Dangerous Conversations for Transformative Results

Rhapsody Strategies, Eric Deschamps, Trefor Munn-Venn, Business Coach, PBCA, Ottawa, Calgary, Social MediaA year ago, Eric Deschamps and I sat down for what we called a “dangerous conversation”. That is literally what we called it when we put it in our schedules.

At that time, Eric and I shared office space. Our companies worked together from time to time, we shared some suppliers, and we knew each other well. We certainly knew each other well enough to know that this would truly be a dangerous conversation. And we weren’t wrong.

How Open Are You Really?

The topic of that conversation was whether or not we should put our two companies together. We both knew how the other operated because we were one another’s clients. And by virtue of sharing office space, we had a window into the day-to-day business activities of the other. But we were about to discuss setting aside our respective companies and visions and goals, and embracing something altogether new. And that’s dangerous.

Heart & Soul

Some people talk about pouring themselves, “heart & soul” into their companies. I’ll tell you, unless you’ve actually done it, you don’t really know what these people are talking about. It’s not just about working long hours or pouring your savings into a business you believe in. It’s not just choosing to be known for a level of service or representing a product. In fact, effort is just about the easiest part of all.

“Heart & soul” only hints at what gets poured into your business. Every waking moment, the business is calling you — sometimes yelling at you — to pay attention, to make changes, to grow, to speed up. It’s testing you and pushing you to do things you’ve never done before. Sure you may be an award-winning business coach, but can you run an entire business while you’re helping others run theirs? You may be a Webby Award winner but do you know every HR rule and provincial compliance requirement that applies to your business? Because you have to.

We poured our lives into our businesses. Those companies were an expression of who we are. What we stood for. And our big idea was to have a dangerous conversation about throwing those away.

Choosing Danger

On June 25th, we’ll be celebrating that decision. But the journey from there to here was complicated.

We moved with lightening speed to create Rhapsody. In fact, it was 28 days from our dangerous conversation to the official launch, complete with everything from outstanding videos, a new website, an integrated team, plans to expand our facilities in the ByWard Market, growth in Western Canada, redefined product offerings and major progress in the integration of our infrastructure.

As much as the creation of Rhapsody wore us out, it charged us up. It was energizing and exciting.

Over-and-over people asked us how on earth we could have thrown our businesses away. These were the people who had a sense of what we had poured into them.

The truth is that there were some twinges of discomfort as we let them go. We HAD worked hard. The companies we built were growing. They were making a meaningful difference in the businesses of others, and that mattered to both of us.

Why Do It?

Dangerous conversations have power — if you have the courage to have them.

We could have kept doing what we were doing. Without a doubt we would both still be successfully growing our businesses. But the dangerous conversation forced us to test everything we were doing — not to see if it was good enough, but to see if we could be dramatically better.

Just putting a couple of companies together wasn’t motivation enough for either of us. We agreed that if we were going to go down this road, it was to build something that was dramatically more meaningful. And we got there.

When we became clear on the mission for Rhapsody, we just stared at each other — we knew that what we were about to do was transformative. Not just for our clients, but for us.

One Year Later

Today, Rhapsody Strategies continues to grow quickly and with strength. More than ever, we are focused on how we help to build the most sophisticated leaders — leaders who will change the face of business. Our team of coaches continues to grow (and there are some exciting announcements just around the corner!) and we are working with clients in Ottawa, across the country, and in the United States.

We have a speaking tour of Australia coming up in September and our coaches are spending more and more time sharing powerful insights with business owners, professionals, executives, and leaders in the not-for-profit community.

The Best Part

The best part has been to see a community form. A group of people who know they’re meant for more and are working with other like-minded leaders to bring that to life. We’re honoured to be sharing their journey as we travel our own.


Trefor Munn-VennBusiness Coach Ottawa President & CEO of Rhapsody Strategies
“I think we all get in to business to make a difference. We want to do something meaningful. We want to support our communities, our families, or help others.” If I could provide one piece of business advice it would be this: Get clear on why you’re in business. We see a common pattern where people enter their career or launch a company to accomplish something fantastic — to make a real impact on others. But then they lose their way. Or maybe it would be better to say that they lose their why. When you’re clear on why you’re doing things, you have clarity about how to act and what to do. And your market knows what you’re trying to say to them and what you want them to do. It’s transformative when this happens.