After more than 25-years as a licensed clinical psychologist and international consultant, Eugene Dilan, Psy.D. founded the DILAN Consulting Group to help channel his passion for people and business.
Dr. Dilan’s experience includes helping to transform a diverse range of organizations, including Fortune 500 firms, non-profits, and start-ups in technology, biotech, energy, defense, aerospace, and more. DILAN Consulting Group is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 consulting firms in the United States for Change Management.
The DILAN team are primarily clinical or organizational psychologists, they are experts at understanding and shaping behavior. They demonstrate a unique ability to connect with demanding personalities, manage the most challenging conflicts, and architect organizational development strategies that create winning cultures that consistently drive optimal performance.
What motivated you to start DILAN Consulting Group? How did the idea come about?
After nearly ten years of working for an international consultancy that was focused primarily on the defense, nuclear and intelligence industries, I decided to take a leap of faith and launched DILAN Consulting Group, intending to help to transform how business is done. I landed on a three-word mantra, 'Business is Human®,' I believe that improving the human condition for all stakeholders is critical to building a thriving equitable and inclusive business, organization, and society. My experience is that when we treat people well and help to care for their whole beings, innovation and industry thrive. “Business is Human®” quickly evolved from my personal mantra to a registered trademark and a guiding light for the company.
What was your mission at the beginning of starting your business?
My mission was to create a business that role modeled 'Business is Human.' I aimed to create an environment and business culture that attracted people with similar aspirations so together we could inspire a new generation of leaders to transform organizations into psychologically safe environments. As a team of psychologists, I wanted to help to bring the tenets of psychology into business so that people could thrive and bring their best selves and full energy to the task of solving complex challenges.
What do you attribute your success to? Is there a trait you have or a person who helped you along the way?
Building relationships and working with our clients using a human-centered design process has been key to delivering excellent outcomes and, as a result, repeat business and generous referrals. Is there a trait or person that has helped along the way? The answer is an unequivocal yes! I grew up in East New York, Brooklyn. I’m a first-generation New York Rican from very humble beginnings, the first in my family to graduate from a university and obtain a doctorate. Growing up I loved school and I was fortunate to have teachers and principals who mentored me and made sure I was prepared mentally and academically for college. Any success I have today comes on the shoulders of those who lifted me up and showed me a world of new possibilities.
That is why, I am committed to paying it forward and am very generous with my time. I often meet with people searching for a new career path or starting a business, or just want advice and support. I believe everyone has a moral duty to help clear the way and support the next generation.
When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going? To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals.
Given where I grew up and the many challenges I have already overcome, there is not much that can shake me. That said, growing up, my mother often encouraged us in Spanish to have faith (Tengan Fe), and so I am a strong optimist. Optimism alone, however, does not fix anything. I believe in asking for help, perseverance, and taking decisive action. Any action, however small, can help to shift energy and build momentum. In business, there will always be ups and downs, so I try to take the long view. Another technique I sometimes use during difficult times is to choose a theme song. The lyrics or emotional valence of the song needs to capture the moment and inspire me. I then play it a lot as required. About two years ago, I chose “Roar” by Katy Perry. It was very motivating.
Employees are one of the most important players to succeed in business. What do you look for in an employee?
I look for many things when choosing people to join our team. People who are committed life learners with a "can-do" attitude, great people skills and an advanced degree, as well as hands-on experience in leadership roles are table-stakes.
Have you ever gotten a disappointed client or customer? If so, how did you handle the situation?
The answer is yes, and I always do my best to listen and learn from the situation. The work that we do is not cosmetic or surface, and so is not everyone's cup of tea. A great consultant needs to tell the emperor if they are not wearing clothes. While we aim always to be respectful and keep people safe, by definition, change and growth are not always comfortable.
What are the three best pieces of advice that you would give to anyone starting a business? What do they need to know from the very beginning?
Mistakes are a part of the process. Ask for help as no one makes it alone and take care of the people around you. It is not uncommon for people to start a company without considering the type of organizational culture they would like to create. If you can set your values early, then it will be easier to make decisions and shape the environment as you go forward. Innovation only thrives in a psychologically safe environment. The way you show up – what you say or do, don't say or don't do will set the culture, so be mindful. The last thing I always say is - don't wait to start your business. I waited until I was in my mid 40's. The earlier you start, the more runway you will have to recover when a mistake does happen because they will.