Monthly Archives: October 2009

Here’s A Secret

Do I have this right? James Ray, who has said on the record that everything in his life is his responsibility, caused by his intent (and who has stated “many Jewish people are glad the Holocaust happened”), is now disclaiming any responsibility for the deaths and illness at the sweat lodge he ran?

Do you want to know “The Secret”? The Secret is that there are charlatans out there who want to take your money by promising an easy way out that requires no work, a mindless approach that requires no thinking, an irresponsible methodology that places no accountability on the deliverer.

If you want to be successful, then plan to work smart and hard as needed, and be aware that “reality stars” are just the opposite. They are the ski instructors who have never been up the mountain.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Posted in Alas Babylon | 8 Comments

Look! (Episode 38)

Click Here for entire series table of contents

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Posted in The Movies: The Writing on the Wall | 1 Comment

Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 10/26/09

Alan’s Monday Morning Memo’s mission is to help readers to thrive.

October 26, 2009—Issue #6

This week’s focus point: There are fewer auto repeat buyers within the same brand than at any time in recent history. Competing models, international competition, environmental concerns, and financial concerns are creating highly individualistic purchasers. What are you doing to build and nurture a brand that transcends and builds on changes, so that your clients continue to need you?

Monday Morning Perspective: Luck is the residue of design. — Branch Rickey, former general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who brought Jackie Robinson into the big leagues

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ISSN 2151-0091

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved

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The Dog Star: Building Your Own Door

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

My wife and I were leaving to workout this rainy, gloomy morning, and she opened the kitchen door to let the dogs back in from their early constitutional. However, there were no dogs. My wife soon found that the large gate up the hill—used by the tree and lawn guys to get heavy equipment in—was open.

We went into our “find the dogs” drill which we hadn’t used in years (wehn the Great Dog Trotsky ran away weekly) and she grabbed the truck keys while I headed for the front door. Lunging out the door, I nearly tripped on Koufax and Buddy, tails wagging, doggy smiles, very wet, but obviously quite pleased with themselves. (Koufax doesn’t usually run off the property unless he’s chasing something, but then returns, and Buddy knows that if Koufax comes back and he doesn’t, he’s in deep, deep trouble. Nonetheless, we panic if we can’t find them.)

Apparently, some strong winds had blown the gate latch up, and Koufax’s weight was sufficient to do the rest, though these are six-foot long devices. Neither dog likes getting wet, so they probably were looking for a faster way back inside. They know all the entry points. They went to the place we always return to when we’re out for a ride.

I find that many consultants often find an open gate. They run through and go frolicking through the woods. It could be an offer of “collaboration” from someone; it may be some very dubious advice someone with even more dubious credentials presented at a meeting; it might be some technology, or social platform, or “exposure” opportunity from (of course) doing some work for free.

Just because someone opened a new egress, or you leaned against a door and it opened, doesn’t mean life is better out there. You have to create you own paths through intelligent marketing which reflects your value to the most appropriate possible buyers. That’s a deliberate and informed journey, not a romp through the woods.

Understand your value, your buyers, and your market. Then create a path for them to come to your door whenever possible. Don’t just go racing through the countryside looking for opportunity.

Even dogs have the good sense to come in out of the rain.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Alan Weiss Named Fellow of IMC at Reno, Nevada Conference

October 27, 2009

For Immediate Release

Summit Consulting Group
800/766-7935 (401/884-2778

Alan Weiss of East Greenwich, RI was designated a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants yesterday in Reno, Nevada. This distinguished and rare appointment is made by the board of directors and recognizes unique and globally recognized contributions to the consulting profession over a lengthy period of time.

The ceremony took place at the annual consulting convention, Confab, where Weiss was also the keynote speaker for the fourth time. Over 300 consultants attended the event. IMC chair Drumm McNaughton introduced Alan Weiss as “one of the most original thinkers in our profession.” He is the 47th Fellow named in the 40-year history of the award.

Weiss has written more books on solo consulting than any author in history. His best-seller (of his 35 books in 9 languages) is Million Dollar Consulting now in its fourth edition after 17 years, also appearing in Chinese and Russian. He pioneered the concept of value based fees for consultants in the early 90s, freeing the profession from the restrictions of hourly billing. The New York Post has cited him as “one of the most highly respected independent consultants in the country,” and he has traveled to 58 nations.

He is the only non-journalist to ever receive the American Press Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and only the seventh such recipient in its 60-year history. He is a member of the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame®, and is one of only two people ever selected as both a Fellow of the IMC and Hall of Fame member. He has served on a half-dozen boards, including Chair of the Newport International Film Festival, and is currently on the board of GAMM Theatre in Pawtucket, RI.

His newest book, Thrive!, will be published in December. He resides with his wife of 41 years, Maria, and their dogs Koufax and Buddy Beagle. They have two children, who attended Moses Brown School in Providence, then Syracuse and Miami Universities, and two grandchildren in Manhattan.

End End End

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Returning from dinner at the casino’s Romanza restaurant (which I thought would be appropriate since it’s the name of Andrea Bocelli’s finest album), we walked through acres of gaming tables, since casinos are built to route you through gambling, no matter what your route. It was a mediocre dinner, but finished with a dessert and bottle of champagne “comped” by the casino (and following a nice Pio Cesare at dinner), so we were in a good mood.

The Lovely Maria (TLM) asked to find some low-minimum tables so she could gamble the next day. (When there are hundreds, never mind thousands, of dollars on the table, and she loses, she tends to throw herself across the felt and scream, “NO, you can’t take it!!”) I suggested we play some craps, so that I could teach her the game I’ve been trying to teach her for 25 years, one more time.

We join two other players, I cash $300, and we’re off. Our two colleagues quickly crap out, and it’s TLM’s turn to throw the dice. She wins on three consecutive throws, and it’s starting to get interesting.

TLM: Why did I win on a 7, and then on an 11? Which is it?
ME: Both.
TLM: Why?
ME: They are both winning numbers on your first roll.
TLM: Why?
ME: Throw the dice.

On the fourth throw, one die heads for the other end of the table, but one traces a parabola, soars over the right side of the table, lands on the floor 30 feet away and rolls under a blackjack table. There is a momentary silence, then the pit boss takes off to retrieve the die. TLM is presented with new dice.

TLM: They’ll let me roll again?
ME: Of course
TLM: You don’t lose when the dice go off the table?
ME: Throw the dice.

She rolls a 6, and three rolls later makes her 6. It only takes her four rolls to make her 8 after that. I’m betting for her and me, and we’re doing great.

On her next roll, both dice hit the far wall, but one shoots up and skitters along the rim of the table, over a man’s chips. “No roll,” says the dealer. TLM again receives new dice. As she prepares to roll, the man next to her steps back.

TLM: What are you doing?
MAN: Getting out of your way.
TLM: Am I doing better than you did?
MAN: Good point. Throw the dice.

She begins to shake the dice in both her hands while still clutching her purse.

PIT BOSS: You have to use just one hand.
TLM: Why?
PIT BOSS: Because, like a magician can pull a rabbit out of a hat, we want to make sure you don’t pull something else out of that purse.
TLM: What does he mean by that?
ME: Throw the dice.

Then she rolls her new number, a 4. Beside the usual bets, I bet on a “hard 4” for me and for the dealers (which they prefer to tips).

TLM rolls five times, hitting a variety of numbers, then rolls a 1 and 3. “Winner” says the dealer nearest us.

TLM: Was that a hard four?
ME: No, that’s called an “easy four,” because it’s easier to do that than to roll two-2s.
DEALER: I don’t know, she’s been trying awfully hard.
TLM: Was that sarcastic?
ME: No just a statement of fact. Throw the dice.

TLM finally craps out, I have modest luck, and we leave only $50 down, my fault, since she was a couple of hundred up.

She’s playing blackjack today.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Posted in Peregrinations | 3 Comments

Call Those Names!

I delivered the keynote at IMC’s Confab yesterday, to a wonderful audience, and we all had a lot of fun. I talked about the very positive future of consulting and the need to “be in the moment” with clients and prospects, as well as the role of developing communities.

During an extensive Q&A period, I noted that social media platforms were good examples of communities that were largely personal and avocational, but were not the major marketing routes for consultants selling to large corporate clients. It was a good discussion.

Of course, immediately someone is Twittering that I’m a Luddite (you’ll note that they came to hear me, not him) and I’m assuming that he had help spelling “Luddite.” Apparently, he wasn’t even in the audience, but had heard some snippets on Twitter.

Have you noticed that you can argue with clients, prospects, colleagues, and others about business on a factual, mutually-respectful basis? But once you take on the social media fanatics, name-calling and mudslinging is unleashed. This is the trait of cult-like thinking. You’re with us or against us, and we’re not about to listen to opposing argument.

There are millions of intelligent, reasonable people using social platforms for personal and professional reasons. It’s too bad the zealots hang around like plaque on teeth. They need to be scraped off.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Good Morning, Reverend Sharpton

Contessa Brewer, a newsreader for MSNBC, who by the way attended the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse at the same time as my daughter, introduced the Reverend Jessie Jackson yesterday as the Reverend Al Sharpton. After the greeting, before he could respond, she rattled on in her Tele-Promp-Ter reading for 20 seconds, while the pain and fury mounted on Reverend Jackson’s face. It was nothing less than a Saturday Night Live sketch. (You can, of course, enjoy all this on YouTube.)

When Jackson frostily informed Brewer about his real identity, she responded, amazingly, with: “Of course I recognize you and I can see you on the monitor, but the script I’m reading has the wrong name.” As I said, a “newsreader” not a “journalist.” Apparently she attended another branch of school, called the Newhouse School of News Reading.

She wasn’t in the moment. I find a great many people who aren’t “in the moment,” and consultants are no exception. These people are worrying about what to say next, what question to ask, how to inject their own self-aggrandizement, how to stay on the text in front of them, what to do about the phone call they received a few minutes before, and so on. They aren’t using a rifle, aren’t using a shotgun, aren’t using a water balloon—they’re using a kaleidoscope, awash in stimuli and changing scenes.

If Jackson could have issued forth a demon and turned Brewer into dust he surely would have. His expression was worth a thousand of his signature rhymes.

Don’t sacrifice opportunity through superficiality. If the moment isn’t worth it, don’t spend the time. If it is, then focus on it.

In the meantime, if you’d like a job in MSNBC news, you’ll have to demonstrate you can read a rolling script at ten feet, irrespective of the reality around you.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Posted in Alas Babylon, Business of Consulting | 2 Comments

Best Practices Workshop (or take it home)

Quite a few people are asking if they can get some materials from the Best Practices Workshop I’m conducting on November 18-19 because they can’t make the date. So, i’ve decided to provide: course manual, with all PowerPoint slides; two books; two CDs; and an audio version of the entire 1.5 days. The price will be 25% less than the current price, at whatever price point you qualify for. Also, we can provide a video of the program if you would like one for an additional $500. The video is not available independently. You can register on my site using the Best Practices page, and indicate in “remarks” or a separate email that you want the home study version with or without the video. I’ll charge you accordingly. Payment must be made prior to the program itself, November 18, to qualify for this offer.

I will have run Best Practices four times, so the odds are that it will not be offered again, or at least for the next couple of years.

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The Brown Bugs

Every year at this time, as the weather turns decidedly colder and the leaves begin to fall, we see the arrival of some kind of beetle, which my wife and I call “the brown bugs.” They seem to lead a brief life in the cold, and they appear outside on the balcony and inside in the adjoining master bath, where they slowly explore the immediate vicinity. The photo shows one that I found crawling by me in my den this morning.


The Great Dog Trotsky used to simply eat them. (He was very adept at eating bees, by the way, and would sit silently in the flower beds, stunning them with a quick nip, then bopping them with a huge paw, and devouring them. He taught our terrier to do that. “Protein,” said my wife.)


Buddy Beagle finds them too slow to try to play with, although they do fly like ungainly World War II B-24s, and Koufax would not deign to even touch a bug, much less devour one. Whatever their natural enemies are, they seem to have disappeared, since there are more than the usual number this year. We see about four a day, though it may well be the same bug four times, I admit.


My wife puts them gently outside (where I’m convinced they come right back in again) and I simply tolerate them, since they only last about two weeks. They are hardy critters, not minding freezing temperatures. I absently noted one in the dogs’ upstairs water bowl, floating, and forgot about it. A day later, when I emptied the bowl into the Jacuzzi, the floating bug seemed to shake itself, and then walk away, none the worse for a lengthy immersion!


These bugs move slowly and fly slowly, resembling a bad Japanese science fiction movie with lousy special effects. But in their fortnight or so, they emerge, eat, mate, and I assume lay eggs for the next generation. This group confines itself to a small corner of our home. I’ve come to admire them.


I know that some of you would consider calling in the insect police, or fumigating the place, but we live here on six acres and saw four deer the other day on the way to our morning workout. I can’t be selective in enjoying nature. Live and let live. Who am I to destroy life that really isn’t causing me any problem?


I’m going to have to call my wife to remove the one in my den and put him outside. I’m sure I’ll see him again before too long.


© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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