A Personal Message From CEO Robert Bacal
What Makes Bacal & Associates Different?
Company websites and promotional material usually contain a lot of superlatives about how the company is the best thing since sliced bread, and how any problem you might have can be solved if only you, the customer are smart enough to use their services. It's not likely you are going see a statement like "Well, actually, we don't know a whole lot about the subject but we get by, and have pity on us because we need to eat".
Bacal & Associates doesn't promise to fix all problems you have with your company. There's strength,s and there are weaknesses. I want to take a moment to tell you about the company, minus they hype, so you can make an informed decisions as to whether we can be useful for you. The truth is, as you will see, that I want to work with companies and people who value what I offer. And for those that don't, that's fine. There are plenty of companies out there.
A Little History: I started the company when I resigned from the Manitoba government civil service. That's not remarkable. But I want to tell you why I left. I felt that the organization I worked for had slipped into a way of functioning that would have us go through the motions of providing help and training to other government organzations, but not be able to make a signficant difference. I did not feel I wanted to work in an environment where it was more important to look like we were doing something, instead of actually doing something useful.
My Motivation: I've carried a belief that life is too short to spend going through the motions, and since I started, back in 1992, I've been applying the desire to make a real difference to the best of my ability. I can't promise I will make a difference. I can promise that if I feel I can't, I'll suggest that either you a) go about things a different way; or b) look elsewhere to find someone who will take on your business.
If I think you are asking me to do something that will have no benefit, I will tell you that, even if it means giving up fees.
In pursuit of making a difference, and not wasting anyone's time I do things a bit differently than many other companies that offer training, conference keynote speaking, and even consulting. Here are some of the differences.
No canned off the shelf courses or services. Everything I do, from seminars to speaking engagement involves modifying or building something specifically for that client. We don't charge extra for this. It's the way we do things to provide value for your money.
If you want a quick fix to a problem, without being involved enough to determine whether the fix is the right fix, you probably won't find a good fit here. I can't work miracles. Whether it's training, consulting or speaking, without your active involvement is creating success, it's not likely to happen.
Our prices are reasonable, although they may seem high in some geographic regions, and low in others. It's a strange industry where price often depends on location. What I do believe is that some training companies, and public speakers will never provide any reasonable return on investment for their services. For example, is any conference speaker actually worth five figure fees for one hour of talking? High fees don't mean quality. They often mean that those charging those fees are good at marketing. I believe you need to pay for quality and expertise. I do not believe clients should pay a huge premium so companies can produce glossy materials and marketing material.
On a related point, we don't do much traditional marketing, and we certainly don't create materials to impress you with how darn classy I am. I don't want you to think I'm elegant. I want you to think I'm knowledgable and talented in ways that will help you. If you want "slick", I'm probably not your guy. We'll get you the information you need, but don't spend months creating just the write "look". I'm tired of marketing hype. Besides, since we design things for each client, it's hard to provide information that conveys how we can help unless we can get information from you first.
We don't work in a way that invites individuals to use our services, as such. People can't sign up for our seminars, for example, because we believe the best return on investment comes from working with companies and doing custom work for them. Typically an organization invites us to work with their staff. It's not uncommon for us to do 5-10 seminars for an organizations staff complement. Clients get better results at a lower cost.
I don't consider myself a "trainer". First, it doesn't capture what I do, and second, there are far too many of my "trainer colleagues" that I do not consider committed to the same goals I am. I don't want to be associated with many of them, and you can imagine that at times, I have not been well received in training communities. I'm not here to get along with trainers. I'm here to help clients. If I step ontoes doing so, that's the way it goes. The best way to describe what I do is I help people learn throught consultation, seminars, facilitation, articles and books.
By and large my background and experience is different from most trainers. My degrees are in Psychology, and I've worked in a number of non-training environment including university and college teaching, training trainers and high school teachers, psychiatric care facilities, and worked as a statistician in education. That doesn't mean I'm anything special, but it does mean I look at things differently because I've been lucky enough to learn in depth and breadth. I've been helping people learn since I was 19 years old. It's what I do. It's what I am. One outcome is that I'm not pulled in by the latest fads and cons that plague the training and business worlds.
- Finally, most trainers and consultants are what one might call "deriviative". That is they learn ideas from somewhere and then repeat them in their practice. I don't do that. There's no question I stand on the shoulders of people who have come before, and make use of their best thoughts and practices. But there is a good deal of my own more original work involved. You aren't going to find others talking about the CARP model for defusing hostility. The concepts of cooperative and confrontational language aren't used much elsewhere. As another example, there are thousands of companies that teach conflict management, but I also do something more original - conflict prevention. What I teach, I know, because in some situations, I've created some of the concepts.
Now you may be sitting there thinking: "What an arrogant SOB". So let me emphasize something. I'm not "the best thing since sliced bread". No doubt there are better trainers out there, and better thinkers. I have certain abilities -- certain ways of approaching problems. Your task, to learn enough about Robert Bacal, the person, so you can start the process of determining whether there is a good fit between what you need and want, and what I can provide.