consultant. “I don’t know how to articulate the incredible feeling of freedom in living my passion. I’m not waiting for the 5 o’clock whistle to blow so I can go home where I can be myself,” he explains. “I’m always doing what I like to do.”

He began his career as an engineer and has a background in chemical engineering.  There, he saw teams not aligned in their goals, not working together. At that point, he knew that his true calling was something deeper than engineering alone.

For Don, like most entrepreneurs, breaking away is a scary thing to do. An engineer at heart, Don calculated the risks and moved forward, decrease his engineering work as he increased the amount of consulting he did. He now has six years experience consulting, the last three of which he has worked full-time. “At some point, you have to jump in and take the cold water – take the shock.”

The biggest challenge for Don was doing all aspects of the job on his own, from marketing and client development to accounting and financials. At his first attempt at his logo, he spent 50 hours creating it. “I’m not an artist,” says Don, who learned his lesson. “Pay someone else who knows how to do the things you aren’t good at. I could have used that time developing clients and making new contacts.”

As a consultant, Don works directly with organizations, often saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year through helping them find direction and focus. He unveils answers to problems within the company and workforce and has generated a great many testimonials to his productivity in passion.

For instance, Don worked with an organization to find areas of improvement. Through his calculations, he found they were losing 50k a year from production waste. The operator developed a plan to eliminate the waste once Don showed him how much it cost.  He cut the waste in half in two weeks and eliminated it altogether within three months saving the company $50,000 per year. 

The company not only saved a bundle of money, but the operator confided in Don that he was so unhappy with his job prior to this experience he was planning on leaving. Since then, he has independently developed improvement projects throughout the organization and been promoted from his entry level position to supervisor.

Don has helped numerous businesses such as this, but his passion goes beyond financial restraints. One of Don’s goals is to be financially free enough to assist new businesses. Often, start-ups are the ones trying to find their footing but are passionate about their goals. One of Don’s favorite quotes embraces this entrepreneurial spirit:  “Destiny exists when a person knows what they can be and no one else suspects it,” Bob Dillan.

Through the entire process, truly feels he is living his passion. “I’ve always thought of hobbies as what you do outside work, but that doesn’t change much for me. When I have free time in the evenings, I am doing the same thing I’d be doing during the day. It doesn’t change. Not a workaholic, but I enjoy what I do enough to enjoy it always.”

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