March 1, 2009

Making Lemonade from Lemons

Seems like there are some interesting articles coming from the LA Times these days. One headline caught my eye - "About to do time? Meet your best pal" . Here's a quote:

"At a time when no job is safe, Levine is among a small but growing number of consultants who are poised to find work in the economic meltdown as prison life coaches to the perpetrators of Ponzi schemes, mortgage scams and financial swindles."

Levine is Larry Levine. He's an ex-con and consultant who bills six figures annually! He's the person to go to if you're a white collar criminal about to go to prison. But what does he provide that a top flight law firm can't? What's the value add?
The answer is that he readies you for prison, coaches you on what to do and what not to do... before you go inside. It's essential survival skills for incarceration. In many ways prison "do's and don'ts" are similar to those for a corporate environment.
For example - don't lie, don't snitch, always show respect, strive for a better work assignment, etc... Well maybe it doesn't compare to all corporate cultures, just the harsh ones.

What Levine does has much in common with what consultants and coaches do - help solve a problem. Like any successful business consultant he's got the first hand inside knowledge needed. He's been there before and can help you fix your issue right the first time. In Levine's case heeding his consel could mean the difference between life and death.

When I sat down to write this I thought of taking this piece into the direction of analyzing a growth opportunity but I think there's a bigger story here -

In an environment of increasing uncertainty and upheaval it's very uplifting to see someone (Levine) create a successful business despite a bad personal story, many setbacks and challenges. We can all learn from Levine's making lemonade when life served him lemons.

Larry, if you're reading need to know that you've got the makings of a great business book...go for it!!!

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