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BogueHeadshotWalk us through your professional journey.

I started like anyone else. I got a degree in something I love and have a deep passion for, then proceeded to not be able to find a job in. So, I did the next best thing. I got a job as a barista. One noticeably short year later, I had climbed my way to the top as a manager and buyer. Another two years, a merger, and a global pandemic later, I was looking for more ways to grow and thought, “I should go back to school and get a degree in this business and management stuff I have a bit of a knack for.”

One master’s degree later and here I am, working to try and make sense of the world we’re in, doing what I can to help businesses operate with empathy and respect toward the people that work for them, and the people they serve.

Somewhere in the middle of all of that, I found some time to get a few service and barista certifications, gave a presentation to a college class about product development, and functioned as an independent consultant to help a new café open.

What was the biggest hurdle or item to overcome when starting your business/helping others grow their business?

Credibility is a huge hurdle I am still overcoming to this day. With such an odd educational and professional background, I have little business focused work to show as proof that I am the right person for the job. The only solace I have is that I know that everything I have learned from all my desperate experiences are incredibly valuable to the business world, even though they have nothing to do with shareholders or metrics tracking.

What resources did you use or rely on early on? What resources do you use now?

I could not pinpoint one individual resource that I regularly go back to. I read a ton of random stuff across industries. Any time I am in a bind with work, I will also always try to find someone who has been there before and ask them what they have done in the past.

What strategies do you have regarding a work life balance? Is work/life balance a thing?

It’s not easy, that is for sure. My office is my bedroom, so the most separation I can ever get from work is to close my laptop and not look at my phone. I tend to ruminate a on things, so often that isn’t even enough. Luckily with the weather warming up, I can go for walks, sit outside at a café, do yoga, and see friends. Really, anything to physically separate myself from my work environment the better.

Thoughts/meaning/definition/info about:David150

  • Adaptive Change

Expecting and accepting that the unexpected will happen, then being resilient enough to keep going anyway.

  • Leadership

Never operating above the people you are leading but work alongside them. The people you lead have all the power because meeting their needs is how everyone will succeed, not the other way around.

  • Growth

What can I learn, that will help me improve as a person, and that will allow me to better contribute to the community I am a part of.


Best Advice you have gotten or live by?

Always go with your gut.

Book, Podcast, Material Recommendation?

Cat & Cloud Podcast. A bit disjointed at times, but at its core, it’s about three business owners that never wanted to own a business, and how they keep the people that work for them at the forefront of how they operate. They know that by keeping their employees happy, the company will thrive.

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As consultants, some of the most common questions we answer is about how we got to where we are professionally. People wonder how we got here, and how we see the world. We thought we would share our team’s stories.

Jamie150Today, we’re sharing an interview with Jamie Pulliam, Project Consultant with L M Thomas Group.

David: Jamie Pulliam has worked with LM Thomas Group for almost one year. Recently she joined full-time and brings an impressive resume and professional experience with her! During this short Q & A we dive a little deeper into Jamie’s professional background, her perception and strategy on key business topics, and see how what has led to her success over the years!

How did you get started? Walk us through your professional journey?  

Jamie: My schooling was in digital media production and psychology. I started working in production (photoshoots) holding creative and production roles. I quickly moved into advertising working across still photography, film, animation (2d, CG, and stop motion), motion graphics, print, and digital.

In this area I’ve had the pleasure to work with amazing companies over the years. [Companies include: Apple, NASA/ACS, Intel, Microsoft, Walmart, Google, Sony, The New Yorker, Starbucks, Nike, Target, Honda, M&Ms, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Unilever, and General Mills.]
I also have had the pleasure of working with a number of wonderful agencies during my professional journey. [Agencies include: BBDO, R/GA, Saatchi & Saatchi, 72andSunny, Deutsch, Wieden & Kennedy, Swift Collective, Liquid Agency, and DDB.]

Finally, after a decade in advertising, I transitioned into tech with a focus on early-stage startups (mostly in healthcare). Went through an acquisition with Johnson & Johnson. And then began working with LM Thomas Group (LMTG).

David: What influenced you to take this path? 

Jamie: Creative work compels me. I think it’s interesting to design work that communicates and connects!

My transition into tech and ultimately to LMTG consulting work was motivated by wanting to make a positive impact on my community and the world as much as possible.  

David: What has been the biggest hurdle or item to overcome in your career? What about in helping others grow their business?David150

Jamie: I’d have to say — for both my own career and in helping others grow their businesses — the biggest hurdle I face and see repeatedly is imposter syndrome. It’s incredible how powerful it can be to hush or release the internal critic and just do your thing! 

David: What strategies do you have regarding a work life balance? Is work/life balance a thing? 

Jamie: Work/life balance is a thing! But it’s not a 50/50 thing.

I see work/life balance as a cycle that we must engage in continuously as circumstances and priorities evolve. Balance is defined as an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to stand upright and steady. I know my work/life balance is off if I’m overwhelmed, unsatisfied, or if I’m getting increasingly stressed. When that happens it’s crucial for me to pause and check in with myself to see what I’m prioritizing and why — and how it aligns with my goals in both areas of life.  


David: The LMTG newsletters highlight 3 major topics, Adaptive Change, Leadership, and Growth. How would you define or better explain “Adaptive Change”?

Jamie: Adaptive change is a part of life, we’re adapting all the time whether we’re aware of it or not. In business and in personal life, growth depends on adaptive change. Ie. changes that are small, intentional, well thought out, and incremental made on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis. I believe this type of change is what builds resilience and ultimately longevity.  

David: What routine do you have to stay productive? 

Jamie: Honestly, I don’t particularly thrive with routine. Having some structure is important but what keeps me productive is curiosity and collaboration. I am most productive when I’m engaged and challenged. I find that productivity soars when people/teams are involved in the process... showing interest in, paying attention to, and participating in the journey rather than solely focusing on the desired result or outcome. 

David: Book, Podcast, Material Recommendation? 

Jamie: Ooooh, love this question! A specific book that I love and recommend is Find Your Why by Simon Sinek, David Mead, and Peter Docker. It gives strategies and exercises that help people and/or teams discover their most powerful motivations.  

A second recommendation for consuming content (especially if you don’t have a ton of time) is the app Blinkist. It has non-fiction books and podcasts, presented in 15 minutes. It’s kind of like cliff notes — I love it for checking out a book before buying, listening to experts share their knowledge, and for when I want to read but am in a super busy time with work or life (you can choose audio or reading, great for walking the dog/jogging/travel).  

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teamatwhiteboardLeaders of sustainable companies understand that there is much greater value in maintaining a stance of lifelong learning rather than a stance of expertise. This is because the most significant problems most organizations face are not solved by experts, but require adaptation, new learning, and stakeholder engagement.

There are three challenges that an expertise stance tends to create: listening, power, and relevance.

Challenge 1: Listening.

There are plenty of times and places where our expertise does, in fact, solve a problem that no one in an organizational system could otherwise solve. Nevertheless, positioning ourselves as the experts in a knowledge economy puts us on the tempting path toward being know-it-alls, and tends to put us more in the position of talkers than of listeners. When we come in knowing the answer, we don’t listen as well, because we tend to know what someone is going to say.

Or at least we think we do.

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Matt150As consultants, some of the most common questions we answer is about how we got to where we are professionally. People wonder how we got here, and how we see the world. We thought we would share our team’s stories.

Today, we’re sharing an interview with Matt Thomas, the President of L M Thomas Group.

David: Everyone is wondering how you got started. Walk us through your professional journey: what influenced you to take this kind of path?

Matt: I didn't start off intending to do consulting, but I've done it now for the last 12 years. I realized that I was interested in developing organizational systems and helping people thrive both individually, as leaders, and as organizations. It's one thing to work with a leader, and it's another thing to help a whole group of people thrive regarding what they're called to do.

My first job out of school was to be a church pastor of a congregation in an economically depressed community. The church went under in the middle of the housing crisis post 2008, so they couldn't pay me and I couldn't move. I figured something else out, and when that really started to take off I became affiliated with a small boutique firm for about 8 years. In 2019 my wife and I launched L M Thomas Group, which has grown by double year over year. I am really excited to be able to work with small and medium-sized businesses, nonprofits, and even a few

churches. I get to help them figure out all those things that are getting in their own way so they can meet the goals that they're trying to get to.

David: I love that you mentioned that you were originally a pastor. I feel like that would pair well with consulting; just being humble, being able to articulate things, and truly listening.

Matt: To break that down even a little bit further, a lot of times in the church world and in the consulting world people really focus on the knowledge, errors, or are kind of the morality police. In the church space often if you’re preaching it’s “here's what you need to know” and then “here's what you need to do” and “here’s how to behave.”

In the consulting space a lot of times people are coming in because they have some very strong core expertise or technical expertise about something. They're the experts that come in with a lot of knowledge and “musts” and “best practices”.

In both spaces, I think there’s a lot of room for our firm to come in, because it's a contrast for a lot of folks. I learned the hard way, that frankly nobody really likes to be told what they have to do. They want to be able to express their values, express how they're wired, and get the help they need along the way to achieve the goal they

stated. Instead of having an expert or a super-saint telling them what to do, they’d rather have somebody come walk alongside with them and that does not judge them when they screw up. So that’s the kind of consultants we try to be: helpful, yes, competent, certainly – but in a partner/advisor relationship rather than an expert relationship.

David150David: You mentioned you started your own business LM Thomas Group in 2019. What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome when you first started?

Matt: The biggest hurdle that I had to overcome was to articulate what I was selling and to whom. Especially in this industry where you are selling services, rather than a product, it's really hard to say, “here, I have the skillset, pay me for it”. With consulting that's what you're saying. If you're an accountant, or an attorney, or a marketing firm, or any other skill-based industry you must be able to articulate what you do clearly enough that somebody can say “oh yeah, I want that”. Then on the other hand be able to price it in a way that you cannot only do it today,

but you can do it tomorrow. Most consultants start off underpricing their services, but you also cannot price it so high that everybody thinks it’s overpriced.

The biggest hurdle is that ability to communicate with confidence, “I can actually do this thing and I can actually help people”. But you can’t just tell it, you have to show it.

There are so many people who come out and say, “Look at what I can do: I can do this, I can do this…”

If you're saying “I can do this” all the time, people can pick up on the fact that it feels quite like you're trying to convince yourself as much as you're trying to convince them and it feels very insecure.

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A prevailing theme of The Dropped Ball Series is that people rarely fail because they are ill willed. More often than not, skill deficiency is the process failure underlying most employee slip-ups in the workplace. Failures typically occur when an employee is unable to execute one of these 40 Ubiquitous Skills for Workplace Success.


40 Skills

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