Next Level


What is our “next level” and how do I get my company there?

You work really hard to build a business with increasing capability, growing profitability, and a creative and happy workforce and culture.

Your success depends on a balancing act of perfecting details on the ground, and inspiring visions at 10000 feet. You need to always be cognizant of doing things right, while doing the right things; of when you can say yes, and when you must say no. You need to know what you’re doing, but always be learning. 

What kind of resource will help you most, to gain a fresh perspective, with clarity about what needs to be transformed, championed, dismantled, accomplished? How can you achieve a holistic view of your company, to accurately predict what is needed, so you can create a real 5 year plan?

Alan Robinson (UMass business professor, author of 5 books on corporate creativity) and Ira Bryck (UMass Family Business Center director, host of a radio show about business) offer you our observations and insights as expert advisors who have worked with hundreds of companies over many years. You will receive our diagnosis and game plan, describing what you need to do to achieve the dramatic improvements your company needs to excel.

We will thoughtfully explore your company from top to bottom, ask vital questions, find where problems are hiding, and reveal where solutions can be found. We are curious, experienced, and knowledgeable about how business works, and should work better. We will engage you a confidential conversation about what you need to do to achieve a strategic lift in operations, management, strategy, marketing, human resources and more. Getting new eyes on your situation can be a powerful force for the change you need.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss this more with you. Please contact us to arrange a conversation.

Ira Bryck at 413 575 5850 / [email protected] or Alan Robinson at 413 545 5640 / [email protected]


More about Alan Robinson and Ira Bryck

Dr. Alan G. Robinson specializes in lean production, managing continuous improvement, creativity, ideas and innovation, and is the co-author of five books, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. According to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), Modern Approaches to Manufacturing Improvement — his 1991 book with Shigeo Shingo, one of the developers of the Toyota Production System — “remains a must-read for anyone interested in lean production”. Corporate Creativity (co-authored with Sam Stern) was named “Book of the Year” by the Academy of Human Resource Management, was a finalist in the Financial Times/Booz Allen & Hamilton Global Best Business Book Awards, and has been translated into thirteen foreign languages. Robinson’s latest book Ideas Are Free (co-authored with Dean Schroeder) was based on a global study of more than 150 organizations in 17 countries. It describes how the best companies go about getting large numbers of ideas from their front-line employees, and the competitive advantages they gain from this. The book was named Reader’s Choice by Fast Company magazine and one of the 30 best business books of 2004 by Soundview Executive Books, and was featured on ABC World News and CNN Headline News. A syndicated small business columnist for Scripps-Howard, Paul Tulenko, wrote about Ideas Are Free, “I rate this book 5 1/2 stars, a first in this category. It’s that powerful. (Only the Bible and the Constitution receive 6 stars.)”. Robinson has advised more than 200 companies in fifteen countries on how to improve their performance. Some of his more well-known recent clients include: the Federal Reserve Bank, Lucent Technologies, General Electric, IKEA, Mass Mutual, UBS, Alcan, Volkswagen, Standard and Poors, The Washington Post, Wyeth, Medtronics, Blue Shield of California, Toyota, Northeast Utilities, Millitech, Bemis, Pyosa (the Mexican chemical company), Fanuc (the Japanese robotics company), Brookhaven National Laboratory, Coor Service Management, Lafayette 148 and the Applied Physics Laboratory. He has served on the Board of Examiners of the United States’ Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and on the Board of Examiners for the Shingo Prizes for Excellence in Manufacturing. Dr. Robinson is on the faculty of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A./M.A. in mathematics from the University of Cambridge. He has also taught at St. Petersburg Technical University in Russia, the Athens Laboratory of Business Administration in Greece (affiliated with INSEAD), the Jagiellonian University in Poland, the University of Porto in Portugal, the Hanoi Business School, and Tianjin University in China.

Ira Bryck is Director of the UMass Family Business Center at UMass Amherst Continuing & Professional Education. Since Ira began the center in 1994, it has provided a non-commercial, interactive learning community for business families in Western New England and beyond. Ira produces the educational website and advice column, Dear Ira: Fresh Air and Cold Water for the Perplexed Business Family. Ira also consults to family companies, partnerships, non-profits, and educational institutions to resolve conflict, professionalize meetings and management, create systems for improvement, better serve customers, plan strategy and marketing, and control the chaos. He helps ownership figure out compensation issues, create entry and exit policies for the current and future generations, navigate personality and stylistic differences, and how to capitalize on the family ownership of the company, without allowing entitlement create a non-meritocracy. He is a talented facilitator of executive roundtables, utilizing strategic questioning to help businesses owners think more clearly about their challenges and options. He helps companies design and produce planning retreats, to take a step back to think through how the organization will change and develop. He has worked with many levels of a company to design mission statements that are true reflections, and inspire pride and effort; more than catch phrases, cast in stone by only upper management. Ira is the author of three plays about life in family business, presented as “edu-tainment” to forums of business families. His third play, A Tough Nut to Crack, is based on his 17 years in his family’s 4th generation childrenswear business on Long Island, where he served simultaneously in every role from president to tailor. He also is the host of The Western Mass Business Show on WHMP in Northampton, Mass, a weekly radio program where he interviews business owners and expert advisors on the many aspects of operating a company.

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