© CEOCFO Magazine -
CEOCFO Magazine, PO Box 340
Palm Harbor, FL 34682-
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Steve Alexander, Associate Editor
Bud Wayne, Marketing
& Production Manager
Christy Rivers -
Sharpe Management Consulting LLC
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published – June 27, 2022
CEOCFO: Mr. Sharpe, one of the first things I see on the Sharpe Management Consulting site is “Bringing Order to Chaos.” How are you doing that?
Mr. Sharpe: That was a comment from one of my clients years ago. It is all about what some call "governance," while others say "leadership." The idea is to define the vision, align the resources, and inspire. A simple model, actually, but rarely easy to implement. It takes work. Upon reflection, the art seems to be in the ability to bring street knowledge, best practices, and ideas from other places to the client and give them the white space to fold it into their thought process. After all, the clients are the decision-
CEOCFO: How do you help a company articulate or even recognize what they are looking to do?
Mr. Sharpe: The essential role of a consultant or an outside advisor, whether you are on a board of directors or just being brought in as a trusted advisor, is about helping the decision-
There is a lot of reluctance to change. It is human nature. I have seen several studies that say roughly one out of twenty people embraces change, about 5% of the population. The rest resist it. For the resisters, the essential piece is to help them imagine where they fit into the vision.
I find it helpful to give people three options. Three seem to work best. I prefer to have them choose, but I am more than willing to share my opinion when needed.
CEOCFO: Sharpe Management Consulting is industry agnostic. You work in all areas. What might you need to know about a specific industry or is it 95% the same across the board?
Mr. Sharpe: That is an excellent question. The number-
Most of what you deal with day-
CEOCFO: Is there another aspect related to being industry-
Mr. Sharpe: The other aspect that often gets lost in being industry agnostic is if you look at the process of innovation and how change happens. It is about leveraging the best parts of other industries, other businesses, best practices and bringing that to the client’s organization. For example, Henry Ford, who, contrary to popular belief, did not invent the car. He took processes from meatpacking and used them to create an assembly line to manufacture automobiles.
The father of innovation is a guy by the name of Joseph Schumpeter. He is most famous for the concept of "creative destruction” Creative Destruction states for you to go to the next level, you have to give up what you already have. Some companies do that well, like Apple. Apple cannibalized their iPod so they could create the smartphone. Whereas a company like Kodak, which dominated the film business, could never repeat that success in the digital business because they were unwilling to give up the film business. An interesting piece of trivia, you want to guess who owned the patents for digital photography? Kodak.
CEOCFO: Would you give us an example of what a company was looking for when they turned to you and what you were able to develop for them? What might you look at that less knowledgeable people do not realize important?
Mr. Sharpe: My firm has two core competencies at the end of the day. Although we have more skills than that, most benefits come from two places. The first is digital strategy -
After going through their numbers, one of my clients, a publicly-
The first step was alignment, starting with corporate objects at the top and flowing down through the operational objectives and compensation plans. Because their clients were purchasing multiple service offerings, we made one particular business unit the glue that held the other business units together. By rebuilding from the ground up, we could control cost, delivering a very competitive offering at a price the competition could not match. We developed a go-
We reduced operational costs by $2 million a year. That is a nice number, but the longer-
This offering generated a lot of videos that required manual review when incidents occurred. Historically this was very labor-
CEOCFO: How about an example of putting order to chaos?
Mr. Sharpe: A publicly-
I could look at the situation knowing what is important to auditors, what regulators want to see, and what boards care about. Having that, I could work backward, effectively performing a GAP Analysis. I was able to get them back on track in eight weeks. Getting a permanent solution with all the controls, processes, and procedures took a few more months.
CEOCFO: Did you anticipate enjoying what you are doing so much when you started Sharpe?
Mr. Sharpe: You are asking all the good questions! There are two parts to that. Right out of college, I got my dream job. I started working with what we now call cybersecurity for the US government; very prestigious, working with all of the cool toys. How many people can go home every night knowing they made the world a better place. I loved the work but hated the bureaucracy. I am an entrepreneurial get-
I ended up building two practices at large firms because I loved it. That experience gave me the skills to go on to be a cofounder at two startups. We took one public and ended up running global operations for another. Until one day, my mom called to let me know she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I popped out of the industry because I had limited time with her. She was living 200 miles away. Through that process, I had people twisting my arm to go work for them. One day I had a conversation with a senior executive at AOL who I knew. He asked me to go to work for him as a consultant. I thought it was something to do part-
There are a few things I love about being a management consultant. Depending on when you ask me, I will give a different order. Having your own firm, you have control of your calendar. You get to choose your clients. You get to decide where you focus your time -
If I stumble, I lean in, get up, change direction and give it another go. I groove on that. You throw on top that I can sit back and say I helped make that client better. I made the industry stronger, contributed to this international standard, helped this regulator -
This young kid was looking for career advice. I helped him with some things and made some connections for him. One of the beauties of having your own firm, independent or your own company, is the latitude to do these things, and there is instant feedback that you do not always get in a larger organization. By being smaller, you can be more agile for your clients, so when your client comes to you with a need, you do not look and see who is on the bench to throw them at the client. You have to look at the best way to fill the need. You cannot just do bench-
Sharpe Management Consulting LLC | Alex Sharpe | Cyber Security Consultant | System Integration Companies | Sharpe Management Consulting LLC – bringing an Industry Agnostic approach to Management Consulting, System Integration and Managing Cyber Risk | CEO Interviews 2022 | Business Services Companies | Global Company | Cyber Security Consulting Firms, Cybersecurity, Corporate Governance, Risk Management, GRC, CMMC, Zero Trust, Cloud, Operational Resilience, Crypto Currency, Sharpe Management Consulting LLC Press Release, News, Linkedin
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