"Drive Fast. Take Risks."
Richard Eaton CD, BA (Hist), MA (Leadership), Lean Certified, FCMC, ACC
Adventurer. Process whisperer. Force of nature.
Profile Interview Video Blog
Richard Eaton is a co-founding partner of Berlineaton, and a senior management consultant with over 20 years’ experience facilitating significant and positive culture shifts within large organizations and complex human systems. He specializes in delivering a team based approach to process improvement while leading the implementation of changes associated with those improvements in alignment with higher level strategic objectives.

Partnering with visionary senior leaders, Richard’s approach results in the realization of visionary, long-term strategies and transformational improvements resulting from deep engagement with a wide cross-section of staff, clients and stakeholders. He has delivered over 2,000 engagements, and involved thousands of people in making their organizations more effective. 

Richard’s strategic, yet practical and hands-on, style has been shaped by his previous experience in industry and the military, as well as his many years of delivering consulting services to clients, from the C-Suite to the shop floor, in a variety of sectors. Richard embraces a Servant Leader approach, and is adept at translating his extensive experience into improved organizational effectiveness outcomes for his clients; some of whom have been recognized nationally and provincially with prestigious awards for innovation. 

Richard earned a Master of Arts in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University, is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (the British Army’s Officer training academy), is Lean certified, and is an ICF certified Executive Coach. Richard has also been honoured with a Fellowship by the Canadian Association of Management Consultants for his many years of outstanding service to the profession.

Richard is an active self-propelled outdoorsman and, amongst other activities, enjoys mountaineering, kayaking, and scuba diving. He recently reached a personal terrestrial high mark when he summited Pico de Orizaba which, at 18,491 ft, is the third highest mountain in North America. He has over 200 military parachute jumps to his credit and continues his military service with the rank of Major in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves, where he has been recognized with the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) for long service and good conduct.  


Q and A with Richard Eaton

Q. What does Berlineaton’s vision of “a world of courageous endeavours” mean to you?”

A world of courageous endeavours: this is more than a vision, it is a battle cry.

It is a call to action to dig deep and go beyond what you think is possible in order to successfully lead organizations in today’s tough business climate. Without having the courage to pull out all the steps and go for it we believe that you will fail.

Q.  Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Vancouver, and spent most of my time exploring the wilds of the North Vancouver wilderness way back when Bryan Adams was the lead singer for Sweeney Todd and parents said things like ‘come home when the street lights go on.'

I remember it as a kind of Huckleberry Finn like existence. We went hand lining in the local rivers and streams as well as (slightly illegally) from the barges and log booms in Deep Cove and Dollarton. We went cliff diving in the Seymour and Capilano Rivers. We traversed much of the north shore watersheds on foot and built massive, secret, tree forts deep in the bush. We rode our clunky, one gear bikes everywhere and covered unimaginable distances without giving it a second thought.

Oh, I went to school and did some other stuff too but, as you can probably tell, that wasn't my highest priority.

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Q and A with Richard Eaton

Q. What does Berlineaton’s vision of “a world of courageous endeavours” mean to you?”

A world of courageous endeavours: this is more than a vision, it is a battle cry.

It is a call to action to dig deep and go beyond what you think is possible in order to successfully lead organizations in today’s tough business climate. Without having the courage to pull out all the steps and go for it we believe that you will fail.

Q.  Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Vancouver, and spent most of my time exploring the wilds of the North Vancouver wilderness way back when Bryan Adams was the lead singer for Sweeney Todd and parents said things like ‘come home when the street lights go on.'

I remember it as a kind of Huckleberry Finn like existence. We went hand lining in the local rivers and streams as well as (slightly illegally) from the barges and log booms in Deep Cove and Dollarton. We went cliff diving in the Seymour and Capilano Rivers. We traversed much of the north shore watersheds on foot and built massive, secret, tree forts deep in the bush. We rode our clunky, one gear bikes everywhere and covered unimaginable distances without giving it a second thought.

Oh, I went to school and did some other stuff too but, as you can probably tell, that wasn’t my highest priority.

Q.  What is your favourite client success story?

I really enjoy the experience of seeing people ‘blossom’ as leaders during our projects.

This one time I was leading a design team through the redesign of a very politically sensitive, administratively complicated and expensive provincial program. Tens of thousands of clients and tens of millions of dollars were managed by the people I was working with on the design team. They worked hard over the course of several workshops figuring out how to streamline and rationalize their processes to better meet the needs of their clients, and themselves.

During one of these sessions everyone was digging into the details of the processes they were working to improve and, off in one corner of the room a member of the design team – a woman I’ll call Julie – was working away on her own drawing something on a wall chart she had set up using flip chart paper.

Julie was a long service employee who had delivered all the mail in the office for many years. She was usually very quiet and didn’t actively contribute much to the sessions up to this point but there she was, beavering away on a diagram of some kind.

People stated to gather around her and one person asked, "Julie, what are you drawing?" She replied, “I’m redesigning the office.” She explained that the office layout was so bad, it didn’t allow people or things to perform at their best, and she wanted to fix that. Soon, everyone was in on the redesign and within a month the office had been fully reconfigured, all led by Julie.

At the project roll out presentation, made to all the staff in the office, she commented that "before this project, nobody paid attention to anything I had to say and I was thinking of retiring early. But because of this project I feel like I can finally make a difference, so I’ll be sticking around for a while longer." Needless to say, that made my day/week/month/year.

Q.  Who do you admire as someone who contributes actively towards creating “a world of courageous endeavours?”

I know this is where I’m supposed to insert a quote from Ghandi or Mother Theresa, but I won’t.

The people who inspire me most are the ones immersed in the everyday struggles of their tough business realities, yet have the vision, and guts, to stand up and do something productive about it. I am motivated by people like:

  • the long-service social worker on one of our projects who gave her personal vision of the future as “I want my ministry to be recognized for being the best parent in the world”; 
  • the regional manager in Southern Alberta who, when confronted with handling the most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history (the 2013 floods) said the reason for their success was getting the right people together and giving them the "empowerment with top cover" required to be successful;
  • the ‘new guy’ saw filer who implemented the plan to increase utilization of the expensive fiber in the sawmill through a new approach to setting up the saws that resulted in adding at least $6 million to the bottom line every year.

Q.  What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Fighting in a protracted war against the most professional terrorists in the world in Northern Ireland comes to mind as one of the scariest things I’ve done. The fear didn’t really apply to me personally: I always figured that if I was going to get hit there wasn’t too much I could do about it.

As an Officer in charge of hundreds of soldiers, however, my greatest fears were always related to whether or not it was a decision I made that resulted in one of my own being killed or wounded. Thankfully, my guys always came away unscathed, but it’s things like that can give you nightmares for years, if you live.   

Oh, and huge crowds at Disneyworld and places like that… that stuff really scares me!

Q. Milkshake, protein shake, Red Bull or something entirely different?

Single malt whisky (old enough to drink itself)

Q.  What’s your favourite quote?

"It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe." Robert W. Service
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