Why The Next Level Business Coaching?

I have occupied and have been responsible for practically every management position within an organization. I gained my expertise not from reading "how to" books or merely joining "coaching organizations" but from rolling up my sleeves and being accountable for my own performances.

How often have you attended an inspiring speech or participated in a workshop and said to yourself, "I cannot wait to get back to work and implement these new ideas". Have you ever noticed that in the majority of cases within a few weeks these great new ideas somehow became lost in the day to day running of your business?

We partner with you to fold into your business and culture concepts that will maintain the momentum for you to continue your success after we complete our assignment. We follow up to stay in touch, ensuring you and your company are staying on course.

Our success has been to facilitate "The Process", to take YOUR ideas and develop them into the culture of your organization. Who else knows your business better than you? This coaching process allows you to take your goals and turn them into reality — both your personal goals as well as your business goals.

We are not "outsiders" telling you how to run your business. We are partners with you to create your success—you have the ideas we have "The Process"—a winning combination for our clients.

Remember it is your success that allows us to be successful! Read more client testimonials….

Books & Publications

Al has written numerous articles on the basis of business, and completed his business book on this topic, A Journey with Mac. The following is the prologue from A Journey With Mac for your enjoyment.


The alarm shrilled, jolting Gregg from a restless sleep. Groaning, he reached over with a well-trained arm and hit the snooze button while the other arm simultaneously pulled the covers over his head. It was six o'clock on Monday morning-another Monday morning in which he did not want to wake up, get out of bed, or face any part of his day. It was not just that he dreaded Mondays, either. He loathed every working day.

For twenty-three years, Gregg had worked relentlessly to build his business. Now, after pouring his heart and soul into Herbert and Associates, he felt like he didn't have much to show for all of his years of personal investment. Even though the company had grown considerably since its inception, and even though Gregg lived in an exclusive neighborhood, drove a new Jaguar, and belonged to the best local tennis and golf clubs, he still didn't feel very fortunate. As his own boss, with his own company, he truly dreaded going to work each day, and that anxiety affected every other part of his life.

The alarm clock sounded again, interrupting his discouraging thoughts. Clearing the cobwebs from his mind, he wearily slipped out of bed, being careful not to wake Elaine, his childhood sweetheart and loving wife for the past twenty years. He walked into the bathroom to begin his morning ritual. During the last several months, he had noticed that his eyes seemed tired-looking. Wrinkle lines had begun to deepen in his brow, and his face sagged heavily. He had missed the last month of working out with his trainer and canceled recent tennis and golf dates; his energy level was at an all-time low.

He turned on the water to give the shower time to steam up then went to the sink to shave. As he lathered his face, he began sorting through a mental checklist of the day's calendar. The first item on the agenda was a staff meeting at nine o'clock. Although he dutifully held these meetings, they seemed to him like a waste of time. Nothing much was ever accomplished, and Gregg was not looking forward to either the endless, pointless disagreements that frequently took place, or the complete lack of response and participation from his staff as he tried to prompt their input. What baffled Gregg was that he had handpicked his staff knew, they were dedicated and believed that they were more than capable of doing good work. However, there were serious communication problems between the members of his management team. Most of them had been with the company for many years. They all knew each other well by now, and some had become good friends outside of work; yet despite the familiarity, they often seemed to be at each other's throats around the office. They blamed each other for the most trivial infractions.

Next on the calendar was an orientation meeting at ten o'clock being held for seven new employees. Employee turnover had been very high in the past few years, and Gregg knew it was expensive and unproductive. What worried him more was the fact that he knew his turnover rate was a great deal higher than that of other companies in his industry. When he'd asked Kirstin, his human resources director, she had listed numerous possible causes that could account for this personnel problem. It was hard to find good people, and apparently the compensation Herbert and Associates offered was comparatively low to other companies in their industry. But according to exit interviews, there seemed to be no pattern regarding the employees' decisions to leave.

Rinsing his razor, Gregg tried to move past that negative issue and considered the next appointment on the schedule. At noon, he planned to meet Don Paulus, his banker and long-time friend. They were scheduled to have lunch, which should have been something Gregg could look forward to; but he was dreading that meeting, too. He already knew that Don would interrogate him about the company financials, asking him why profits weren't being maximized when sales were currently trending upward. Don would inquire as to why he needed to borrow again for operating capital, grill him about what had happened to the company's cash flow, and ask when he planned to start paying off some of the company's old debt. Gregg also knew the questions wouldn't end with business. Don was a good friend, close enough to make comments about Gregg's obviously unhealthy lifestyle.

Gregg's attention returned back to his morning routine. While he had been lost in his depressing thoughts, the mirror had fogged from the shower's steam. A sarcastic thought crossed his mind-maybe it was better if he couldn't see his reflection anyway. He felt completely drained. He knew he was not managing his business well. In fact, he felt like the business had turned on him. He wasn't controlling it; it was controlling him. He sensed he was not as productive as he had been in the past and that there must be a better way to make use of his time, but all he could muster the energy to do was brood about the fact that nothing in his life seemed like it was much fun anymore.

He reached up to wipe the fog off the mirror, but after a few circular swipes his hand froze in place against the glass. He could not believe what he was seeing in the reflection. Hastily he cupped cold water in his hands and brought it up to splash his face, which had gone white. Blinking the water from his eyes, he looked at the reflection again. It showed an image of another man standing behind Gregg's left shoulder.

Gregg spun around to face the intruder, who was casually leaning against the wall, arms crossed, seemingly relaxed, as if there were nothing strange about his intrusion into Gregg's bathroom. He looked to be in his sixties, with a kind face and gentle eyes-he didn't appear menacing at all-but he was still a stranger, trespassing in Gregg's house.

Gregg was about to order the man from his house when he noticed that the stranger carried a well-worn toolbox slung over his shoulder. He was also dressed in bib overalls neatly worn over a clean, starched, white shirt, and wisps of grey hair escaped from the denim cap on his head. The thing that baffled Gregg the most was the knowing smile that curled slightly under the man's grey mustache.

Totally perplexed, Gregg voiced the only comment he could muster.

“I don't need anything fixed!”

Hearing the sound of his own voice helped clear his head and he addressed the intruder again, more forcefully this time.

“What the hell are you doing here? How did you get into my house? Did my wife hire you? She didn't let me know that you were scheduled to be here today. It's a little early, don't you think?”

“Good morning, Gregg. May I call you Gregg?” The man's voice had a fatherly tone.

Momentarily caught off-guard, Gregg just nodded in agreement.

The man smiled and introduced himself. “My name is Mac, and although I'm dressed like a carpenter, my vocation in life is not to fix objects. My purpose is to fix lives.”

Mac paused as if waiting for Gregg to respond, but Gregg, still mystified by the stranger's calm demeanor, remained silent.

Mac continued with his introduction. “Our meeting is not as mysterious as you may think, Gregg. In reality, you have wished many years for such an encounter, although you were not entirely conscious of it.”

Gregg shook his head in disbelief. He was not amused by the man's intrusion or his presumptuous sounding statements. “I'm damn sure I never wished to meet you in my bathroom at the crack of dawn-with only a towel wrapped around me, no less!”

Mac chuckled softly. “Gregg, haven't you been wishing for ways to improve your business, to become more profitable, ways for your staff to increase productivity and for you to delegate successfully?”

“Well, yes,” Greg answered, agitated and wondering where this was going. “Everyone wants those things to happen for their company. It doesn't take some phony mind reader to determine that. And by the way, if you knew I've been wishing for these things, why didn't you show up before now? No offense, buddy, but what could you possibly know about my business, or my life, for that matter?” He shook his head again. “I can't believe we're even having this conversation. I must still be asleep...or maybe I'm hallucinating...maybe this is the beginning of a nervous breakdown for me....”

Mac held up a hand. “Gregg, slow down. Slow down and calm down. Relax and take a deep breath. First, although this may not seem real to you at this moment, you are not hallucinating. Second, the reason I didn't appear sooner is that you were not ready for me and this visit.”

Gregg felt irrational anger rising up inside of him at this unbelievable situation. It seemed all the frustrations of the past weeks, months, and years, were coming to a head. “Oh, really? Then what makes me ready now?” he demanded. “I have been working my butt off all along to make this business grow. If you know so much about me, you should know that this company is extremely important to me. It is my entire livelihood!”

His voice continued to rise defensively. “I'm in the office first thing in the morning and I am always the last to leave. I often work on the weekends-which my family complains about-but without all my efforts, there wouldn't be a business. Which means there wouldn't be any way to support my family. It seems I can either provide for them or spend time with them; I can't do both!”

Suddenly realizing he might wake Elaine, Gregg stopped his tirade and took a deep breath. Mac had patiently listened until Gregg had finished venting. Now he said,

“Gregg, you are working tirelessly, and by all means, you are ambitious. You're a good provider for your family. Laziness is not the issue. However, you do need to think about three questions. Are all your efforts effective? How productive have you been with the time spent at your office? And why isn't your business as enjoyable as it once was?”

Each question hit home as Gregg's anger faded away. In his heart, Gregg knew Mac was on target. Why had he lost control in front of this total stranger? Why did he feel an instant connection, as if he could talk to Mac about his problems after they'd only shared a few minutes of conversation?

“So, what now, Mac?” he asked wearily. “What do you want with me?”

Mac smiled again. “I told you. My purpose is to fix lives. I want to show you how you can start to do the same, beginning with fixing your own life. What I want right now is for you to take a trip with me.”

Gregg started to protest, but Mac held up his hand.

“It won't take long, I promise. You'll be back in no time at all. And when we return, you will know how you can better influence the lives and well-being of all those folks that work in your company. Think about it,” Mac urged. “As president of Herbert and Associates, you design the culture of your business and set the tone and example for all of those who enter your doors. Wouldn't it be great if you could redirect your efforts, spend less time at work and still have a positive influence in the lives of your employees and their families? How about all your vendors and suppliers, and most of all, think of how your team could positively impact your customers. Now, wouldn't that made some positive changes for you and those involved with your business?”

Gregg certainly was intrigued by what Mac was saying; in fact, he felt that this intruder might have him under some spell. He almost started to believe the man might be real and that he should listen to his advice. After all, his only alternative was dismal: to ignore this Mac person and just head on to another draining day at the office where nothing changed and what he was doing certainly wasn't working. Gregg had no idea what he'd be getting into if he agreed to go on a “trip” with this man who had appeared out of nowhere, but if he missed work maybe his absence would at least cause so much chaos among his employees and they would understand how desperately they needed him.

He experienced a moment torn between the real and unreal. I need to get dressed and get to my office...I don't have time for this fantasy, he thought. Yet somewhere inside of him he sensed an opportunity presenting itself. Finally, still in disbelief, and feeling unsure about what was real and what wasn't, he made his decision or maybe it was somehow made for him.

“Okay, Mac. Let me throw on some clothes and leave a note for Elaine.”

Mac gave another of his slight smiles and waited patiently for Gregg to dress. When Gregg was ready, they quietly walked downstairs and out the front door. Gregg paused for a moment as he saw Mac's vehicle in the driveway: a bright red 1946 Ford pickup that gleamed in the early morning sun. Gregg took a moment to admire the vintage truck before climbing into the passenger's side. He had no way of knowing it, but he was in for the adventure of a lifetime.


"Time is the most important investment I can make. The time my team spent with The Next Level has been our singular best investment. Al Katz and "THE PROCESS" have provided invaluable training and leadership which has already shown benefit to our bottom line."

– Michael P. Murphy, CEO, Global Building Solutions, Charleston, SC

«Read Excerpt of Al's Book

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