For nearly three decades now, I've been criss-crossing the country and many parts of the globe on behalf of a remarkable mix of clients. I have counseled hundreds of CEOs, ultra successful entrepreneurs, and a long list of senators, governors, and other public officials.
I have represented nearly half of the Fortune 100, dozens of iconic brands, several legendary sports figures, and scores of universities, non-profits and government agencies. I've spent thousands of hours in board rooms and on conference calls getting briefed on the often amazing facts of the cases that I've been brought in to address.
The purpose of this website is to provide a window on the world in which I work and the lessons I have learned.
A big part of my work is the study of macro trends. This is not something I planned. Rather, it is the natural outgrowth of the difficult questions clients pose to me. On an everyday basis, clients ask me to help them look around the bend.
Examples of questions I've been asked include:
How are opinions shifting on artificial ingredients in food?
What will it take for a pharmaceutical company to stand out from the pack?
How can a damaged reputation be rebuilt in today's environment?
What is the meaning of Uber and electric cars and the decline of 16-year-olds getting drivers' licenses?
In a saturated news environment, how does a company get heard?
The process that my team and I go through to answer these questions, and countless more that are equally fascinating and difficult, includes...
Sifting through thousands of news stories and commentaries each week.
Conducting and analyze public opinion polls and focus groups.
Studying popular culture and behavioral patterns.
Drawing on experiences and insights gained from our clients engagements.
In short, we are trying to collect and analyze mountains of information to help clients see the future a little more clearly.
We call this "The Future We Already Know."
Indulge me for a quick story.
A number of years ago, I visited a gold mine on behalf of a client. The mine was characterized as one of the richest, most productive operations in North America. I was accompanied on the tour by a long-time company employee who had worked for years in this particular mine.
I asked him about the amount of gold he sees. He said he had never seen any gold in the mine. I was shocked. But isn't this a super rich mine, I asked? Yes, he said. And haven't you worked here for years? Absolutely, he said. So what am missing, I asked?
And here is the point. He said that the mine produces roughly 2 ounces of gold per ton. That is, 2 ounces of gold per 2,000 pounds of rock. And it isn't a 2-ounce nugget of gold. It is 2 ounces, microscopically dispersed throughout the full 2,000 pounds. In other words, the gold in one of the richest mines is never visible to the naked eye.
This is how I see our research on trends. The gold is never visible. But it's there if you look carefully enough and if your sifting process is thorough enough.
The trends work is very challenging, always uncertain...and a lot of fun. We begin each assignment by staring into the fog. But we have gotten pretty good at distilling information and identifying critical trends. At least, that's what we think. Read the website for a while and see for yourself.
The content of the site will be a bit eclectic. I may highlight a road sign, a country song, or a YouTube video. I will frequently reference opinion research and just as often mention popular movies, TV shows, a sporting event, or a recent book.
We will have stories about businesses that have succeeded wildly and others that have failed miserably. We will go out on a limb and make predictions and offer strong opinions on tough and controversial issues. (Don't worry, I won't be political. I don't represent candidates, and I don't take on partisan issues.)
We will, however, identify and celebrate some super-smart and insightful leaders who are successfully navigating the changing forces in their industries. (And if they are a client, I will tell you so. But I will be just as likely, if not more likely, to mention people and organizations who aren't clients.)
Personal passions will show up regularly. I am a history buff, a car nut, a baseball fanatic, a non-stop reader (almost never fiction) and a student of leadership. I'm also crazy about Gracie, my King Charles Spaniel. (You can check out her bio on the McGinn and Company website.)
If successful, this site will provoke thought... occasionally amuse... and, sometimes, perplex. If we are really good, it will never be boring. I also know we will make mistakes. I hope it's a rare event, but when it happens we will own up to it and correct the record.
Thanks for checking us out. We will add new items regularly, so keep us in mind as you look for a different perspective on important issues of the day.