There's no such thing as a typical day when you're an 80/20 expert. Every day is different, but Mark Curran paints a nice picture.
Before Strategex, Mark held positions as President for two divisions of the Ali Group, a privately-held worldwide group of more than 65 different manufacturing brands based in Milan, Italy. During this tenure, Mark doubled profits at both divisions. His career also includes seven years at Illinois Tool Works (ITW). There, he served as President for one division and Business Unit Manager/Vice President Sales in another division – both divisions more than doubled their profitability.
In his role as an 80/20 expert, Mark coaches leaders to use 80/20 to achieve profitable market share growth. He guides major manufacturing firms in diverse industries through a holistic transformation that yields explosive results.
We asked Mark to give us a snapshot of his life as an 80/20 Expert. He admits that he was hesitant to make the jump from corporate leadership to 80/20 consulting. But as this journal proves, his consulting career allows him to focus on what drives him: inspiring great teams and prioritizing his family.
A DAY IN THE LIFE
5:30/6 am: I am on the West Coast, so I start early to accommodate my clients’ schedules.
Since I started with Strategex, I have grown accustomed to my morning ritual: I enjoy an hour of coffee and talking with my wife. After which, I take about 30 minutes to prepare for my day. I read The Wall Street Journal every day; my starting point is the "What's News" section. As a consultant, it's integral to stay up-to-date on global business and geo-political activity.
My mornings are typically full three days a week, and the following showcases a normal "full" day. Although, as a consultant (I still hate the word “consultant,” but I’ll use it) every day is different depending on my clients, and the variety keeps me engaged.
7:30/8 am: Client meetings begin. Nowadays, they are typically via video conference - can't beat the commute.
I usually enjoy a couple of 30-minute catch-up calls with “workstream team leads” or other leaders at various clients. The 80/20 process involves many workstreams, and the workstream teams are comprised of functional leaders. I'm passionate about the "Zero Up" workstream. The goal of it is to realize where you make or lose money. I love it because it creates a profit picture few have seen before. Zero Up gives clients an a-ha moment - an awakening jolt - and it's exciting.
10 am: Many weeks involve a workshop or training which are normally 1-2 hours. The most challenging training that I lead is product line simplification. It can be a revolution, but before we get there I have to empower my clients to get over the fear that they will lose money.
12 pm: I make it a point to have lunch with my adult children at least three times a week. When I was working in President roles, I missed a lot of quality time with my children. 80/20 gave me a lot of that time back, but Strategex has really given me the work-life balance that enables me to make up for lost time. My family and I have a strong connection, and that’s my 80. For me, family is the most important thing.
1 pm: Afternoons are typically light by design. Of course, I am always available to help with my clients’ questions and challenges, but being free from monthly reporting, surprises, emergencies, and reports has really freed up my time. I can focus on connecting with my clients and helping them achieve growth.
3 pm: My workday is done. After decades in corporate leadership, I am still grateful for the time I have to focus on what really matters in life: my family. My wife and I can prepare for dinner with our kids’ families or friends, or we might enjoy babysitting duties with the grandkids, or we may just relax as a couple.
I should note that I usually have one or two days a week where I only have a couple of calls. These days, you'll find me with friends and extended family.
Hands down, it is the best job I’ve ever had.
It’s a privilege to coach some of the best minds in business and manufacturing. I take pride in the value I help create, and the positive impact that I have had on companies and people. I am continuously learning about different industries, companies, cultures, and people. There was part of me that hesitated to come to consulting because of the stigma and lack of control. But I have made a huge impact on people and business while maintaining a work-life balance, so I wouldn’t trade it for the world.