Where your experience becomes your business.

Meet Buddy Hobart, founder of Ex3 Matters

Buddy Hobart Founder of Ex3 Matters Consultant Training

I am a firm believer that one of the most difficult things in life is to know yourself. We all have unique perspectives and different things make us happy. And it’s all complicated by the fact that life changes can cause us to reexamine our values and beliefs.

When I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, I believed I wanted a career in sales. There were only three organizations I wanted to work for: IBM, Xerox and Kodak. I was turned down by IBM and never did get the interview at Kodak. But I knew that Xerox had one of the best sales training programs in the world and I felt lucky to start my career there.

I parlayed my experience at Xerox into a major account sales manager position at a regional office equipment company and was eventually promoted to general manager. I was no longer just in charge of the sales force ─I had full responsibility for the service technicians and administrative staff as well.  About six weeks into the new job, I began to challenge one of my own firmly held beliefs. Nothing happens unless something gets sold, right? Sales should get the majority of the resources, time and attention. It turned out not to be right and the entire philosophy of “sales first” actually became an embarrassment to me.

It embarrassed me that salesmen were winning their third color television set while I had technicians who couldn’t even afford to repair the one television they had. I came to realize that I needed to break down the barriers between sales, service and administration. I created an empowerment plan and drove the entire business in a different direction. The results: our pre-tax profits grew by 150 percent, sales grew and the teamwork and electricity in the office were just unbelievable.

Reexamining my beliefs and looking at the organization from a different perspective led me to another revelation. Although success is often measured by profits, what I really enjoyed was driving effective organizational change. The day after my 35th birthday, I began another path – the path of helping others.

I formed Solutions 21 in 1994 to counsel organizations on how to develop leadership, solve real-world problems and drive results. Many of our competitors are equipped to bring the academic understanding and mental horsepower into an organization, but our unique value is combining that high level thinking with a practical, real-world, “get it done” approach.  I believe that is why we’re 18 years old and we have nearly 18 year clients. Every year we keep driving results for them.

With offices in Pittsburgh and Phoenix, at any one time we may have 25–30 consultants on engagements, and we have served 50+ clients every year for many years. We have worked on assignments that have rescued dying companies, expanded firms 1700%, opened shuttered manufacturing plants, quadrupled the number of employees, implemented programs that made employees feel more valued, created strategic plans that produced some “best ever” performances – and that is just a sample. We have served clients like Heinz, Bayer, Schering-Plough, Dress Barn, Merck, USX, and Pfizer. We have worked on four continents and with people from 35 countries. Many of our clients have been with us almost from the beginning and have used us on projects every year, and we get much of our business from referrals. Sometimes our problem is not finding business but finding competent consultants to do the work.

I’ve written four books, including my first title, Hire Education, a book designed to teach college students how to successfully present and market themselves as they enter the workforce. My second book, Celebrate Selling, which I co-authored, provides a compilation of works for the sales professional. I began lecturing at industry events and forums around the world and started a  radio call-in show on The American Entrepreneur, broadcast on WMNY Money Talk 1360, which explored the factors and trends impacting today’s business environment.

It was while conducting research for my third book, Gen Y Now: How Generation Y Changes Your Workplace and Why It Requires a New Leadership Style , co-authored with Arizona State University Basketball Coach Herb Sendek, that I began to understand deeper the demographics of the workforce and the generations it was made up of. When the 2008 global recession hit, I realized we were experiencing a sea change of how talent is deployed.  

Businesses are no longer going to reach out and hire mid-level, laid off career professionals because they don’t have to. The Gen Y cohort now has enough experience behind them to backfill those lost positions. This wasn’t true in the last major downturn in 2001.  At that time, the Gen Y cohort wasn’t old enough and didn’t have enough experience to backfill Baby Boomers. But now when you take Gen Y and add in the younger Gen X, the Baby Boomers are competing with people that have a far longer career runway.

When I saw the amount of mid-career talent that was sitting on the sidelines, my passion for helping people succeed took hold once again, and Ex3 Matters was born. Many companies define success based on the dollars coming in, but at Ex3 Matters, we define our success by the number of lives changed: members launching successful consulting careers, taking step towards gaining back their confidence and leveraging their years of expertise to gain back their salaries.

I’ve just released my fourth book—Experience Matters: How to Succeed as a Consultant in Today’s World—and we're not slowing down. So thank you for visiting our website and wherever you are in the process—discovering your own talents, struggling to get  back to work, looking for ways to help others —let us know how we can help you take that next step toward creating the future you desire and deserve.  That's what we're here for.

Get started on launching your own successful consultant career now by downloading a completely free copy of Experience Matters: How to Succeed as a Consultant in Today’s World.