We had the good fortune of connecting with Katharine Halpin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katharine, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
As a CPA I was involved in lots of business transitions and transactions. Clients would buy and sell divisions or companies. Leaders and Managers would transition in and out; smoothly or not smoothly. I saw so many challenging situations and realized no one was addressing any of the people aspects of these transitions or transactions. To make matters worse, I saw many people, myself included, whose strengths were not in alignment with their roles. All of this inspired me to want to address these challenges in a win/win manner. I knew that work had not worked for my Dad, a CPA in Mississippi who died of a massive heart attack at the age of 55 from so little work/life balance. I knew work had not worked for me as a CPA being asked to perform analytical tasks when I’m a people person. So I was committed to finding a way to make work work for everyone. How could we have a balanced lifestyle where work did not consume our every thought? How could we maintain a balanced perspective so we could be trusted to make solid decisions? How could we do work that was in alignment with our values, strengths, and passions? I set out to answer these questions 25-years ago; in the summer of 1995. I’m pleased to report I have found solutions to these challenges and many more. For example, the Halpin Method includes an approach to dissolve, not just resolve conflict. We have so many ways to help leaders and managers bring out the best in themselves and their people.
What should our readers know about your business?
The Halpin Companies’ offerings are very much aligned with my own personal strengths. As an entry-level CPA in Dallas, I was able to get people to admit they had committed fraud. The leaders in the organization where I worked were flabbergasted. This voluntary admission of guilt was totally out of the blue. No one, including me, had any indication that we were dealing with fraud. I was just persistent and kept re-engaging a small team of two with my unassuming questions. My strengths are all related to people, connecting quickly, earning their trust in just a few minutes, and staying in the conversation until every issue or concern is fully addressed to everyone’s satisfaction. Today, because of these strengths, I’ve aligned my role into two simple, affordable, and quick offerings. We call them the Big Reveal and the Big Fix. In the Big Reveal, I interview a few key players who can identify the low-hanging fruit. I call these the Growth Gaps(tm). What are the obstacles and roadblocks that need to be closed so that an organization can accelerate the growth of its people, their teams, and their company? We get these out on the table in a positive, empowering manner so that the leaders can get grounded in the current reality and be able to address these opportunities based on the facts and a cost/benefit analysis. We ask them, “what is the cost of allowing this situation to fester?” and “what would be the benefit of developing a stronger system, process, or team?” The Big Fix is a slightly longer process – but still within 30-days. If we conduct the Big Reveal first, we can identify several Growth Gaps that require a deeper analysis. After the analysis is conducted we bring together leaders, managers, and key players in a workshop to prioritize all the Growth Gaps and develop Action Plans to close these gaps quickly and strategically.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is such a pertinent question. When I have clients in town for our meetings or when friends and relatives visit, I always insist on a tour of Phoenix. I love Phoenix and the history and growth we’ve seen over the past 28-years. I start my tour with downtown Phoenix and compare this area full of pedestrians with the ghost-town it was 28-years ago. I always include the Capital as well as the Basketball and Baseball arenas. I especially like showing off our canal system and telling the history of the Hohokams as I know it. My favorite dining venues are in Central Phoenix near our home for almost 17-years, Windsor Square. We love to show off the Light Rail and the walkability of the great neighborhoods at Central and Camelback. Lastly, if time permits, I’ll give a tour of Paradise Valley and share what I know about some of the interesting residents; Nancy Reagan’s Mother, Erma Bombeck, the Family Circus cartoon creator, Bill Keane. I also love sharing the stories of all the female Governors in this great State and how they ascended into these roles – in two cases because the Governors were forced to resign or were impeached. I would conclude the tour at Durant’s. First, because it’s so convenient to where we live now in the Museum District. But also because it opens up a pandora’s box of stories about my Mutha visiting us in Phoenix. We always ate at Durant’s at least once on every visit because it reminded her of her youth.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many people deserve recognition. My Dad, of course, who put me to work around age 9-10 in his CPA firm and gave me a love of business and taught me how to read a set of financial statements by the age of 15. My spouse of 38-years, Bonnie Meyer, who brought tremendous love, support, steadiness, and good judgment that was, for the most part, new to me. She continues to bring all of that and much more every day. The business community in Phoenix. My firm has had clients across the Globe but it was the business community in Phoenix that helped me launch my firm by being open to using new and different approaches.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katharine.halpin https://www.facebook.com/RightPeopleRightRoles https://www.facebook.com/HalpinCompanies
Photo Credits: FEI photo Paul Harding (friend) Purple Jacket photo Tina Celle (purchased) Big stage photo Maria Ortiz (purchased); 1st and 3rd photos: Arianna Grainey