Why we do it
Business is something I do because I love it, so I’m very careful about who I work with. I should only be helping those I know I can. My goal is to work with people I love to hang around, that I get along with and can grow their business really profitably to make sure I justify my cost.
So many people pay too much money based on an unclear promise made after a single 60-minute phone call and are then disappointed. It is not possible to make a genuine assessment with integrity and KNOW with certainty what can be achieved for a business without a deeper look under the hood.
Other consultants make you pay upfront and they overcharge early in the process to compensate for the knowledge they don’t yet have. Imagine paying for a Mercedes and then when it is delivered, although it looks like a Mercedes, under the hood is a VW. Payment is already made and you only realised it because it didn’t blow your hair back like you really wanted. Would you be OK with this?
Founder of Keystone Executive Coaching
The reason why I opened Keystone, why I started it, was I saw that there’s a real space for people who are looking to improve their business without tying themselves to a big chunk of cash flow and knowing that this person is not here to make a quick buck but rather create a relationship that has you winning in the first 6 to 12 months and then keeps you winning for the next five years. Our mission is to be the highest-performing SME consultancy in the world. We do that by providing measured and tested results from experts in their field. We’re really, really careful about the people that we choose to work with. Primarily because our business model is focused around our getting paid in full when you get the results you pay for. We’re here to make you a long, successful outcome in your business. So our clients have to really know us, they have to know the consultant they’re working with, they have to know why they’re working with us.
And if we can’t actually see that we’re the best investment for them right now, we won’t work with them. If we make sure that every client we work with gets an amazing result, everything else will take care of itself. And not only do we change the way they work in business, but we change the way they live their life. My family and the people I have around me have made me the man I am. It’s my opportunity to support them and give that back to them.
It’s seeing people not being able to do that, not being able to live with their family, not being able to see their kids as much as they want to because they’re tied to this machine of a business. My passion as a consultant is helping people live the life that they want to live, the life that they set out to live from the beginning and supporting them to do that through business. In life, the biggest value for me is honesty. When you say something, you do it and you deliver on it. So it’s just open, honest business. You see business owners, I’ve seen friends, family work in business and they sacrifice that which is most dear to them, their family, for the illusion of success. To be successful, you don’t have to sacrifice everything. You don’t. You have to work hard, you have to give the right stuff at the right time consistently and persistently to get the result, so you can see your kids grow up, so you can give your wife the nice car, so you can give your family, your loved ones what they want, so you can look after your parents, you know. Those are the things. That’s why.
The Keystone Story
Not many people realise but I actually have an Irish accent. Some people realise. Sometimes I get Canadian, sometimes I get American but it’s certainly not what it was. So I have lived in Ireland for a long time. I was actually born in Melbourne but raised in Ireland. I would consider myself Irish, you know, probably 50 percent even though I wasn’t born there. The story goes, I’m the eldest of 5 to a single mother, went back to Ireland quite young. I would have been 7, so that’s five children under the age of 7. We lived in a very, very, very rural part of Ireland in a very, very small cottage on the side of a very, very large mountain. Mum was a nurse, she worked cleaning surgical equipment all hours of the day. And a huge part of the role of raising my brothers and sisters, I suppose, growing up, fell to me. Not just being the bigger brother but also chopping the firewood, cleaning the snow off the lane, making sure that we had water for the next day, that the filters didn’t clog up, climbing the mountain to find the source of water to make sure that it didn’t clog up. That sort of stuff.
From there, I remember seeing the way my life would pan out. I sort of accepted that I would just end up being a laborer or something like that, and then I met some pretty influential men in my life and they were my mum’s brothers. They were all quite successful. Mum’s one of 15 in an Irish Catholic family and they all went out and worked hard and got really good results. Some of them were bank managers or senior executives in several banks; some were telecommunications consultants, things like that. And I remember seeing these guys and thinking, I probably don’t have to just be a slave to hard work. You know, I went and did a lot of hard work as a brickie’s laborer at a very young age, making extra money for mum to support the family and things like that. And then I knew, I was like, yeah, I know that if I put in the work, I can do better. I can probably live the life that I want to live. So, I did.
I studied very hard, worked very hard, really drove Mum to get me into really good schools, and thank God, she contributed to it. When I was 11, Mum had a head-on collision with a truck, in a van. All of my brothers and sisters were in it. I was in a friend’s house and she came in to drop my sleepover stuff on a Friday night and I got a phone call walking back from the shops, saying there’s been a car accident and Mum was in the hospital. My brothers and sisters were OK but she hit a truck, things weren’t good. It scared the shit out of me. Went to the hospital, Mum didn’t know who we were, stuff like that. It was a pretty long road to recovery, it was a brain injury. Pretty tough stuff. My Mum’s good now, she’s great.
And it was then that I realised–I really, really realised–the importance of family. It was at that point that, immediately, as concerned as I was being the eldest kid, I had thoughts of, Looks like I’m full-time moving bricks for Pat down the road, you know, just got to feed the kids. I was terrified.
And then family just came in. It’s just almost like we were swooped up immediately. We didn’t see Mum for a while, but every fortnight, there would be a new family member there to look after us, get us up in the mornings, feed us, talk to us, let us know Mum was OK. And that went on for a long time. It was then that I knew, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you don’t have family, what’s it for? It’s so important, that safety net, that love. That was huge. So
I suppose, to boil it all down, my big driver is family. It’s to be able to provide not just for me and my family but my family’s family, intergenerational stuff, you know. I know the work I put in now will support not just my children, but my children’s children, and their children thereafter. And instill that in them: How do we give that to others? That’s really important to me.
The Keystone System
The Keystone process is, simply put, a results-based business coaching model. It’s designed purely to give you a hold of business solutions and provide tangible business results.
The way it works, it’s on the premise that we don’t work with everyone, but the people that we can help, we want to help incredibly well. We don’t get paid in full until they get the outcome that they paid for. It’s more important to work with one person that’s great at one particular thing than someone who’s good at a lot of things. If you’re looking for a very hard, fast growth period, you need to be focusing on something that is going to get you there.
We move in 90-day blocks. Someone will come to me, they’re referred to me, or they see a video like this and they want to get in touch and just say, “Look, I like what they’re saying, I like what they’re doing, I think I probably need to have a chat.” We sit down, we have a chat, and we just need to see where they’re at, what’s their type of business, what their issues are at the moment and over 60 to 90 minutes we go, “Yeah, look, I think we need to move into the appraisal phase.” So then we go into the appraisal phase, which is between 30 and 45 days. We sit down and we have an 18-point checklist for the appraisal process where we go through the business as a whole.
There’s always things to work on in business, but the thing you need to focus on to get a very sharp, very powerful outcome is not what needs to be worked on. What is the one thing that, if everything else stayed the same, and this one thing improved in your business, you would have the greatest overall benefit. Everything else would come up. So what’s that, at this period in time? That’s what we look to find.
We sit down with a panel of experts, people with measured skills in their fields, and we sit down with these people, all part of the Keystone process, and we actually review what we found. We spend time with the business owner and all these consultants, formulating, developing a hard and fast plan for 90 days that we can implement. A lot of people will go, “Yeah, let’s do this.” Then we provide a quote on what we think is required to achieve that. On that quote, there’s a very clear outcome in numbers, in measures–specific, measured and achievable–what we need to be hitting. So we go away, we work with your consultant specifically on that goal for 90 days. If you hit it, then we sit down, we review, we go, “OK, what’s next?” If you don’t hit it, then we go back, we say, “OK, look, we didn’t hit this goal. What needs to change? Does anything else need to change in this space?” And we often find that clients stay with us for two, three, even five years because they like that consistent process.
That’s what we’re about: delivering outcomes and results. We’re here to give outcomes, not collect paychecks.
The Keystone Passion
For me, the biggest passion in my life has to be family. I’ve got a beautiful wife, I’ve got a fantastic family, fantastic friends. The biggest passion for me is spending time with those people or finding new people to add to that circle. Really, when I think about it, you know, the people around me have made me the man I am. It’s my opportunity to support them and give that back now, give back what I can. And when we boil that down to passion, it’s seeing people not being able to do that, not being able to live with their family, not being able to see their kids as much as they want to because they’re tied to this machine of a business. The way they’re growing their business or changing what they do for fear of catastrophic failure when, really, they’re sacrificing I suppose that which is most important to them anyway: relationships, family, kids.
My passion as a consultant is helping people live the life they want to live, the life that they set out to live in the beginning, and supporting them to do that through business. We’re not here to build success for businesses; we’re here to build successful businesses that help you live the life that you want. That’s why we’re in business in the first place.