Jeffrey Rovell & Associates, Inc.
Jeff's Business Cards

Jeff says: Over the years I have collected over 50 business cards from the companies for whom I have worked. To me, a business card is not just a piece of paper — it's a symbol of belonging, to a team, a company, or an idea. My goal is to integrate myself right into your company, providing an outside perspective, but with the know-how and enthusiasm of someone on the inside.

"An Outside Man on the Inside."

In some ways, getting an outside perspective is the main point of bringing in a consultant. But anyone who's worked with a traditional consultant knows how frustrating it can be. Outside consultants often apply the same formula to every company. They can be more enthusiastic about their own methods than they are about your team and your goals. And none of their efforts are infectious — they don't make things happen or get people excited because all they can do is issue recommendations. Issuing a recommendation isn't the same thing as inspiring action.

When I started consulting I wanted to be an outside man who was also on the inside. I look at the business card as an emblem of that commitment. It goes without saying that there are practical advantages to having a business card which represents me as part of my client's team. But I believe having a card means more than that — it represents a whole mindset of active involvement with the company team.

A True Team Player

When I started working for BD Ophthalmic Systems, having a card meant a lot to the people we met at trade shows or on trips. Even more, however, it meant a lot between me and BD, because thinking of ourselves as members of the same team in fact made us into a team. In order to be effective, I had to work closely with a whole team of engineers I'd never met before. One of the main challenges of such a situation is developing a relationship based on trust, rather than one dictated from above. Because I had my card and was truly a part of the team, we developed that trust and were able to move forward together on their microkeratome product.

At companies like RefacDesign and Howmedica, having a card was a recognition of how long I had worked with those companies. It cemented a relationship, and strengthened our commitment to work together on the same side. When I begin an association with a new client, I'm hoping for an outcome like that — in which ten, fifteen, or even twenty years down the line, our relationship is deep enough to warrant me joining the team with a card of my own.

My favorite business card story is about Japan. A few years ago I was working for Terumo, a major Japanese company. I was preparing for a trip to visit Terumo headquarters in Tokyo; I already had a Terumo card — but it was in English! If a business card could send such a positive message, I thought, then it would also be saying something if my Japanese colleagues couldn't read my business card.

I went to a friend in the U.S. division of Terumo, and ehlped me create a grammatically correct Japanese card. I was the one of the few Americans there who had taken the time to translate his business cards into Japanese. My Japanese card sent the message that I wasn't only working for Terumo in America — I was working for them in Japan as well.

Everyone knows that business cards are very important in Japan. I believe they're important everywhere else too. In all of my work, I try to spread enthusiasm, a spirit of teamwork, and a willingness to go outside of one's immediate circle for solutions. There is no better symbol of that idea for me than the business card.