The last time we interviewed Tom Wurtz, in early 2006, he was president and chief operating officer of The Sheakley Group, and author of a book called The Eagle Within.

Since then he has surmounted a personal crisis, resigned from Sheakley after 30 years, and formed his own business, Tom Wurtz Consulting.
Q. When we published a story about you in 2006, you shared your near-death experience with a heart attack at age 37. What has happened since?

A. Well, five months after that article, I suffered a second massive heart attack at age 51. I was in the hospital for two weeks. Two days after my heart attack, my mom passed away, and I was not aware of her passing until I left the hospital, 12 days later. It was a tough time for my family, but everything is back on track. I’m exercising every day now, and I’m eating bacon only at every other meal.

Q. Many people in your situation would want full retirement. Why start a new business on your own? What was your wife’s reaction?

A.
I love the challenge of building a business and the gift of accomplishment that comes from even the smallest business success. I’m still passionate about learning, as I still read two to three books per month. The great feeling of starting your own business is that you can call any play any time you want. The freedom to succeed or fail is why I love being an American.

Barb is very supportive. My family calls her “Saint Barbara.” As the story goes, Barb and I have been running together since the third grade and have been married for 31 years. We both just hold on tight to each other and try and enjoy the ride.

Q. Refresh our memories of The Eagle Within. What’s the difference between an eagle and a duck?

A. Every company has only three types of employees: Eagles (can-do achievers), Ducks (can’t-do underachievers) and the Undecided (not sure which team to join). There is a daily battle between the Eagles and the Ducks for the undecided votes. The winner determines the success of any company. At Sheakley, the Eagles won. My Eagle Leadership Academy teaches my clients how to achieve a 50 percent Eagle population.


Q. Which kinds of businesses, or business people, most need your brand of consulting?

A. I can really help those executives who don’t have the time or money to waste participating in superficial leadership training, such as mission statements, personality assessments, employee surveys, casual days, flex-time, boot camps, new slogans, tearing down office walls, jeans day (which is almost a religious experience now days), consensus building and personal vision statements. Once an executive realizes that those gimmicks will fail, I encourage them to attend one of my no-fluff, no-nonsense workshops. I teach the importance of strong leadership. If you don’t have strong leadership, everything else is just a waste of profits.
Q. You told us how you realized that you can not motivate anyone. “I can only help people who want to change.” Does that still hold true?

A. Yes. If a person does not want to change, there are no magic words or business manipulation gimmicks that will motivate someone without his or her permission. I just accept Ducks as Ducks and hope that Dr. Phil or someone smarter than I can help them. I encourage my clients to feed their Eagles and inspire the Undecided who want to change, to join the Eagle Nation.

Tom Wurtz Consulting and his free weekly “Eagle e-Lesson” are accessible at www.TomWurtz.com.