Skip to content

The Who Behind Situational Communication®

July 30, 2014 » About The Author

Maybe you’re interested in our product, or maybe you’re just curious about the company. But before we dive right in and start providing you with all kinds of invaluable information about successful/effective leadership on this blog, I thought I’d tell you a little about myself so you can put a name (and a personality) to what you read in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

I’m Don MacRae, founder, President and CEO (when you own the company you get the titles) of Lachlan Enterprises Incorporated (The Lachlan Group). But these aren’t my only titles…I’m also pleased to say that I’m the author and passionate leader of Situational Communication® (that includes all books, seminars, materials, website, webinar and blog).

Formerly, I was a radio and television personality, college professor, textbook co-author, series host for an educational television program, management consultant, motivational speaker, BusinessWeek Online columnist, and an amateur folk guitar and bluegrass banjo player (although this last “title” is still in effect today).

Currently, I’m a high handicap golfer, low handicap single malt Scotch drinker, father, grandfather and fortunate husband of Judy, my best friend and partner in business and in life, seminar/webinar leader, conference speaker and blogger.

The journey continues…

How Situational Communication® Began

Situational Communication® really started to take shape when my doctoral dissertation, MacRae, D L. (1979) The Development and Field-Testing of The Effective Communicator Model (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) was published. My goal was to provide a model for successful/effective leadership interactions in business and professional services – a model that outlined a clear, concise and focused communication, negotiation and relating process that would give leaders the best chance to achieve their results with, not at the expense of, their relationships.

The Effective Communicator Model represented a systematic, developmental, situational process. It provided leaders with the best possible opportunity to be both successful and effective, particularly in challenging situations that can make or break a career.

The theory, concepts and skills of the Effective Communicator Model were first published internationally in 1980 as a leadership and management development program called The Relating Styles Program. The program and Model evolved over 5 years and after receiving years of invaluable feedback from the seminars, in 1986, I changed the name to Situational Communication (subtitled Relating Styles) and wrote the first English edition of the book, Situational Communication: Relating Styles®, which was published by Trillium Woods Publishing Limited. Last but not least, in 2012 came the digital version, which keeps me on my toes as I work to navigate and master the online marketplace.

In other words, Situational Communication® has been my passion for the last 35 years!


  • Because it works
  • Because I enjoy the journey of continuous learning and feedback from business and professional leaders to make it better, and
  • Because it’s helped tens of thousands of leaders achieve Results with Relationship

Developing an Interest in Communication

For some reason, I have always been drawn to the process of communication. One to one, public speaking situations, or standing behind a microphone or in front of a camera in a mass media situation – it doesn’t matter. And it was this strong interest that greatly impacted my educational choices and career path.

Here’s a little timeline…

1964: Graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan
– Bachelor’s Degree in Speech-Communication

1964 – 1965: Radio announcer and newscaster

1965 – 1967: Television announcer, newscaster, interviewer, children’s program host and producer

Working in radio and television was beyond fun and I was young enough to capitalize on the celebrity status, however low-paying it was. But I soon realized it just wasn’t personally (or financially) fulfilling enough.

Then came my 12-year career as a college professor teaching Speech, Television, Interpersonal Communication and English. It was here where I managed to develop my writing chops by co-authoring two college texts: You and Others: An introduction To Interpersonal Communication (McGraw-Hill Ryerson) and Television Production: An Introduction (Methuen Publishing). I simultaneously completed my Master’s Degree (1971) in Speech-Communication and hosted two educational television series on communication psychology and organizational behavior.

Looking back, I have no idea how, but I also found the time to develop a very successful part time career as a motivational speaker. My speech, “Success Is Only An Elephant Way!” was part humor, part motivation and a lot of travel: from Toronto to Montreal to Vancouver, from New York City to Tampa to San Diego, and many places in between.

“Success Is Only An Elephant Way!”

The basic message of my speech was that we are frequently conditioned by failure and criticism to develop a negative program – one that makes us believe we can’t use our strength to move forward successfully.

In much the same way, in the old days, an elephant was conditioned to believe that when it had a chain around its leg tied to a stake in the ground, it couldn’t use its strength to move.

I defined success as a journey that bridged the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Every time you take a risk, read a book, develop a relationship or achieve a result that bridges this gap, you’re successful.

Together with the audience we explored how to develop a positive program that included: 1) a personal vision of success, 2) a mental image to rehearse the desired change, and 3) self-talk to strengthen and reinforce the program. (Stay tuned for a blog on positive programming in the future.) In my speech I quoted William James, the father of modern day psychology, who said, “The greatest discovery in our generation is that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives”.

Motivational speaking gave me my first real insight into what it felt like to have a career that was fun, fulfilling and financially rewarding.

What Led to Lachlan Enterprises Incorporated

After spending 5 years as a college behavioral management consultant teaching leadership and executive management development seminars to corporate leaders, and after completing a Doctorate in the Department of Educational Theory at the University of Toronto, I realized my true passion: teaching leaders how to achieve Results with Relationship.

And so, in 1984, with a commitment to make my personal passion my life’s work, I founded Lachlan Enterprises Incorporated and began writing the first Situational Communication® book. Since the first publication of the English version in 1986 (French version in 1991) I have travelled the world, visiting countless places in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Australia, where I’ve taught the concepts and skills of Situational Communication®.

I’ve presented seminars to tens of thousands of leaders in every conceivable business and profession, written a column for BusinessWeek Online called “Leaders Edge”, had two international banks and a leading international financial services company adopt Situational Communication® corporate-wide for their present and future leaders, and have taught Situational Communication® to corporate leaders, managers and professionals of an international publishing and financial services company for 33 consecutive years.

Situational Communication® concepts and skills are successful because they achieve results. They work. They stay relevant because they reach desired outcomes with, not at the expense of, relationships.

The Digital Move

Dr. Ken Blanchard, one of the world’s leading and best selling business authors and much admired developer of leaders through his Situational Leadership II® Model, said this in his blog:  “The new generation of workers demands a partnership model where leadership is more about influence, dialogue and collaboration.”

And I couldn’t agree more.

Situational Communication®  is not about what leaders do to provide direction and support. It’s about how they do it, through dialogue, to develop partnerships with the key people in their business and professional lives. It’s about mutual trust and respect, collaboration and collegiality. Unfortunately, for many managers and corporate leaders, this is a fundamentally different set of capabilities than their current skill set.

Situational Communication®  is today’s leader’s advantage – a clear, concise and focused communication, negotiation and relating strategy that maximizes a minimum amount of time to achieve successful results and effective relationships. It’s about leaders in business and professional services who are, or who want to be, successful and effective in their roles. To be relevant today as a leader or manager, you must be successful. To last, you must be effective. You must be able to achieve your results with the people you lead or manage and with those who lead and manage you.

Old definitions that separate the functions of leadership and management don’t work. Today, managers must lead and leaders must manage. Click To Tweet Both must develop a partnership with the people they lead and manage through influence, dialogue, collaboration and a reciprocal relationship. The knowledge and skills presented in Situational Communication® are more important today than ever before and they are available to everyone online, 24/7. That’s what people demand these days – instant access to what they need, when they need it and the ability to work through information at their own pace.

Knowledge is power and the knowledge, concepts and skills of Situational Communication® provide present and future leaders with the personal power to achieve Results with Relationship.

Now Let’s Get a Little Personal

I’m a happy, hard-working, vibrant guy who gets to wake up every day and do what he loves. Plus I’ve got my best friend, business partner and life partner by my side to do it with.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

With two grown children and three beautiful grandchildren, plus continuing and growing business commitments, our lives are full, engaging and keeping us young! We live most of the year in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and have another home in Venice, Florida, that allows us a wintertime escape. We both enjoy golf although, more often than not, it doesn’t return the compliment.

To relax, I play a Taylor acoustic guitar and a Gibson 5-string banjo. There was a time (when I was a lot younger) that I enjoyed playing folk and bluegrass music with some “real musicians”. But, those times are long gone and now they’re usually replaced by a glass of single malt scotch or a vintage wine as I sit on the front porch reminiscing about “the good old days”.

Personally and professionally I’m a lucky man who gets to say that I’m both rewarded and fulfilled on a daily (yes, daily) basis. I count my blessings every morning and every night.

It Ain’t Over Yet

Like I said.

The journey continues.


Do you know the primary reason leaders and potential leaders fail today? It’s not because of what they do but rather how they do it – in other words, their effectiveness. Find out “How To” improve both your success and effectiveness by taking advantage of the FREE version of the Situational Communication® website/webinar.

Situational Communication®: The Strategic Leadership Communication Process and Relating Styles of Successful/Effective LeadersEmotionally intelligent communication, negotiation and relating strategies that maximize a minimum amount of time to consistently achieve successful results and develop effective relationships.

Enhance your personal, business and professional leadership credibility, respect, fairness, pride and collegiality. Learn to communicate, negotiate and relate to others with personal power, influence and persuasion every time – particularly in difficult and challenging situations.

Learn more about what Situational Communication® can do for you, your career, your leadership, your organization and your professional development. Contact us today.