Michael Heaney

Michael Heaney

Director, Benchwhistler Associates Ltd


What I have learned LIfe is exciting. I came from war torn Ireland to Scotland in 1972 as an undergraduate at Aberdeen University and have lived here ever since. I returned to Aberdeen University in 1998 and completed an MSc in Technology and Management for the Oil and Gas Industry. My dissertation was in Knowledge Management

What exactly is Knowledge Management? Well I can provide you with a simple series of interventions designed to harvesting the wealth of expertise locked in the heads of employees before it disappears as they exit the project, transfer to another branch, get promoted, quit, move to the competition, get posted overseas, or retire. Its all about stemming the progress of Corporate Amnesia - where the individuals still know - but the business has forgotten key elements of what it has to do to stay successful.

What I have done Residing in Aberdeen, naturally I was lured into the Oil industry and my career has been forged in the turmoil and growth, the exploration highs and the economic troughs of this sector. Within the broad reaches of that industry I have worked across all sizes of organisation for thirty years. First as a small cog within a US multinational, then a key employee in a home grown mid size organisation, later as a manager in a small 7 man start up struggling to grow and now as a one man consultant - delivering the concentrated learning and the benefits of paying attention to what it was all about through a whirlwind career over the last thirty years

For example I have been party to the seat of the pants existence of the start up, with the speed and the need to react immediately to survive. I have relished the strength in depth and financial stability of a giant organisation, whilst being aware of the lumbering slowness and the short-sightedness of such independence from your clients I watched the juggernaut momentum go so disasterously wrong that the corporation lost its shareholders BILLIONS of dollars. Have I got some stories I could tell you (if it wasn't for client and company confidential)

What I have successfully forgotten I have been caught in the wheels when the aspirations of a mid size company caused it to overreach, add too much overhead cost and suddenly had to retrench. I had a long six months unemployed, keeping the wolf from the door by taking on scraps of consultancy work here and there. I have been successful in playing the subsidy junkie game - applying for government grants, working with government paid consultants and documenting sufficient progress on projects to qualify for hand out funding.

What I have remembered I was appointed as a Service Quality Coach focusing on managing entire employee engagement and developing a competency program, through development, implementation to Qualifying Authority approval. I have been involved in a small research and development team developing giant killer products to compete with multinationals. I blazed a trail as a sole marketing and Sales representative breaking into overseas Export markets. I have been called in, in extremis to try to save a compay drowning in debt and unable to function because suddenly too many key staff had left -half way through a project - and with half a years revenue in the balance. Talk about a roller coaster. What else Outside this headlong career path I have also made time for my local community, serving first as a member and chairman of a School Board and latterly as chairman of the local Community Council, and a member of the Civic Forum. Just as in the past Scotland has proved itself as significant on a world stage, we each forge our own future. We need to be engaged to be a part of this progress. Rather than comment and criticise from the sidelines I offer what I can to this team effort.

What Do I know - but IT companies have jumped on this as the next big thing to sell more elaborate systems and software. Me - I just talk to people and harvest what they know, and present it back to their organisation because they don't communicate effectively with their work force - they are often too busy being in command and controllng their little empires just to listen and to ask.

What do I say If you are not part of the problem - how do you possibly expect to be part of the solution Lighten up - you'll be a long time dead.. and something my dad told me many times You can't believe half the lies you hear. Michael Benchwhistler Associates Ltd



Email: michael@benchwhistler.com
Twitter: @Benchwhistler
Skype: michael_heaney
Website URL: http://www.benchwhistler.com

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LaRae Wilkins

"I sleep better at night just knowing that someone like Mr. Heaney exists. He is humble, kind, perceptive, humorous and generous with his time, attention and expertise. If you are ever fortunate enough to have the opportunity to share a pint with this man do so. Your life will be richer for it. "

Victor Marques

"Thank you dear Michael for being one of my contacts: When things go wrong and you can't pay the bill,, Lost everything even your true will, Just look at the sky… blue sky. Make your last try… Life is a secret in every sense, The moon and the sun are intense. We plant seeds to grow.. Please make another blow. Life is a constant fight, You will see the light sometimes you feel not so good, down, Next day you have a golden Crown... Life with clouds of doubt, and you never know what comes about. It may be near when you think that everything goes away, You just discover peace and God in a true way. Warmest regards. Victor Marques "

Ian Hornblow

"Michael is a very knowledgable chap and an expert in his field, a highly valued contact and someone that I am priveleged to have in my network. Should I ever be fortunate enough to find myself in Aberdeen Michael is someone I will look forward to sharing a jug of ale with, highly recommended. "

Alfredo Martini Junior

"Extremely pleased to connect with you. Look forward to collaborations. Best wishes. Martini."

Barrie Cripps

"Great source of information. Well thought out and clearly explained observations and opinions. I value Michael's contribution to Ecademy. We all could learn a lot from Michael"

Cian Barrett - Limerick

"Thanks Michael for your time and advice! You're a must have contact..."

Roy Hinds

"Michael made an astute observation which saved me from potential embarrassment, and financial penlty He was kind enough to point this out without animosity and in a constructive manner because my mistake was foolish to say the least Thank you "

Andy Ferguson

"Michael gave me some of his time and wisdom with good grace and much attention to detail. I was hugely impressed by his rigour, candour and humour, a rare combination. Many thanks for the education .. priceless. Best Wishes andy"

*Jean*Skill 2 Heal, Spirit 2 Care*Smith*

"What a fun & intuitive Scottish gentleman!! Truly a genuine Salt of the Earth!! Michael welcomes you to Scotland clinking a pint of good cheer in a Toast to Life! Let's Road Trip over!! "

Joseph Ratliff

"Michael is true professional and gentleman. Outstanding experience in business, a valued resource to the Ecademy community. Joseph Ratliff"

Sally Church

"Michael is one of my favourite bloggers on Ecademy; perspicacious, tongue in cheek humour, dry wit and incredible perception. If there was a golden pen award, he would get my vote! There is something down to earth and humble about Michael that inspires. I hope to meet him one day, he's a true gem. "

Kevin Woodward

"A big thank you to Michael for keeping me company one evening whilst visiting Aberdeen, a true gentleman, and he has a wealth of stories that keep you mesmerised, and he is also very helpful in giving advice about work. Thanks"

RealSteveHolmes Fading away soon

"An extremely perceptive man, in fact exceptionally so. The intuition Michael shows can only come from a fundamental modesty and decency which frees him up to see the good in others. I'm not talking about being generous or nice; I mean that he truly has the ability to see things as they are and appreciate qualities in others. This is so rare at the depth he has it that I have met it only a handful of times in my entire life. "

Leon Warner

"I am very grateful to Michael for his comments regarding our business - I look forward to building a good working and personal relationship over the coming weeks and months. Many thanks. Leon."

Chris Plume

"I placed a request for help on marketplace and Michael responded within minutes pointing me in the right direction. Many thanks. Chris Plume easy employment law"

David Guzmán

"Michael is a true Scottish gentleman with a big heart and a generous spirit. I look forward to sharing other kinds of spirits with him, of the single malt variety."

Robert Greig

"Michael puts to rest any stories about mean Aberdonians - he is very generous in his praise and assistance to others. Robert Greig"

Serafin Talisayon

"Michael, Many thanks for taking the time to make detailed and very useful comments on my KM article. I will revise it and acknowledge your comments. And thanks for the pdf file of your thesis. You are most generous. All the best!"


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