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Episode 207: Deciding What You Do—and Don’t Do—as a Consultant—with Chandler Arnold

Deb Zahn: I want to welcome you to this week's episode of the Craft of Consulting Podcast. So, on this show, we are going to talk about two of my favorite things in the whole world: focus and clarity. And I brought on someone who talks about how he gave himself the gift of focus and the gift of clarity, and it made so much easier in terms of laying out what his consulting path was going to be. So, Chandler Arnold is going to jump on and he's going to share all of the different areas where he's given himself those gifts and again, made everything easier after that. So, let's get started. Hi, I want to welcome to my show today, Chandler Arnold. Chandler, welcome to the show.

Chandler Arnold: Thanks so much for having me, Deb.

Deb Zahn: So, let's start off, tell my listeners what you do.

Chandler Arnold: Well, my approach is to rethink the world of philanthropy. To think about how this sector can evolve and how enlightened donors or unconventional donors can think about new ways to drive more impact in terms of the dollars they're giving away and more meaning for their own lives. And I run a firm called Untraditional Philanthropy.

Deb Zahn: So, we've talked before. So, you know how happy that makes me, given that all the things I would like to see philanthropy not do again, I think that's great. So, when you were starting Untraditional Philanthropy, I imagine that you sort of took a step back and there was all kinds of different things that you could do for all kinds of different people, which is where a lot of us start, but you made the really wise choice to more narrowly define who you wanted to work with, your ideal client. So, why did you do that? Why were you that wise, Chandler?

Chandler Arnold: Well. OK. Deb, you and I do know each other, so I'm going to pull back the curtain and invite you back to The Wizard of Oz scenario. This is actually my second consulting enterprise. Right before the pandemic, I sort of hung my shingle out as an independent consultant. I'd worked in the social impact world for 20 years, running nonprofits, working with big Fortune 500 companies on their giving, generous families. I'll tell you, when I started that first enterprise, Deb, I kind of was sort of here for the social impact question that's ailing you and that was good, but part of my work was with corporations and part of it was with nonprofits or social enterprises doing strategic planning and part of it was working with philanthropists and donors. I'm so glad I did that because I learned a great deal.

I sort of understood after a couple of years where the real fit was in terms of what I wanted to do in the world, the change I wanted to drive, and the real value that I could create for clients. That was really in the philanthropy category, which was kind of a third of that first enterprise. So, I essentially relaunched my work under a new name, Untraditional Philanthropy, focusing solely on that piece. So, I don't want those of you listening because I know that I've listened to this podcast and gotten a great deal out of it and thought, "Damn, why didn't I think of that in the first place?" I didn't think of it in the first place. I thought of it in the second place, but it was an important process to go through. As you and I have talked about figuring out who I am in the world, the value that I bring, sort of authentically bringing together all my past experiences.

Who that resonates with the most, I spent a lot of time, months and months and months figuring that out. For those of you listening who might be in that process, it's not a short process, and furthermore, you don't want it to be short. You don't want it to be simple because some of the truths and some of the things I discovered were not what I was expecting, and it took some time.

Deb Zahn: I love that, and I love that, you're right, it does take time. So, I'm like you, I didn't do this the first time. I flopped around and floundered quite a bit when I started, but I love the fact that it's not like, "Oh and today I'll do this." And it's a much more deliberate process. How did you know to reject certain things like how did you know to say, "OK, yes, I could do strategic planning for nonprofits or corporations, but that's not where I'm headed." How did you figure out to say no to things?

Chandler Arnold: It's a great question and let me be honest here too, there's a huge temptation to take in your early days, especially if you have financial realities that you're facing, it's very tempting to take that project that you could probably do, but you would need to pretzel and contort yourself into something that you aren't really focused on. I'm here to tell you that there is some gray area at the periphery, and I think all of us sometimes find ourselves in situations where we ask ourselves, is this close enough to the ideal project for me? Sometimes, you make different decisions there, especially in your early days, but I think part of it... I'm 47. My husband and I just had our second child at the time that I was launching this…fantastic time to launch a social enterprise with a new idea.

Deb Zahn: 100%

Chandler Arnold: Also Deb, I think it gave me confidence to sort of be bolder and to be clearer about who I am and the value that I add, being in a number of organizations as the number two or working with co-founders where I needed to co-create our goals. This was a really meaningful opportunity for me to think about who is Chandler in the world? What value do I bring? How do all these different experiences that I've had, that from the outside might seem disparate or not cohesive? I really realize that these unique experiences set me up to do this one thing incredibly well. I think that process gave me clarity. Now, when I speak to a client, I'll tell you, I was born in '75. I grew up in the 80s. I was a yes guy. I never wanted to sort of ruffle feathers.

It was hard for me to say no, and I found that when I'm speaking to a client and they might say, we'd like to do A, B and C, in my earlier days, I probably would've said, "Yes, I can do that." Even though I knew that A was perfect, B was kind of halfway there and C wasn't really a fit. Now, I am much better at saying, "Look, I want to do my very best work and help you advance your goals super powerfully." A is a perfect fit, and B could be perfect if we adjusted it in this way, and C is really out of scope for my core focus, but in these great other consultants and advisors that do work in those areas, how about we focus on A and B and I make some recommendations around C. There's not been anyone that had a problem with that. In fact, they've appreciated that.

I think that that confidence and that clarity about who I am and what value I offer makes them more comfortable. Looking back, I think I was sort of worrying about conversations that aren't really that challenging.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love that. I love that because yes, to say no, I found that they love it because they're so used to other consultants who do the yes version and then, underdeliver because they could never have actually achieved and they've had that experience, and they don't want it again. So, you are helping them prevent it. So, I love that you took deliberate time to figure out who am I in the world, who should I be working with and what kind of work that I should be doing? So, once you gave yourself that gift of focus, you still had to obviously take a whole series of actions to then, make things happen. How did that initial focus help you take your next steps?

Chandler Arnold: One thing that I'm really proud of is that it gave me a lot of clarity as to sort of who I am, what my superpower is. I used to think that that was strategic planning or I don't know, relationship building or impact measurement. I do all those things, but as I thought about it, I think my superpower is around building trust quickly, getting to know someone in a way that they feel comfortable being honest about what their real goals are. Here, I'm not talking about what my mama calls the Sunday school answer because sometimes I'll speak with a client and I'll say, "What do you want to do with this donor advice fund," for example. They'll say, "I want to help children." That could be true. But you ask a few more questions there.

The real answer might be, I want to help children and my kids and grandkids are involved in our philanthropy and we all have different priorities and it's actually causing some really painful division within our family. I'd love to figure out a way that we can all do this together, collaboratively and get along. That is a very different answer than I want to help kids and they can all be true, but once... I think I do a good job of being able to build trust and have those conversations and then the strategic planning comes in because then you can say, "We are here at A and we want to end up at D, and now we have a clear understanding of what D looks like and here are the steps that we're going to create together to get there."

So, I think I got a lot of clarity about what I bring, and I also know a good bit about education and literacy from my past work, but I'm not an expert on brain cancer or climate change or women's rights. At first, I was really scared about that because I think we all have insecurities about what we can and can't do.

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Chandler Arnold: I did something, Deb, I kind of did an exercise. I'm like, "What if I radically embraced my own limitations and thought about that and what might that look like? And then, I realized that while I can do certain things really well and have certain areas of expertise, I also have been doing this work for 25 years, and I have friends that are running brain cancer organizations and women's organizations and climate organizations, and I reached out to them and built out a panel of what I call subject area experts. These are practitioners, social entrepreneurs, running local, national, globally award-winning organizations who've said, "Hey, we'll come in and you'll run the process, you'll run the project, but if they need deep dive intel on cutting edge trends in climate change or what we're seeing with the women's movement in the field, we can come in and give that expertise."

So, that thing that I was so worried about, that I was so insecure about has actually become one of the very strongest things that we offer and one thing that really distinguishes us in the field. So, that exercise of radically accepting and embracing your limitations can be really powerful.

Deb Zahn: I love that because until you surface it and embrace it, you can't really solve it because-

Chandler Arnold: Especially, if you're kind of scared to admit it yourself.

Deb Zahn: My goodness. I love that. Well, that explains... because of course on your website, I went and looked at your rockstar. I'm just going to call them the rockstar panel of folks that you have at your disposal, and I started to get jealous and then, I'm like, "That's a fabulous idea. Others consultants should think about that," because there aren't... there's amazing talent to be tapped into at any given time. Fabulous. Well, the other thing that I really liked is you're also, again focusing, clarity is I think kind of a theme throughout what I've seen that you do in the choices you're making. So, one of the things, if you go on your website and you look at what we do, there are three sort of clear steps you take folks through and each of those has three really clear substeps that you take them through.

So, if I was trying to figure out what might this look like for me and is this valuable to me? It was so obvious that it is. So, how did you develop those? How'd you figure out what's going to resonate when I either say this or people see this?

Chandler Arnold: Well, I was a BCG consultant for years and we'd love to think in buckets of three.

Deb Zahn: Of course.

Chandler Arnold: Whether someone is coming to me saying, "I want to create a donor-advised fund, or I want to look at establishing a family foundation, or I want to think about my own charitable giving." They can come with lots of different questions, but as I thought through it, the process and the journey is pretty similar for each of those opportunities. Exactly as you mentioned, I sort of thought through, "Well, what in broad strokes..." I tried to put myself in the client's shoes because the first draft, which you don't see of this website is talking about all the things that I do and why Untraditional Philanthropy loves its own model, and there was some naval gazing there. I tried to invert that and to say, "OK, if I was a client, what would I want to read about?" So, the first question is how do I choose the cause that's right for me? There's, as you mentioned, three sorts of sub-elements to that. Then, the second one is, "How can I increase and measure my impact?"

And there's three sub-questions to that, and the third is, how can my family be involved? And there are three sub-questions to that. Now, is every single client focused on every one of those questions and all nine of those subpoints? No, but does most everyone connect and resonate... does that connect and resonate with them? Yes, and they can understand my thought process and how it fits into the problem that they're trying to solve. That's even true of the very first sentence on the website. "We're the only impact advisory of its type in the world, working with individuals, families, foundations, and their advisors to increase philanthropic impact." I wanted those users, those clients to see themselves right up front, not to read about how fun I am or any of a number of ways that you could start a website.

Again, what you're seeing now is not the first version, and I'm updating this all the time. So, again, for those of you listening, I think that the perfect can be the enemy of the good a lot of times with this work, and I should have launched this site six months earlier and just tested and iterated and learned and evolved. So, another message I'd like to share is sort of peace and comfort with regard to that, recognizing that this work is evolutionary.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, absolutely. So, two things I'd say about one is you are oriented towards the client, which I love that. Then, the other thing is if you hadn't given yourself the clarity of who do I work with and what do I do, you couldn't have had a message that's that clear because it would've been, "Well, I do stuff depending on who you are," which isn't really a strong message to deliver to anybody.

Chandler Arnold: Totally agree, and as I'm sure your listeners know from some other podcasts you've done and other work in this field, hopefully, anyone that looks at that website says to themselves, "Wow, I know one or two people that might benefit from this." Not, "I know 20 or 30 people that might benefit from... that might be too broad," and not, "Oh God, I've never heard of anyone that could benefit from this because that would be too narrow," but hopefully, they think of a couple of people that, "Oh, wow." And I do a lot of work with consultants, a lot of collaborative work with consultants in other fields and adjacent spaces. Sometimes someone will come to me with a question or project that I'm not the right person for. I can say, great question, and if there's synergies there later, I would love to chat about it, but let me refer you to some friends and colleagues that are more closely connected to that question that you are pondering.

Deb Zahn: If you weren't that clear, I wouldn't be able to do that because I wouldn't really know what your thing is, and you don't want somebody sending you 20 random people to talk to because that's potentially 20 hours of your time, 10 to 20 hours of your time, and two of those may be relevant, and the other ones were just somebody taking their best guess.

Chandler Arnold: Totally true and even, Deb, as you know, if you're super clear, I'll speak for myself. I still get people who come in, and they're not exactly the ideal client. Now, when I find myself in a conversation with them, and I discover that they're not the ideal client, I do not hang up the phone and run screaming for the conversation. "While we're here, let's talk about it. Tell me what you have in mind." Sometimes when they understand what it is you actually do, they'll say, "Oh, well that's not what I thought it was, but I actually have this other project that's right up your line," or I also think the karma is just here and with us. I was on a call the other day with someone who they work with a social enterprise organization. While I occasionally do special projects with social enterprise groups around how they work with donors and funders, it wasn't really my focus, but she was amazing.

It was a wonderful organization; it was a great conversation. Then, at the end of the call, she said, "Oh, by the way, my good friend from college just sold her company. She's thinking about how to do her philanthropy, and I didn't realize that that's what you did, but thank you so much for these... you gave me, and you're the type of person that I could see her connecting with. Let me think about connecting you two." So, the world is also small, and I think leading with kindness and helpfulness whenever you can, it's just the way that we all should be, and it also is a great client aggregation strategy as well.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, it's a magnet because people also are thinking about who do they want to hang out with or who do they want to suggest people they know hang out with, and if you're a good, kind, generous person, then chances are you're going to rise to the top of that list.

Chandler Arnold: It's so true. I worked for years for an amazing social entrepreneur named Kyle Zimmer, and she has a phrase that is best call of the day, and she encourages everyone in that organization to make every call they have the best call of that person's day, and it could be an unhappy person calling in who didn't get what they thought they wanted, or it could be the phone bill person or it could be a donor, or it could be whoever, but if it's the best call of the day for that person, they're going to remember and they're going to refer other people to that great group that they had that wonderful phone call with.

Deb Zahn: My gosh I feel like that needs to be a T-shirt: be someone's best call of the day, which is exactly what I tell people, if you're... let's say you're on a client discovery call, chances are they have had a whole bunch of really frustrating, annoying, boring calls that they have been on, they have been Zoomed to death probably by the time it hit 11. So, what if you show up and you give them something different that is actually enjoyable where they feel listened to, when they feel like no one else ever listens to them. I mean, that's how you make connections.

Chandler Arnold: 100%. Another question that I ask all the time is, if you had a magic wand, what would... fill in the rest of the sentence, what would your work look like in two years? What would this project look like at the end of the day? What would your boss think about the work that you're doing? When you give them the microphone in a really authentic way and invite them to talk about the things that are really driving and motivating and are important to them, it's easy to then follow up and say, "Wow, I heard A, B, and C. Here's what we could do together." I think some of us consultants need to get out of our own way and maybe talk a little less upfront-

Deb Zahn: Yes.

Chandler Arnold: Look, tell us what they really need and listen and hear that.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, I don't do the wand. I say, "OK if you were king or queen of the universe, I'm going to give you a crown just for a bit. You're going to have to give it back, but what would, dot, dot, dot look like?" Usually, they're like, can I just keep the crown? I'm like, "OK it's yours, but don't tell anybody else." What's nice about that is you're not just saying, "What's on your to-do list that you have to get through because that might matter, that's going to be part of the conversation because those are some of the pains that they have." You're basically saying, if you could dream, if you could imagine, and you don't know if anybody has asked them that recently.

Chandler Arnold: I couldn't agree more, and I think that they hang... what's the quote from Maya Angelou. "People don't remember what you say. They remember the way you made them feel," and if they feel heard, if they feel inspired, if they feel excited, if they feel connected, you can figure out the details of, is this a three-month engagement or a four-month engagement? All of that up and down the line, but I think those connective dreaming conversations where the person all of a... and you can see the light bulb go on when they're like, "Oh my God, I didn't realize that we actually have the opportunity to do this." It's sort of like periscoping above the kind of day-to-day, to get to that bigger why question.

Deb Zahn: That's right. Which might have been why they got into it in the first place before the mundane realities started to take over. Yeah, my goodness. I love that. So, I got to say, the other place that I really liked the clarity you had is in your offer. So, there's what we do, which is written from the perspective of them, but even there... I got to give you some props for this. So, I went to look at your offer because that's presumably here's what our services are, and the first thing I saw above every service is the value of it, but you weren't saying it, it was a quote from your ideal client, well done. I just loved that, but it also, I could tell you, went through... you had clarity about the offers. You allowed for a dreamy space, which is... I'm going to call it the dreamy space, which is special projects, right?

So, you allowed for other cool things, but how did you approach that and say... because you weren't just saying yes to things, you were saying no to things too. So, how did you approach that sort of yes, no, until you got to the place where is as clear as it is?

Chandler Arnold: There was a lot of back and forth there, Deb and I think... so when you and I spoke first, the offerings page wasn't really what it is now. There was a what we do page, there was a what we don't do page, which I'd love to talk about-

Deb Zahn: Which we're getting to that because I love that.

Chandler Arnold: The offerings, it was really a kind of everything but the kitchen sink, space?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Chandler Arnold: I own that. I feel like I needed to go through that era in order to figure out how to narrow. So, I lived with everything in the... and the kitchen sink phase for a while. We can do this with nonprofits. We can do this with family foundations, we can do this with individuals. Then, I sort of listened to the questions that clients were asking.

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Chandler Arnold: And thought about where I could add the most value and also, realized that if I could choose two or three things that we do really well and hone that process, then from a client service perspective, there's so much more efficiency and power. Yeah, so for example, one question a lot of philanthropists and donors have are about donor-advised funds. I know you, Deb, know all about these. For those of you who are listening and don't know as much, it's a fairly new though they've been around for a while, philanthropic vehicle, whereby an individual... say you're selling a company. Say your founder is selling a company, you want to make a tax-deductible charitable contribution in conjunction with the sale of that enterprise, but maybe you don't know who you want to give that money to or you would rather sort of dole it out over time.

You could put all of that contribution into an account, let's say 10 million dollars. You immediately get that 10-million-dollar benefit for your own taxes, and then, you have years if you want them to distribute that money, it kind of becomes like a little mini foundation-

Deb Zahn: Yeah. Yeah.

Chandler Arnold: Yeah, without all the red tape of that, and a lot of people do that, and a lot of people put the money in and then, give the money out, but a lot of people put the money in because they're working with our financial advisor to create that vehicle and then, after they put the money in, they're sort of not sure what to do. They kind of get crippled with options, and it frequently happens that the person that help you set up that account who's an expert in those decisions is not necessarily an expert in helping you figure out what causes mean the most to you or doing due diligence on leadership teams. So, I talked to so many people who said we... we've set up a donor advice fund, but we don't know what to do next. I realized there's an unmet market need here.

If I develop offerings for those people, I could sort of take one set of offerings and package it in a number of different ways. There can be a bespoke one-on-one module. There can be a small group cohort module. There can be a free one-hour webinar module. So, I think another benefit of focusing is that you can really figure out a lot of ways to sort of serve up that content, that service to meet these clients. Then, obviously, if one person goes through version A, they're like, "Wow, they really know what they're doing about these donor advice funds." Let me tell everyone I know who's thinking of donor advice funds. So, longer answer to a shorter question, but we did think a lot about that.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, I love that, and it also lets you do outreach and marketing in a much more focused way because now you know who you're supposed to go talk to, as opposed to, "Oh, OK, so if my ideal client is everyone, I guess I got to... let me write down, let me go talk to everyone. Then, let's see, I have to talk to them about things. OK, let me go talk to them about everything all at once." Of course, I just won all the Oscars, so that's legit, but-

Chandler Arnold: Exactly. Exactly.

Deb Zahn: That sounds overwhelming.

Chandler Arnold: So, we got to be a little more focused.

Deb Zahn: That's right. That's right. So, I do want to get to, this made me so happy when I saw the what we don't do page on your website, and again, your website encapsulates sort of your business, but I know that this is part of how you make choices and it sort of reads like a set of principles or safeguards to make sure that everybody who's involved kind of knows what's going to happen, and I just love it. So, why did you do that? Because that's kind of bold to declare in writing, "Hey, we don't do this stuff."

Chandler Arnold: I think it's the page that I was the most scared to publish.

Deb Zahn: Of course.

Chandler Arnold: And it's the page that I'm the proudest of.

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Chandler Arnold: Deb, the journey there... I think one thing that I realized when I sort of split my mind about the ideal client, one piece of that is what they want to accomplish? Do they want to use a leverage donor advice fund? Are they selling a business and they want to do more with philanthropic giving for the first time? There are questions about what they want to do, but I also realized that there are questions about who they are and who I am and is there a fit there? I haven't heard a lot of people talk about that, and I wasn't quite sure how to address it because I realized one of the really liberating things for me was realizing that I didn't... I ran fundraising and strategy for a large nonprofit for a long time as COO. We all ran strategy together.

I worked with a large nonprofit for a long time as COO. In that world, we kind of needed to appeal to everyone. We needed... to Democrats and Republicans and the left and the right and all kinds of people, and that makes total sense for that organization, but I sort of realized that I don't need to appeal to every philanthropist and in fact, I probably don't want to appeal to every philanthropist because we're doing things differently, we're really embracing representation in a lot of new ways. We're doing innovative things around unrestricted multi-year gifts, things that some philanthropists aren't quite ready for or interested in.

I realized instead of trying to appeal to everyone, I kind of wanted to signal... instead of making it a secret, I wanted to put our values and our philosophies right there in the front window so that people could see that in the first minute and a half that they were on the webpage and either run away screaming, if that's not what they're looking for or say, "Damn, I am really connecting with some of this stuff." So, that was the philosophy behind this page, and it says what we don't do, which does have a negative vibe to it, but what the page really is, is kind of like, this is who we are at core, and if this resonates with you, we are going to get along fabulously.

Deb Zahn: That's right and I would say... and this is a hard sort of mindset to embrace, but if somebody runs away screaming, consider that a time saver. They are basically answering the question, are you qualified to be my client? And instead of you figuring out they figured it out for you. Bless them.

Chandler Arnold: Well, and there are a lot of people approaching this, thinking in very traditional ways, and if that's what a person wants, go for it. There are lots of great people that are doing that, but we got to, with these questions... so it's broken into sort of here are the things that we don't do with our donors. Here are the things that we don't do with the social entrepreneurs that we're working with, and here are the things that we don't do with our own work. We'd love to sort of put our values right out there. With the donors, the first one says, "We don't presume to know you better than you know yourself. So, we're not going to tell you what's right for you. We want to help you discover what your core values are and what you believe in and what makes you excited to get up in the morning." That's really fun to think and talk about.

Deb Zahn: Yeah. Well, and if someone doesn't want that, if someone is like, "Dude, I just did it for tax reasons, just tell me where to throw this money," then they shouldn't be working with you.

Chandler Arnold: Yeah, yeah. I also love... there's one, "We don't put you on a pedestal." So, actually-

Deb Zahn: Yeah, I dug that one.

Chandler Arnold: Maybe we put everyone on a pedestal. We treat everyone with respect, and I'll tell you, when I first started doing this work, I think I thought that these donors wanted to be on a pedestal, and the folks that I've worked with do not. They are humble. They want to learn and sort of putting them on an... because this is a whole other podcast, but there are a lot of things about philanthropy that have not had a level playing field for a very long time and folks read this, and it's like they can let go of that breath that they didn't realize they were holding in.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Chandler Arnold: Because they are excited about having candid and real conversations with me and these social entrepreneurs where we're all sitting around a coffee table together or on a Zoom, and it's not like you're kissing the ring of this Dickensonian benefactor. We're rolling up our sleeves together, figuring this stuff out, and that's quite liberating.

Deb Zahn: I love it. Yeah. Can I tell you my favorite one? That you do not work with people who are unkind. You do not work with people who are unkind. That just made me so happy when I saw that because of a way to embrace kindness.

Chandler Arnold: I will tell you that I had a lovely glass of red wine as I was sitting down to write this and originally I said we don't work with... Then, my husband came by and entrepreneurship is a team sport, and he was looking through things like, "Oh, I love this, I love this, I love this." Maybe you want to change the wording on that last one.

Deb Zahn: Did he take your wine glass away going, "OK, hang on, let's just finish this first."

Chandler Arnold: I think the heart of that is life is short and we're all working really hard. These social entrepreneurs are working incredible hours, often being paid far less than they could in other sectors, and they are providing tremendous value and guidance and insight, and that goes for both sides. We don't work with social entrepreneurs that are unkind. We don't work with donors that are unkind. We don't work with team members that are unkind because life is short and this work-

Deb Zahn: It's way too short.

Chandler Arnold: Yeah, this work is exhilarating, like if you're going to be... and inevitably crunches happen or surprises happen or something will go wrong. If you're wanting to work with a consultant in which none of those things happen-

Deb Zahn: Good luck.

Chandler Arnold: I have found that when you're with the right team and one of those things happen and then, you work together kindly and thoughtfully and intelligently to fix the situation, the relationship is even stronger.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Chandler Arnold: They say that if you break your arm, it's strongest at that broken place. I think that it's not whether or not that stuff is going to come up when it comes up, are you working with smart, thoughtful, kind people who figure it out together? I think that's one of the most important things that we can provide.

Deb Zahn: And there's enough kind people out there, you got plenty of folks to work with. It's not... Yeah, it's not dropping your percentage too much.

Chandler Arnold: No, not at all, and I think that kindness can also be a proxy for sort of emotional security and emotional intelligence. Like the people I'm working with, these subject area experts are so freaking impressive. They know of the value that they're bringing, so they're not insecure. They're not petty. They're big thinkers who are thoughtful and kind because they're comfortable in their own skin, and the donors we work with tend to be the same way. That's where the magic happens.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, totally agree. So, this all makes me so happy. Where can folks find you? So, either they know someone that they want to introduce you to, or they want to dig into more to what you're doing. Where should they go look?

Chandler Arnold: Well, I love that question, is our website and our central hub. We're also on LinkedIn and Facebook as well, as Instagram, but is really the central hub. All of our information is there. Always love to speak to... I'll do a half-hour conversation with anyone, especially if they read the who we work with page. That goes for other consultants too. This work... I really do, as we discussed, considered to be a team sport. There are lots of connections between the work I do and the work that other consultants do and rather than try to expand our purview, we are always keen to collaborate with folks in adjacent spaces to figure out how we can help each other.

Deb Zahn: Love it, love it, love it, and we will have a link to that in our show notes. So, let me ask you the last question. You mentioned two kids, so I'm sure you have this all figured out. How do you find balance in your life? However it is, you think about that?

Chandler Arnold: Well, I think one thing I'll say is I think I used to believe that there was work in one sphere and sort of life in another sphere. I know that many people are wired that way. I am not wired that way. I get tremendous value and meaning from the work that I do. So, for me, it's less separating those two things, and it's more recognizing that for me, those two are sort of inextricably bound. So, for me, I've been thinking a lot this year about time and how I spend my time. I will say I really, really like playing hide and seek with a 19-month-old. It is easy to forget about that midterm deliverable when you were trying to fit a 47-year-old man into a laundry basket. So, last night, my son and I were fighting dragons together in our living room.

So, I think that they keep me grounded a lot, and at the end of the day, I'm doing so much of this work, especially the climate work that we do to make a better world for them and other little folks who are their size. So, meditation and running are also things that I get a lot out of and not just... I will say not just personally, but I'll have a tough work question that's been in the back of my mind for days or weeks. Then, when I finally get out of the house and go on that long run, so many times the answer will come to me. So, that's the way I'm figuring out. I've not solved it all, but working more on that each day as well.

Deb Zahn: I love it, and the dragon slayer, that's what I'm going to call you now, from now on. Well, Chandler, I have to thank you so much for joining me. I'm glad we got introduced to each other, so I got a chance to have you on the show, and I got to thank you so much.

Chandler Arnold: Well, thank you again. I'm a huge fan of the work that you're doing, as you know, in so many categories. So, excited to stay in touch. Thank you for having me, and thanks to everyone for listening.

Deb Zahn: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the Craft of Consulting podcast. I want to ask you to do actually three things. If you enjoyed this episode or you've enjoyed any of my other ones, hit subscribe. I got a lot of other great guests that are coming up in a lot of other great content, and I don't want you to miss anything.

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