My latest High Powered Professional Mover & Shaker is Jason Greer! Mr. Greer started his own Labor Relations Consulting Firm, Greer Consulting Inc. , in 2005 which has grown leaps and bounds by word of mouth. Mr. Greer started his career as a Case Worker with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). He also spent time as a Training Specialist at Quaker Oats. It was at Quaker Oats where he had his first experience with labor unions which influenced his decision to go back to school to obtain a Master’s degree that would prepare him for a career in labor relations. After obtaining his Master’s degree, he took a position at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), where he worked for 2 ½ years. And, the rest is entrepreneurial history!
Mr. Greer earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Valparaiso University, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Washington University, and a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
One of the many things that truly excites me about this feature is the fact that Mr. Greer has combined his unique gifts and passion to create an awesome career!
Q: Tell me about your firm, Greer Consulting Inc.
Anytime union free organizations are seeking to remain union free or unionized organizations need consulting around various labor issues that arise, they contact me. I’m what I call the social negotiator. I use my social work and counseling background, and marry that with my labor relations background. Nine out of ten employees who are considering a union are looking for recognition from the company for the work that they’ve done. People will work for money, but they’ll die for respect and recognition. And, so often, I’m brought into situations where employees don’t feel respected or recognized for their efforts or who they are. So, I work hard to help employers and employees mend their relationships.
Q: How did you get started with your own practice?
I met a gentleman in Las Vegas who was working a union campaign. He was the first person to give me the idea that I had what it took to become a consultant. I decided to take the leap of faith. I knew that I could always go back to the government. I knew that I could always get another job. I would like to tell you that I did a lot of planning and financial planning, but I didn’t. I said to myself, I have these degrees behind me, I’m intelligent and I have faith. And, if it works I’ll celebrate my success and if I doesn’t, I’m going to celebrate that too, because I tried.
Q: How did you go about getting your first client?
Through a lot of trial and error. If you’re considering starting a business, the best way to start your business is where you’re currently working. While working for the government I did a lot of speaking engagements at various conventions. So, when I started my firm, it wasn’t hard to pick up the phone and tell people that I was on my own, I’m independent and wanted to talk to them about my services. I was really using the relationships that I had built while in the government.
Q: Tell me about your typical work week?
I’ll be real with you about the life of a consultant. It’s a lot of travel. I’m on the road 180 days out of the year. Each engagement varies. So, let’s say I’m conducting an employee assessment. In the morning, I’ll meet with the client. I’ll sit down with management to see what they think the issues are. For the next 4-5 days, I’ll meet with the employees and fully immerse myself in their environment. If they’re washing dishes, I’m washing dishes with them. If you’re a nurse, I’m walking with you as you talk to your patients so that I can understand your perspective. Everybody has talents and my talent is that I don’t just listen with my ears, I listen with my heart. And, the best way to listen with my heart is to I spend time with people and get to know them. It’s so critically important to me that they are represented, that their perspectives are represented and that I give the organization a holistic perspective as to what’s going on in their company.
Q: What do you contribute your success and longevity to?
My relationship with my clients. I sincerely care about the interest of my clients so much, that they’re not just clients to me. My success ties into their success. I have a niche. Anybody can do labor relations. The person down the street can learn about the Labor Relations Act. I decided a while ago that my niche would be a mix of my knowledge of the industry in addition to my counseling skills. I’m a big proponent of empathy – learning how to walk in someone else’s shoes. You can go out and get anybody to be a facilitator for you. But, if you really want to understand your people, that’s when you bring me in.
Q: What advice can you give to those who are considering or have already taken the leap into entrepreneurship?
Save your money. No matter how large that first check looks to you. You never know when you’re going to get another check. Be patient with yourself. Just because people aren’t beating down your door initially, doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. You could have the best business plan, the best marketing plan and the best website, but when the time is right, your time is going to come. So, many of us believe that since we have this great idea, that we’re going to be the next Donald Trump. And, while you may be the next Donald Trump, it’s going to take time. Also, diversify your offerings to meet the changing needs of the market.
To learn more about Jason Greer and the services that his firm offers, visit his blog, The Empathic Manager.