My Work

About My Work

The way I work and who I am

Dick DooleyI provide to senior executives a broad counseling service based on the processes of planning, implementing,  and developing leadership for the successful  support of business objectives.  This service has not been restricted by industry or organization size.  With a proven Leadership and Management track record and many years of direct experience in both the executive management process and also specifically in information technology leadership, I have a perspective which is crucial to my style, and is quite unusual in any other  I.T. counseling process.

Extensive experience in handling sensitive or “soft” leadership challenges is a strength I provide.  The great majority of my client assignments involve structural or organizational problems, marketing strategies, personnel development and education needs, internal political issues, workforce behavioral issues, and increasingly complex interfaces with outside suppliers & Clients of all kinds, as well as internal organizational units.  I know both the urgency of the bottom line now and the deep relevance of investing in the future.  Many consultants have not often had the opportunity to gain good business acumen.  I have.

I am involved in  review of the literature, research and state of the art solutions for facilitating the growth and capacities of both professionals and future leaders, in a field permeated by dynamic change.  I am dedicated to producing practical results within today’s realities for their  current responsibilities  and the challenges of  tomorrow.  I know both theory and what works here and now.  And, most importantly, I know the difference between the two.  I make specific recommendations when  needed or requested. I produce memos or letters that are very brief and to the point, and coaching/mentoring that enables and guides, as executives grow into their future.

My Principled Leadership Showing the Way

Personal and business integrity are the most important factors in all my client relationships.

The success of the client is a measure of my own success.

The right personal chemistry between myself and the client’s staff is crucial to the level of trust and credibility required in the work I do. And is always there in large measure!

Clients do as most of the assignment  with their own staff.  In this way, my services are leveraged and client personnel are better prepared to continue facilitating the work. My explicit,contracted intention is to create a “self-sustaining ” process there.

The proprietary interests of each client are always protected.

I am committed to improving, expanding, and refining my content, approach and style, so that I may continue to provide the most effective, customized developmental support available.

No relationship is accepted unless I am certain that I can contribute in a unique way, and, I feel attracted to or challenged by the work involved.

A very different Approach

I believe that it is almost unique.  I refer to it as “counseling”.  Facilitating.  It is very individualistic, personal and customized.  It does not work in some cases.  That is always clear very quickly.  I act as a professional question-ask-er or issue-raiser.  Clients often find this more effective than being “told” or receiving recommendations.  The latter is done when useful since there is sometimes a need for the “voice of authority from the outside.”  I do both well.

My credentials, network of contacts, and independence from, but knowledge of, internal prejudices permit more objectivity.  Often this objectivity allows success in areas consciously or unconsciously denied  to the inside executive.  I also bring  rich personal insights dealing in intuitions or feelings, in addition to proofs or history.

One of my greatest values is to help evolving leaders avoid problems.  In this sense I am like an early warning device drawing on specific operational experience and a huge personal network so that the clients may avoid repeating the mistakes of others.  However, technical difficulties, personnel issues, and business challenges are already present in most settings today and cannot be avoided.  Providing counsel and guidance with these broad challenges is also most welcome and highly effective.

I increasingly use phone, voice mail, email and virtual conversations, my expanding Website including 11 areas of materials made available to select clients, building on occassional rhythmic and intensive site visits…….to stay close to the client’s environment.  Very little opportunity for such personalized counsel is afforded via any other consulting service or individual.

How I got to be me

Directly responsible for all the Information Systems functions in two large corporations … teacher at several universities … a founding member and former President and Executive Director of the Society for Information Management … past member of several Boards of Directors … 58  years in the Information Technology Services business … 44 years as the Senior Executive for Systems Technology, or counseling  others at the CIO, CTO, CDO level, their bosses or direct reports.

I spent seventeen years at the First National Bank of Chicago in Retail Banking, Operations, Planning and Systems.  For the last four years I was Vice President and Chief Information Officer in charge of a large, highly advanced installation with additional major corporate-wide responsibilities.

Later, for three years as both a Senior Corporate Officer, and the President of a major operating subsidiary of Colonial Penn Group, Inc., I was involved at both the  strategic and operational levels, in an intense maturation period of that corporation, responsible for a very large, advanced system and computing site, mail-house, methods function and consulting service.

Degreed in English and Philosophy from The College of The Holy Cross, with an MBA from the University of Chicago, I graduated from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers, and have attended a number of technological and systems oriented education sessions, as well as the Aspen Institute of Humanistic Studies, the Experience Compression Laboratory and Outward Bound.

Since 1973 I have consulted widely in the United States and Europe; taught at Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, and four of the leading graduate schools of banking; have published articles; and I am a recognized speaker, counselor, facilitator, in the Systems or Technology professions.

How I Engage

With continuing clients, I usually arrange retainer billing of fees to be done in advance, at a mutually chosen retainer rate and pace.  Visit dates are established by mutual consent as far in advance as feasible.  Travel expenses are charged as incurred, unless they’re minimal, in which case they’re consolidated.  For clients engaged in Leadership Learning  Forums {LLF}, the fees are either pre-billed for the entire program, or in several installments.  My standard per diem rate [ of $3000.00 or less],is based on the amount of  support made available,  schedule flexibility,  length of program, and  of course specific work objectives. Now, especially for existing Forum {LLF} graduates the rate is usually negotiated,  after the working relationship and pace is established.And such leaders often are supplied with access to all my materials..increasingly made available electronically.

Formation @ Holy Cross

As I cover more complexly in my essay bios [ both forms] elsewhere in this website……… @ Holy Cross, after my eye was removed, I began running meetings, of all kinds, and organizing people, a continuation of the Andy Frain usher experience, that included proms, Parent Weekend, sport rallies, etc. Often as a member of the Purple Key Honorary Society and as the leader or facilitator……..a process I continued to learn/practice personally & professionally , the rest of my like!

Am still @it, in my business [Leadership Development Programs], and for my classmates [Reunions, small gatherings of those interested, etc.

Richard E. Dooley – a Personal Story of Who I Am and How I Arrived Here(Issue #51) (These “Essay Bios” are a requirement for all Leadership Learning Forums)

I was born May 7, 1934, in River Forest, Illinois, an orderly, white, upper class suburban community which influenced my view of the world for years.  But, my father was out of work.  It was the Depression (we saved string and folded bags for reuse and “cleaned our plates” at every meal).  The youngest of five children, by four years, (three sisters, one brother), I was happy and energetic; definitely “the baby”, resented that, and often was off on my own inventing games, or exploring.  School was Catholic, 1/2 block away, and the nuns and I engaged in an ongoing battle of wits/guerrilla warfare but not learning.  Dad took me on many trips to Midwestern cities and on many “long walks” which I still like to do. High school was all male, deeply athletic, run by Dominican priests, when hitting was okay, and being detained in penalty periods was a badge of courage.  One priest mentored me for 30+ years which was a big positive.  I was an Andy Frain Usher for four years, learning about large crowds, moving people, directing lots of meetings, in lots of settings.  Our basketball coach was also superb and a deep influence, as were my team members.  I nearly died with an unusual stomach operation, grew eight inches while recuperating, played on a wonderful Fenwick High School basketball team, got into Holy Cross College almost casually by today’s standards and traveled East for a special education with the Jesuits. New York and New England were a revelation.  Cancer discovered accidentally in my eye sophomore year resulted, after the eye was removed, in a school approved non-studious campus politician life, no more serious basketball (nor most sports), non draft status, and a huge network of close friends, faculty and students with an imprint of principles on my character and style that lasts to today.  I began signing my letters “Peace” then.  I ran several major events at Holy Cross (Parents Weekend, Junior Prom, etc.) which I still do today, and was a member of the Purple Key Honorary Society, and honored as “Man of the Year” as a senior.  Married one year after graduation (’56) with the first of five children soon to follow, I labored in the First National Bank of Chicago’s Executive Training Program and began night classes, just beginning to study and learn, at the University of Chicago.  Had some gifted professors, got very focused about life, decided I wanted “more” at work, while being mentored by two uniquely gifted bosses who were matrixed over my activities.

I became a “high flyer”, doing 70 hour weeks routinely, as an early computer expert with management communication and people skills, officed on the Executive floor (for the first time) as a very young Vice President and substituted for my “Executive Manager” boss often.  I helped begin the Society of Information Management (SIM) with him in 1968 and ran it for several years in my budget.  The bank enjoyed “Camelot” conditions, as did I and many of my associates.  While there, I attended the Aspen Institute of Humanistics Studies, began a long powerful relationship with Mortimer Adler, which extended my love of intellectual exploration and broad literature review, originally nurtured at Holy Cross and which continues until today.  In addition, I ran all the Bank’s major events and formal meetings, plus all the Aspen-in-Chicago meetings.  I left the Bank after 17 years, due to a strong style conflict with a new chairman (I was still on the Executive floor and very visible), began teaching full time in the Graduate Business School at Illinois Institute of Technology, grew a beard, began wearing the black eye-patch, and consulting.  I became President and later Executive Director of SIM.   Was on and became President of two school boards.  After four years of world travel and speeches, another more serious bout with cancer and a divorce, I became President of The Colonial Penn Group Data Corp., a computer/systems/mail house wholly owned subsidiary in Philadelphia with Board level status in the holding company as an Executive Manager, in another “Camelot” era of executive leadership intensity for three years.  I celebrated leaving by doing Outward Bound in deep winter, and returned to my client work, many of long term relationships.  Teaching here and there, I worked hard in the “Fast Lane” of several dimensions of life, with many relationships/and many clients, based in a “sports resort” bachelor’s pad on a lake in Deerfield, Illinois.   Here all five children, plus friends, often held athletic events which doubled as parties.  I always return to Holy Cross for reunions, ran my 30th and in the process publicly fell in love with Barbara.  She, from Boston – Honeywell, and I lived for seventeen years in a wonderful home in Riverwoods, with long term health stability, broad travel and reading as priorities.  A three year assignment as a Board Member of a large S&L in Texas, with an old First of Chicago friend as the new CEO, provided a unique, sobering, broadening business/leadership experience.  My parents lived to their 90’s, we became close again in the end via Barbara’s efforts, and I learn now in their memory.  My five children, their respective spouses, and 8 grandchildren are all, relatively speaking, intact, healthy, well educated and seemingly happy with their focus. Having mostly grown up myself, and begun living with a more healthy focus, I’m still learning and growing in many ways, interacting in my network (which is huge and sometimes available to others).  My favorite colors are black, red and silver.  Music of all kinds is and always has been a major love. My siblings and mother were accomplished artists and appreciative of fine art.  My artistic talent always showed up in design and spatial settings, but is now an expanding focus of growth, building Inukshuk sculptures, which incorporate Hai Ku & Calligraphy, and become gifts to wonderful people or groups.  My sign-off, as shown below, has also grown, with some pain but mostly its own content and is reflective of Barbara’s and my life together.  I counsel corporations and individuals, usually on a retainer basis. Designed, implemented and licensed to SIM, the Regional Learning Forum (RLF) model in the early ‘90’s.  Was selected to receive the 1994 I.S. Executive of the Year Award by the Chicago SIM Chapter of Information Management leaders.  Was elected to the Board of Directors of the Association of Internal Management Consultants [AIMC] in 1992, was elected Chairman in `94 during a “survival” phase of that organization & it’s now flourishing.  Was honored for my role in that turnaround at the `96 Annual Conference, which was their 25th anniversary!    A terrible 1995 bicycle accident broke me all apart, but was another huge if reluctant learning opportunity and has had deep impact on our lives. A June `98 Computerworld article cited me as IT’s Leadership/Spiritual “Guru”.  In October `98@ the Annual Conference, SIM gave me an engraved crystal, evoking my vibrancy after the above referenced second bout with cancer, “and in celebration and thanks for my leadership in shaping the foundations and future of Information Management”

My 50th Reunion from High School in 2002, which I helped run, initially provoked dreams leading to our new river conservation area home, here in Centerville on Cape Cod. It integrates, simplifies and allows room for new adventures, e.g. going back to school, in our life.  A wonderful place for neighbors, for traveling, for visits by children, family, friends, grandchildren, visits to Holy Cross, and for living fully together! My 45th Holy Cross College Reunion was an event of convergence (“Purple Knighthood”), moving to our record breaking spectacular 50th Reunion in 2006, which I helped run, with a huge sense of connection among classmates and with the School, & now working on our 60th.  The Forums I now help others run continue to be unique, always have a highly positive impact on participants, and integrate in ways often not obvious until afterwards for attendees.  I have always enjoyed being a catalyst!  I will continue to support self-sustaining internal LLF’s. I had my left knee replaced in August ’06, a cataract operation [very scary for me] in 2/12, my right hip replaced on 5/12, with two surprise emergency surgeries, 3/18-19/13. Health is now a priority. Am still drawing Tai Chi and technology into my personal & professional life, exploring my spiritual nature, striving to stay connected to my “Kernel of Power” (a LLF basic concept), visit health spas, and new places of charm & beauty with Barbara. I see myself well into the seventh phase of my life- 1. High Potential Leader, 2. CIO, 3. Executive Management Leader, 4. Counselor, 5. Leadership Developer, 6. “Living My legacy”, a “give back and look forward” time. I have been blending over the last 3.5 years, into the 7th phase, our next 14 for me and 27 years for Barbara [ON15&28Y], focusing on Organizing/Gathering/Sharing/Anticipating future LLF “Magic”, counseling others & developing myself.  This 7th = “To personally collaborate, integrate, anticipate, in select customized Partnerships” – to reflect all previous phases, growth, and my full life into our future. A divergent activity!!

PEACE, ENERGY, STRENGTH, & JOY, WITH KINDNESS AND RESULTS!     

Richard E. Dooley President, TDG, Inc.

© 2004, 2002, 1999, 2011 TDG, Inc.  All rights reserved.                                                                                                                                 3-9-2016    THE DOOLEY GROUP

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Richard E. Dooley – Essay Bio – Long Form # 61
A Leadership Leaning Forum Initial Exercise -The Story of Who You & How You got to be the Leader You Are

    

(This long form “Essay Bio” is optional, and usually has only been done by senior level speakers or forum sponsors. I’ve numbered this #61, way ahead of the obsolete two page version, which I used exclusively before. Henry Givray had suggested I do this, after he did his longer one for hos internal SmithBucklin LLF. His was most appropriate for that forum.

Then General Hal Nelson also encouraged me to do a longer version, and I’m thankful to them both for that push. This form is appropriate now. It’s been extraordinarily useful these last several years while I contemplated the continuation of my 6th phase, or beginning a new very different one  because of surgeries…the 7th […perhaps with less vision and less mobility]. As of this date, I’m clearly, healthy as can be, and happily blending my 6th phase, into new expanded growth challenges of the 7th [not the ones I feared] – see the last # on page 6 of this essay bio.)

I was born May 7, 1934, in River Forest, Illinois, an orderly, white, upper middle class suburban community which influenced my view of the world for years. But, my father was out of work. It was the Depression (we saved string and folded bags for reuse and “cleaned our plates” at every meal). My memories were/are very strong of the Depression “shadow” that was in our family, throughout the 1930’s, until WWll. We were not “poor” comparatively speaking, in River Forest suburban life. We were upper middle class, not “rich”, like north River Forest inhabitants, nor economically stretched as Cicero or internal Chicago residents (two nearby areas), at least in our minds. But money was carefully looked after……. Work /self-help/self-entertainment were completely expected. We were conservative in almost everything, “husbanding” $, assets, even time. This may have led to later, free spending habits in my middle years.

We grew a lot of produce in our backyard as WWII sponsored “Victory Gardens”, and saved grease and tin cans and turned them in regularly! My older brother-in-law was an officer in the Pacific. He sent me a Japanese officer’s bayonet which I still keep in my car. But the war was basically a distant thing for us kids… in the news & an explanation for a lot of things we couldn’t get or have.

The youngest of five children, (three sisters, one brother), I was happy and energetic; definitely “the baby”, resented that, and often was off on my own inventing games, or exploring. By four years younger than my next older sister, I always wanted to be with the “Bigger” guys. Or included in their conversations/interests. Perhaps this became a life-long urge. I was very often alone, on vacations especially, exploring, getting lost, re-connecting from dogs barking, or the sound of a highway in the distance, when I was deep into a woods or the Dunes. No one would allow their child to do that today. But I developed a sense of self–reliance, and curiosity. “Over the next hill” held real meaning for me. And developing games or fantasy contests was, and still is, a strong characteristic of mine.

Everyone but me thought I was spoiled, got the most, etc. I minded when my father stopped calling me “the apple of his eye” in response to the other siblings saying that wasn’t fair to the rest of the family. I actually thought of myself as a separate family in an odd way!! School was Catholic, 1/2 block away, and the nuns and I engaged in an ongoing battle of wits/guerrilla warfare but not learning.  My strongest memories of Catholic grammar school are of out-smarting several Nuns and being quite happy about that. They seemed like the only real target around, to “test” against, since I had no connection with upper class students, nor other schools. I made it clear to the teacher in 3rd grade when I figured out the pattern of answers to all our tests and would finish ahead of time, demonstrating that insight. Of course, then accusations of not paying attention, of cheating, etc. ended up with lectures @ home about not showing other people up, which took me years  to internalize. I got kicked out of 6th grade for not knitting up to expected speed, nor the proper quantity of squares (a blanket for that Nun), with a close, lifelong friend, back to 5th grade, where we were celebrated visitors from a older class, and loved the attention.

My father found out……another visitation, knitting stopped, we were re-admitted into 6th grade and nothing was ever said by those in authority, which I always wondered about. Likely conditioned me for my later ignoring authority figures now and then. Or generating my own direction, not just following others automatically.

Dad took me on many trips to Midwestern cities and on many long walks which I did most of my life. As the youngest (and favorite, as the older siblings said) he took me along on many short trips for his bank, making  loan review audits or visits to see the actual property, maybe 4-6 per day for 3-4 days, around Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, & Iowa. Eating out was great fun and I could play around the site. Or read in the car, learning to be observant, and satisfy my own curiosity. Dad was extremely observant, critical of things not done well or not working correctly and employees not trained, or just not doing the best possible job. Everything was under “audit” so to speak.  I believed that’s what men did when they grew up. I fantasized when I grew up that I’d run hotels or restaurants, because I knew everything they shouldn’t do, and everything they should do!  Dad walked for exercise, and explained the town (mostly smaller but actually ”Real” America), as we walked before dinner. I was learning well beyond River Forest, and well beyond Catholic Grammar school. A little bit, anyway. I was able to invite along, several neighborhood/schoolmates on some of these short trips……. a huge treat and strong memory. Close friends has always been a high priority.

High school seemed to beckon brightly, was all male, deeply athletic, run by Dominican priests, when hitting was okay, and being detained in penalty periods was a badge of courage. One priest mentored me for 30+ years which was a big positive. Our basketball coach was also superb and a deep influence. I nearly died with an unusual stomach operation sophomore year, grew eight inches while recuperating, and started playing Center @ 6’ 4”, on a wonderful Fenwick High School basketball team. Those teammates were also a big part of my growing and learning.

I learned being smart wasn’t given high status by most of my classmates, consciously let my marks drop, sophomore year, started smoking, on the sly, and trying to act “tough”. Seems incredible now. I wasn’t happy. Nor were my parents, nor siblings. With my new size I started playing basketball with greater promise, on a promising and newly relating team, with the coach craftily handling us immature teenagers. I wanted to be good but broke my arm badly; parking cars for a job in the late summer going into senior year and thereafter mostly watched the rest of the team almost achieve greatness. We ended up 27-7 after starting 17-0 and being ranked #1. Great lessons personally, and as a group, and also in my meeting the real world of hard competition with other High School Centers who were really “tougher’” than  I was. The Dominican priest, Fr. Tom Donlon, who took an interest in me, also did so with several other “good students/good people”. Lucky. Big influence. Through him, and with ourselves. The last 1.5 years were very different than my first 2.5 years of High School. This mentoring lasted throughout his life, over many phases of mine, and is surely a clear model of the depth of value, such relationships can provide/achieve!! So did my relationships with my teammates last, and provide great value in my life over many years! This is often so, for others, in my experience, from early intense interest in sports or some activity, especially with a team for some people. And… for other activities, it works best solo!!  Basketball remained a crucial interest and hobby for many years.

I’ve learned, more these latter years, that it’s important to shed, as well as stay connected, people & things we were conditioned to, growing up.

I was an Andy Frain Usher, all over the Chicago area for four years, learning about large crowds, moving people, directing lots of meetings, in lots of settings. Andy Frain only accepted tall young men. I put handkerchiefs in my shoes for the interview, was accepted and got to work at many different venues, learning the value of a uniform, of a confident/loud voice, looking right at people… and doing it early and fast!!

I used those insights in my managerial/leadership actions later. Ushering was good money, convenient and had a big impact on me. Lots of old-timers to pass on tips, and lots of camaraderie. And also lots of teamwork, e.g., helping each other, instantly, if there was an issue of some kind with a crowd or trouble maker! It helped me be very comfortable working on my own, with very little supervision. But….working with other ushers at ticket gates was my first real introduction to systematic “cheating”…by some ushers colluding together……stunned me….. I tried it, bending to their pressure…..didn’t like it at all, and asked to work elsewhere, but did not say why. Several lessons here! Foundational principles.

This all spanned several years of a very impressionable age for me. I got into The College of The Holy Cross almost casually by today’s standards and traveled east for a special education with the Jesuits. New York and New England were a revelation. Testing for being a  pilot as part of the AFROTC at Holy Cross, one doctor thought he saw something moving in my eye ( I had 20-10 vision), therefore alive, therefore perhaps malignant, and insisted I see several other Doctors. Nothing said to me really. Turned into a big deal with ½ dozen specialists all over the country. One, in Maine was the only eye doctor at that time who could photograph inside the eye. I had a big confrontation with him using his elaborate machine and when he said quickly …”well it’s got to come out’, I wasn’t receptive. In those days, no one even used the word “cancer”.  He did. Left no doubt. Said it wasn’t my decision. I had had neither pain nor any sight issues, and was privately looking forward to being a great basketball player. But had my eye removed in Chicago by a famous doctor, friend of the Family, @ Thanksgiving in my sophomore year. Melanoma was sitting on the optic nerve and his opinion was I’d have been dead in weeks. WOW. I had 4 A’s & two B+’s @ that time. Returned to school for end of semester exams, getting in sequence, 2 A’s, 2 C’s and 2 F’s, running out of the ability to read or see at all. So…many thought I should drop out of school, but  Holy Cross decided I could continue, but do  no more than two hours of any kind of reading per day, and all professors were so notified.  It took me about two days to realize I’d just been basically graduated, and I became a Campus Politician, especially in our class. My father wasn’t very happy with my focus, but I loved it, and learned early on, how to run things, & lead people.

Another thing that happened then, that I’m also just getting to manage now, was I became a huge “eater”!  Partly because of growth and activity, certainly because of seeking attention. I found that the design of the single eating Hall allowed for two 6 person tables with hundreds of 12 person tables. The waiters all came out of the kitchen with trays of food for 12!! I ate, double portions, there for four years! And made a point of going downtown to the most expensive hotel for an “All you can eat buffet” once a week. It became an acknowledged part of “my act”, which was an image I was slowly building without a lot of careful/rational thought!!  So with the cancer discovered accidentally in my eye sophomore year, and the school approved non-studious campus politician life, no more serious basketball (nor most sports), non-draft status,  I developed a huge network of close friends, faculty and students, with an imprint of principles on my character and style that lasts to today.  I began signing my letters “Peace” then.

Also, I ran or helped run, many events at Holy Cross (Parents Weekend, Junior Prom, football rallies, etc.) which I still do today, and was an important member for several years, of the Purple Key Honorary Society, and then honored  as the first  “Man of the Year”  as a senior. It became a School tradition.

I wondered about becoming a priest, but after a summer of thinking, decided to get married to a wonderful older sister of a close friend who was an undergraduate at Holy Cross, one year after graduation (1956), with the first of five children soon to follow. I labored in the First National Bank of Chicago’s Executive Training Program and began night classes, just beginning to study and learn for the first time, and of course, to add accounting and business understanding to my powerful base of Literature, math, and philosophy from Holy Cross, which didn’t cut any ice at the Bank.

First selective courses at Northwestern University’s Evening Division, then for an MBA at the University of Chicago. I graduated in 1965; 9 years later – “Get a pension” my bank associates said. I had some gifted professors, got very focused about life, and on providing for the growing family, and decided I wanted “more” at work.

I was being mentored by two uniquely gifted bosses, one who was a Holy Cross graduate who were both matrixed over my activities. They were each other’s close friends, & very different recognized leaders. Again very lucky and positive for me!! I became a “high flyer”, doing 70 hour weeks routinely, as an early systems installation expert with management communication and people skills. I was as the Manager of the low –cost checking department of the Bank, and was automated without notice, by the then called Data Processing Department, and have kept that client or “user” perspective until today. I then helped take the Bank’s Savings Department (run by one of my two mentoring bosses, and the largest Savings organization in the world in one place), from pen & ink customer handbooks, to a unique on-line system, first of its kind in Banking. It was a “moon-shot” then!!

Learning to travel and to speak publically, eventually I became Leader of all Systems, Computers, Methods, the print shop, the Library….anything that had to do with “Data” or “information”, officed on the Executive floor (for the first time) as the youngest Division Head and  often substituted for my “Executive Management” boss  (the second mentor).  I helped begin the Society of Management Information Systems, with him in 1968 along with 9 other, older technology/business leaders, & then ran it for several years in my budget, with my secretary & staff. I had become used to, often being “young”, and/or “early” in my career steps/actions!

The bank enjoyed “Camelot” conditions, as did I and many of my associates. We were an early leader & big capital investor in computer technology.  Almost exclusively IBM.  We “Beta“ tested everything!  And were often referenced as an organization that was ready for the future.  I was selected to attend the Aspen Institute of Humanistics Studies, began a long powerful relationship with Mortimer Adler. This experience extended my love of intellectual exploration and continues until today. In addition, I ran all the Bank’s major events and formal meetings, plus all the Aspen-in-Chicago meetings.

I left the Bank after 17 years, due to a strong style conflict with a new chairman (I was still on the Executive floor, very visible & very influential re: how the Bank operated daily).  This resulted in a major switch in life-style for my whole family as I began teaching full time in the Graduate Business School at Illinois Institute of Technology (grew a beard, began wearing the black eye patch, because of infections caused by chalk dust in the classroom).  Additionally I started consulting all over the world to make up for the difference in income and expense coverage while on the Bank’s Executive floor, versus then being only a new, young “visiting professor”.  The consulting work eventually edged teaching out of my schedule, and I became more of a Counselor, or mentor to CIO’s (now a recognized title), world-wide, primarily in large IBM installations.  I had helped my boss at First of Chicago begin the Society of Management Information Systems (later Society of Information Management – SIM). I moved it with me to Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) where it fit well with my consulting/teaching career. I had been all four officer positions in the society, lastly as President, and then became Executive Director of SIM for a number of years. The intensity and scope of my teaching, & counseling network benefited the early and continued growth of SIM.

During this intense time of the I.T. profession’s spectacular growth, and my growth with it, I was on, and became President of two school boards, with a great developing family of two boys, a wonderful girl, and two more boys.  After four more years of world travel and speeches and another more serious bout with cancer [again almost fatal] and a divorce, both serious disruptions in the whole family, my personal and professional life, I became President of The Colonial Penn Group Data Corp., a computer/systems/mail house wholly owned subsidiary, of a large very fast growing insurance organization, in Philadelphia. I had Board level status in the holding company, as an Executive Manager, in another “Camelot” era of three years of executive leadership Intensity. I enjoyed being a “czar”, the COO’s label – though not all of my peers agreed, I found out later. Likely I overplayed that role. I lived in a beautiful Condo within walking distance of Center City Philadelphia and travelled back to Chicago often to be with family and friends. I celebrated leaving Colonial Penn by doing an Outward Bound survival week, in deep winter, and returned to my client work, many of long term relationships.

Teaching here and there, I worked , as a young single male, in the “Fast Lane” of several dimensions of life, with many relationships/and many clients, based in a “sports resort” bachelor’s pad on a lake in Deerfield, Illinois. Here with all five children, plus friends, and clients (the beginning of my focus on the Leadership Learning Forum Process!)  I often held sessions, or athletic events which doubled as parties.  I always returned to Holy Cross for reunions, ran my 30th and in the process, publicly fell in love with Barbara.  A person of many like attributes/interests/experiences, who literally stopped me in my self-absorbed fast track life!!  She, from Boston & Honeywell, and I married, living there for seventeen years in a wonderful home in Riverwoods, Illinois.

I focused on doing unique leadership forums, often at corporate sites, or Normandy, or Gettysburg, called “Cross Industry Field trips”. Barbara helped me with a personal focus on long term health stability (very new for me), broad travel, closeness, and reading as priorities.  A wonderful shift and awesome fundamental change, to say the least.  Many had thought, in our initial relationship, Barbara was doomed by her commitment to our life.

A three year assignment as a Board Member of a large Savings and Loan Association, failing in Texas, with an old First of Chicago friend as the new CEO, provided a unique, sobering, broadening business/leadership experience, further shifting my counseling away from Systems or Information Technology, into business leadership. And I started saving money, investing it, for the first time ever, again with Barbara’s habits & follow through!

My parents both lived to their 90’s. I became close again, to each, in the end via Barbara’s efforts, and I learn now in their memory.  My five children, their respective spouses, and 8 grandchildren are all, relatively speaking, intact, healthy, well educated and seemingly happy with their focus. The older grandsons are now well into their own professional lives. Emerging leaders actually. Wonderful!!

Having mostly grown up myself (a lot, perhaps not enough) and begun living with a much more mature and balanced  focus, I’m still learning and growing in many ways, interacting in my network (which is huge and sometimes available to others).  My favorite colors are black, red and silver.  Music of all kinds is and always has been a major love. My siblings and mother were accomplished artists and appreciative of fine art.  My artistic talent, dormant for years, only showed up in design and spatial settings, but is now an expanding focus of growth, building Inukshuk sculptures, which incorporate Hai Ku & Calligraphy. These sculptures become gifts to close friends or outstanding LLF groups. Art, its study, exploration, and actually doing it, with my own hands and eye, is an integrating activity in my life now. My sign-off, as shown below, has also grown, with some challenge but mostly in its own content, and is reflective of Barbara’s and my life together.

I counsel corporations and individuals, usually on a retainer basis.  I designed, implemented and licensed to SIM, the Leadership Learning Forum (LLF) model in the early ‘90’s, and argued about its ownership/direction for several years.  Was selected to receive the 1994 I.S. Executive of the Year Award by the Chicago SIM Chapter of Information Management leaders.  Was elected to the Board of Directors of the Association of Internal Management Consultants [AIMC] in 1992, and was elected Chairman in `94 during a “survival” phase of that organization. It’s now flourishing.  Was honored for my role in that turnaround at their `96 Annual Conference, which was their 25th anniversary!    A terrible 1995 bicycle accident broke me all apart, but was another huge if reluctant learning opportunity and had deep impact on our lives. Further maturity…slowly! A June `98 Computerworld article cited me as the I.T. profession’s Leadership and Spiritual “Guru”.  In October `98@ the Annual Conference, SIM gave me an engraved crystal, evoking my vibrancy, after, the above referenced second bout with cancer, “and in celebration and thanks for my leadership in shaping the foundations and future of Information Management”. A big honor, very gracefully done.

My 50th Reunion from High School in 2002, which I helped run, initially provoked relocation dreams for us, leading to our new river conservation area home, here in Centerville on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. It too integrates, and simplifies, allowing room for new adventures in our lives, e.g. going back to school.

It’s a wonderful place for neighbors, for traveling, for visits by children, family, friends, grandchildren, visits to Holy Cross, and my fourth set of 25 years!! My 45th Holy Cross College Reunion was an event of convergence (“Purple Knighthood”), preparing for, & leading to my class’s record breaking spectacular 50th Reunion there in 2006, which I again helped run, with a deep sense of connection among classmates and with the School.

The Leadership Learning Forums I have run for years have had a huge impact on thousands of emerging leaders (which actually is all of us) I now help others run, in their own best way, forums custom designed for their internal organization, which continue to be unique, and integrate, for the organizations and their staff, in ways often not obvious until afterwards.  I have always enjoyed being such a catalyst!  I will continue all this support to self-sustaining internal LLF’s, as long as there is a demand for it. I had my knee replaced in August ’06, got back to full recovery and making health an even higher priority. Am still drawing Tai Chi, a long time focus of exercise, balance, and meditation, into my entire life. Also trying to do the same with personal technology. Likewise I am exploring my spiritual nature now, which I had let languish for years, first in spurts, more now as a process. Am also striving to stay connected to my “Kernel of Power”, a Leadership Learning Forum basic concept, from the book of that title. Plus make sure to visit health spas, and new places of charm & beauty with Barbara, and visit together, all family members, multiple times each year.

I see myself well into the 7th phase of my life – 1.-high Potential leader, 2.- CIO, 3.- Executive management Leader, 4.- Counselor, 5.- Leadership developer, 6.- Living My legacy…a giveback and give forward time. I have now been blending over the last 3.5 years, mu 6th, into my 7th phase, which is shaped by my current long range plan – ON14&27Y [our next 14 years for me and 27 for Barbara]. It focuses on Organizing, gathering, sharing, anticipating the Future of LLF “, counseling others and developing myself. This 7th phase =To personally Collaborate, Integrate, Anticipate, in select customized Partnerships” – to reflect all the previous phases, plus growth, and my full life into our future. A divergent activity.

I often re-designed & re-wrote my 30-year plan…to 25….to 20…to 15 – and now back up to 27 years to plan for Barbara’s expected life, and have integrated & simplified, all my goals /targets into the pathway there!! Approaching my 82nd birthday, this focus provides a powerful learning/growing framework for me, especially as I continuously plan for our future. This 7th phase of my career is, in fact, intensely “teaching” me…. I perhaps learn, change, grow and lead better, perhaps benefiting as much as anyone ever did….…why didn’t I do that earlier earlier???…….perhaps not ready……. perhaps not willing?? But I’m very happy to have those opportunities today!!  Especially continuing helping others learn their best way of re-creating the unique “Magic” of the LLF process, I have re-assessed my own development targets, and an appropriate level of work, all personal and professional goals, both integrating and simplifying them!! I am hoping to continue living happily & healthily, as my parents did well into their 90’s, with Barbara, giving back as much as I can, to family, friends, clients, and forum graduates.

I hope you will too, using your own legacy as a base, to help others learn, change, lead, and to meet their future, as an extension of your own on-going process!!

PEACE, ENERGY, STRENGTH, & JOY, WITH KINDNESS AND RESULTS!     

Richard E. Dooley President, TDG, Inc.

© 1999, 2004, 2009, 2012 TDG, Inc.  All rights reserved.                                                                                                                                3/9-2016    THE DOOLEY GROUP

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