First Concepts Consultants, Inc.
Innovative thinking on leadership, strategic alignment, culture, employee retention, customer value and sales
First Concepts helps organizations improve what affects their ability to produce results, execute strategies, maintain growth, change for the better, and sustain long term success. Those end results are all about the alignment between what goes on inside the organization and what it seeks to achieve.
The people, culture, structure, systems, communications and more that comprise how well an organization functions must be fully aligned with where the organization is going for it to deliver the best end results. Alignment involves aligning everyone with the markets and customers a company serves so they are on the same page going in the same direction for the same reasons. Alignment is ultimately about leadership throughout all levels of the organization and everything that affects the way employees feel about working there.
How well the structure, systems, policies, procedures, standards, operating methods perform is all about people and that’s all about leadership. Even today’s hot topics like culture, teamwork, employee engagement and employee retention are primarily driven by the level of leadership and strategic alignment.
For 30 years, First Concepts has applied an objective, system thinking, research based approach to understand the complex issues that affect alignment and find clear and powerful ways to improve it. What we have learned from our experiences has increased our focus on the importance of effective leadership and leadership development.
It takes an organization full of effective, trusted leaders to fully align everything with strategy. Those leaders help shape, embed and sustain the organization’s culture. They are the key driving force behind employee engagement, retention, teamwork and performance. This has resulted in First Concepts redefining the meaning of leadership and identifying what type of leaders produce the best results.
When all of that is combined with a clear understanding of how all the parts and pieces in an organization affect each other and the execution of strategy, everything can be aligned to deliver the best end results.
President & Founder, First Concepts Consultants, Inc.
“Don Shapiro is the guy that asked the questions no one else ever ask”
For 30 years, Don has worked with for profit and non-profit organizations in over 32 industries to discover ways to grow and operate better based on his original research and experience in the areas of leadership, strategic alignment, strategy, customer value, marketing and sales. The core of his work is all about what causes organizations to consistently perform at their best so they deliver the best long term results.
He started his career as a restaurant manager with Lawry’s Restaurants famous for Lawry’s The Prime Rib. They have remained in business for 93 years delivering extraordinary service and quality because they made leadership and employee relations their top priority. Behind all those decades of success lies one of the highest employee retention rates in the history of the restaurant business which is notorious for high employee turnover. What Don learned from the veteran managers and executives who mentored him at Lawry’s ultimately led to his founding First Concepts where he could spend full time figuring out how to replicate that success in other organizations and industries.
Besides being a restaurant manager, Don has been a sales representative, customer service supervisor, operations executive and a Chief Marketing Officer for a national corporation. Since founding First Concepts, he has worked with hundreds of managers and executives which allowed him to pinpoint why some of them outperformed others. That along with other studies he conducted and his review of the latest research on leadership, alignment, culture, employee engagement and employee retention helped him develop many innovative concepts to improve performance.
In the area of sales and marketing, Don has traveled with hundreds of sales people as they called on customers and has had over 2000 salespeople call on him as a buyer. Through these experiences, he discovered how customers figure out what they value, how customers use value to make a decision to buy, and how salespeople and marketing strategist can use these insights to help more customers say yes more often. He has developed and delivered training programs for salespeople in many industries that take them on a safari deep inside the minds of their customers.
Don is known for his energetic, fun and interactive speeches, seminars and training programs. He has spoken before hundreds of organizations and associations to share his innovative ideas and offer a fresh perspective on how we can actually deliver better results.
He is a co-author and editor of the book The Character-Based Leader and is currently working on another book Lead with Trust. Don is a graduate of the Executive Program in Management at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and did his undergraduate studies in communications and business administration. He has been an active member of Toastmasters for over 20 years and believes it offers one of the best learning laboratories to grow as a communicator and leader.
Problem solving experiences from Don’s early career that lead him to become a consultant