About Chris Wilsey
- How did you arrive at running this business? What path brought you here?
I began my career in 1984 as a business research analyst, conducting customized market studies used in acquisition and competitive analysis. After earning my MBA, I moved into corporate finance for a Fortune 500 company in its early stages of globalization. There I enjoyed several cross-functional assignments that fueled my passion for business strategy. That led me to pursue a position with a mid-sized consulting firm, where I helped clients in market assessment and strategy development. In 2000, I became Managing Partner of RSR Marketing Solutions.
- What are you known for professionally? What do you have a knack for?
I have a knack for simplifying complex ideas and concepts. An ability to distill a message down to a few bullet points or a page that allows a reader to capture the essence of a market or company. I know how to dissect and understand business dynamics. In particular I can assess the strategy and market position of a business very clearly and specifically, down to specific sources of competitive advantage. I can explain why some companies in a specific market are more successful than others.
- What’s the one problem you are best at solving for your clients? What do your ideal clients say about you?
Figuring out what the most important questions are to address a particular business need or strategic decision, and getting the best answers available to those questions, then distilling complex, sometimes conflicting or contradictory inputs into a concise actionable message.
- Who have you worked with in the past? And what have you done for them?
Mostly directors or vice presidents of marketing or strategic planning in global, Fortune 1000 companies. I work for people, not companies though. I help fill gaps in knowledge or perspective, enabling my clients to make strategic decisions with confidence.
- What are you most passionate about professionally? What most excites you about your work & the contribution you can make?
Throughout my career, I have enjoyed the role of right-hand man or chief of staff. I like covering the back of a high-level leader, alerting him/her to opportunities and threats, anticipating and preventing problems or obstacles.
I assimilate disparate, sometimes contradictory inputs into a clear and useful picture of a business or market. The process relies heavily on executive interviews, gathering and validating facts and opinions from all levels of the supply chain. Pulling all this together into a coherent package is a whole-brain challenge that I truly enjoy.
- What are you passionate about personally? What do you really enjoy? What can’t you stop talking about?
When I can help a child figure out how to hit a baseball, or show a nonprofit director how to write a strategic plan, or offer useful advice to a friend, these things make me feel good. I don’t need to be the guy with all the answers. I like being the guy who asks the right questions and helps enable people to map out and achieve their own success.
- Where can we find you when you’re not working? What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon?
I enjoy golf, physical exercise, competitive sports, pool (billiards), playing just about any game with my sons, being a mentor to family and friends, building trails in the woods behind my house, or doing anything outside.
- How long have you been doing what you do?
I have been helping business leaders for over 30 years.
- Where did you grow up and why aren’t you there now?
Gloversville NY, a small town in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains that could not offer the economic opportunities or quality of life that I have found in North Carolina.
- Any volunteer activities you’re crazy about?
My favorite memories are of the Raleigh Jaycees, a social group with a community service problem that in the process developed leadership skills for young adults up to age 40. I have never truly replaced the feeling of accomplishing difficult and meaningful things that I got from the Jaycees, whether it was raising money for cancer research or putting on a steeplechase horserace for 10,000+ people, a haunted house that we built from scratch in an empty retail space every year, being a carnival barker at the NC State Fair, delivering a motivational message after each meeting, or any of dozens of other special memories. I have also enjoyed Junior Achievement, coaching baseball, and working as a mentor for small businesses.
- Any nonprofits you love, & why?
Note in the Pocket, which delivers clothing with dignity to Wake County (NC) school children in need. I volunteered to help them in a strategic planning exercise and still try to provide ad hoc support. I have the utmost admiration for the talent and dedication of the people who support this important cause. I am also a huge fan of our local YMCA, which provides so many outstanding programs.
- Any awards or medals, or even medallions? Personal okay, too.
Many from the Jaycees, recognizing leadership accomplishments, fundraising, personal development, more. Trophies from baseball, softball, track (sprinting), football, bowling, pool, volleyball.
- What would be impossible for you to give up?
- Why would someone not want to work with you?
I can be overly methodical, even meticulous at times, and some people just don’t care for that. Sometimes I tell my clients things they don’t want to hear. For example, many times our studies result in a recommendation not to pursue an acquisition or business opportunity. Our studies sometimes contradict the views and/or intuition of our clients, which makes some people uncomfortable.
- How do you want to be remembered?
As a bright, generous, caring, and kind person. Someone who always tried to help improve himself and those around him. Someone with a dry sense of humor that eluded all but the most discerning listeners. Trustworthy, humble, highly principled. An insightful advisor, mentor, coach.
- Anything else you’d like to tell people about yourself?
I believe we can learn something from everyone, and I enjoy both ends of that deal.