Monthly Archives: September 2010

There’s an APP for that! (Episode 49)

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 9/27/10

September 27, 2010—Issue #54

This week’s focus point: There are differences among work, jobs, and careers. Most basically, work is temporary and intended to complete tasks, whether for you or someone else. Jobs combine work to focus on particular projects and goals, but can be terminated by others or circumstances. Careers constitute the synergy of the talents you choose to provide, combining your abilities and knowledge in a passionate manner to meet others’ needs. Which are you helping others with? Which are you pursuing?

Monday Morning Perspective: One is apt to think of moral failure as due to weakness of character; more often it is due to an inadequate ideal. — Richard Livingstone, British educator

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ISSN 2151-0091

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved

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Workshop Work

These are scenes of the crowd at the Writer’s Block Workshop and the Mentor Summit held this week at Sea Pines Plantation in Hilton Head. The Private Roster Mentor Community is a global community of consultants, speakers, coaches, professional services providers, and entrepreneurs who interact daily on, in workshops, through newsletters, in mastermind groups, on teleconferences, in scheduled podcasts and videos, and so forth.

For information on joining this 12 year-old network of high growth and dynamic learning, visit this page on my web site:

You’ll find the program options, my international Master Mentors who can work with you geographically or by speciality, options to work with me directly, the Mentor Hall of Fame, commercially published books by Mentor members, and all the ancillary benefits.

There is no other group or community like this in the world.

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Alan’s Observations

These are some observations that influence our marketing approaches which I presented at our 12th Mentor Summit at Sea Pines Plantation on Hilton Head Island this week.

1. Volatility reigns. For the foreseeable future, volatility with be the new “normal.” Use it to create market advantage. Convince clients that “this, too, will pass” is no longer relevant, and that their best bet is to exploit the volatility. Picture yourself in a storm, helping your clients to safely navigate. That means you need the courage and navigational skills yourself, and you’d better get accustomed to high degrees of ambiguity.

2. Perceptions are malleable. We create others’ perceptions of us in three ways: Our behaviors are far more influential than anything we write or say; the content of our communication creates powerful impressions; and the process of how we communicate creates beliefs and expectations about us. This is happening by default in any case, so we might as well become adept at creating the perceptions most favorable for us.

3. Generational demographics are less important than the quality and affluence of your target market. I’m not a big believer in big labels, like Gen X, “the greatest generation,” “boomers,” and so on. I cling to the humble notion that people are individuals nor herd animals. Find the target market which has the most volition and ability to purchase your services, and penetrate it. I suspect that in most cases it will be a generational cross-section.

4. Increasingly narcissistic individuals. In an age when everyone believes their latest hair cut, meal, and lint removal belong on twelve social media platforms, they expect an almost nihilistic freedom to gain attention: talking back to motion picture screens, screaming on cell phones in public, demanding attention and instant gratification. There is increasing “noise” and commensurate lowered attention in the environment. You need to create differentiation in order to be heard.

5. Wholesale and retail markets are overlapping. The individual (retail) market includes the owners of small businesses who need personal help, and individuals in large organizations who require individualized approaches. The organizational (wholesale) market includes large groups of individuals who gather together in communities, professional associations and other entities representing common interests. Unlike past times, both can rise or fall concurrently. It is no longer a hydraulic system.

6. Intellectual property is now instantly transportable globally. Your appeal through ideas and innovation can find acceptance quickly in highly diverse markets. You need to be fearless about spreading it—protect it intelligently, but don’t allow the risk of unethical people stealing a portion of it to dissuade you from pursuing huge markets.

7. Not investing in self-development is like not changing the oil in your car. Just as you should schedule vacations far ahead of time and schedule work around them, so too should you schedule vital self-development and make it sacrosanct. Otherwise, the tendency is to sacrifice your personal development when business and personal priorities conflict.

8. Learning integration is key, not “information hoarding.” Just as collecting business cards (instead of initiating relationships) is a dumb way to network, simply gathering and storing information is generally useless. Computer files filled with saved emails, references, “research,” and articles are not helpful unless the information can be readily accessed at the right time for the proper purpose. In that case, it becomes knowledge.

9. What is your “fresh air” source? What devices are you using to inject new ideas, opinions, techniques, and alternatives into your life? If you never change (or at least add to) your acquaintances, friends, and colleagues, you’re going to find yourself in a stuffy, poorly ventilated room, with a lot of cigar smoke. I like cigars, but they’re best out in the fresh air.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 9/20/10

September 20, 2010—Issue #53

This week’s focus point: Do you feel like a welcome customer of your credit card banks, or someone they’re trying to ring every last dollar from in late charges, interest fees, foreign transaction fees, and penalties? Do you feel like a valued customer of the airline that’s charging you for checked bags, carry-on bags, slightly larger cramped seats, simple food, and even rest room use? How are they doing building brand loyalty with you? Think about that with your own customers. They are valuable assets in competitive times, not ambulatory ATM machines.

Monday Morning Perspective: Anybody can win, unless there happens to be a second entry. — Humorist Goerge Ade

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ISSN 2151-0091

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved

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Dumb-Ass, Stupid Management

You cannot make this up. Two case studies.

Last night, with the Patriots playing like the St. Agnes School for Girls and being pummeled by the Jets, and the Giants beaten so badly by the Colts that someone should have used the Little League mercy rule, my wife and I decided we needed ribs. So off we went to Smokey Bones, a very good local rib joint, complete with loud  noise and cheap drinks and amazing ribs.

Since we were able to park immediately in front of the place and there was no loitering crowd, I knew they weren’t packed. The hostess greets us and asks, “Would you like to sit at one of the high top tables?” I hate these, they are uncomfortable and in a lousy area. “No, I would not,” I reply.

“Are you sure?” she presses.

“Yes, I am,” I tell her.

She then confers with a colleague over tables on her chart, while I point out three empty booths right over her shoulder. “Don’t worry, we’ll find a booth,” she says, continuing the weegie board maneuvers on her seating chart.

When the assistant takes us to the back of the restaurant, I’m amazed to find 20 available booths.

“What was the big deal with the high tops?” I asked.

“Well, no one likes to sit there, so we try to convince people to use them.”

I am NOT making that up. That’s what she said.

“In other words,” I pointed out, “I’m such an unimportant customer, and you care so little about me and my returning here, that you deliberately try to seat me in your worst seats, not your best seats?”

“You got a booth, didn’t you?” she asked.

I wonder if we’re getting the inferior ribs, or the ones that dropped on the floor, or were suspected to harbor Mad Cow disease? Can management get any dumber?

Maybe so.

This morning, on line at the Dunkin Donuts drive-through, my wife spots her favorite, pumpkin coffee, which they only offer this time of year (which is itself pretty stupid, since it’s hugely popular). I order one for her with two sweeteners and cream. But as we pull away from the tinny mike, she sees a sign, “Pumpkin coffee is pre-sweetened.”

“Find out what’s in it,” she said.

At the window, I engaged in the following conversation with a woman in a nice Dunkin uniform and visor, and this is the actual conversation, so help me Abbot and Costello. (If you can, play Sinatra’s “They Got a Lot of Coffee in Brazil” in the background.)

ME: Did you put sweetener in the coffee already pre-sweetened?

HER: Yes, you asked for it.

ME: But you didn’t say it was already sweetened.

HER: You didn’t ask.

ME: What is it pre-sweetened with?

HER: Pumpkin.

ME: No, no—what’s in it?

HER: Pumpkin.

ME: Is the Pumpkin coffee pre-sweetened?

HER: Yes.


HER: Pumpkin.

ME: Is there a sweetener within the pumpkin coffee when you pour it?

HER: Yes.

ME: And what is that? Sugar? Sweet n Low?

HER: Pumpkin.

At this point my wife says, completely audibly, “Oh, dear God, the poor thing.”

ME: Are you telling me that it’s the natural sugars that are found in pumpkins?

HER: It’s pumpkin.

ME: But if it’s the pumpkin itself, then it’s naturally sweetened, not pre-sweetened?

HER: It’s not naturally sweetened, it’s pre-sweetened.

ME: With pumpkin, right?

MY WIFE: Take the coffee and let’s go.

HER: Have a nice day.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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Lessons from the Self-Esteem Workshop

Here are the key points that emerged from my third Self-Esteem Workshop, for consultants and entrepreneurs, which I’ve now run in Providence, Dublin, and Newport.

• All of us have a story. It’s exceedingly rare to find anyone who has not had to cope with family breakup, illness, trauma, loss, or catastrophe.

• All of us face challenges to our self-worth at times.

• What happens to you is often not preventable. What you choose to do about it is within your power.

• “Baggage” in and of itself, is necessary. But the baggage must contain the clothes, accessories, and support that suit us for today and tomorrow, not yesterday’s stuff that no longer fits or is out of date.

• You can’t just drop baggage on the train, because it’s still traveling with you at the same rate of speed. You have to throw it off the train and risk killing a few grazing cows.

• Since we become familiar with the often inaccurate and unfair messages and baggage we received growing up, it’s incumbent on us not to do the same to our children and loved ones.

• Pleasing others is not of primary importance, and can cause you to sacrifice your own very legitimate and important objectives.

• Efficacy—how well you can do something—and self-esteem—how well you regard yourself irrespective of how well you do something—are independent variables. You can do well but feel unworthy, or feel worthy but not deliver the goods.

• Support networks are critical to build and reinforce self-worth.

• If you choose to spend time with people who think they are victims, who have low self-worth, and who suck up energy, you will eventually become just like them.

• The acquisition of skills builds self-worth if one employs them successfully and relevantly. The most important and useful skill of all is language.

• Put your own oxygen mask on first. That’s not selfish. It’s how you can help more people.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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How to Think Life A (Successful) Consultant

1. Be clear about your value to clients, and accept your mission to provide that value to as many people as can possibly gain from it. Don’t be afraid to blow a horn to get their attention.

2. Never assume the client is damaged. The client is smart enough to be talking to you.

3. Learn to accept rejection (from buyers, it’s part of the profession) and reject acceptance (from gatekeepers, whose job it is to block you).

4. Never believe you have the only way. Provide the client with options that are all good ways, so the decision is “How should I do this?” and not “Should I do this?”

5. Don’t think about or pursue perfection. Think about and pursue success.

6. Remember at all times that wealth is discretionary time, and the blind pursuit of money can actually erode you wealth.

7. Your physical presence is not of inherent value. The client’s results constitute value. Ergo, don’t tie the two together.

8. Routinize your inputs, customize your outputs.

9. IC to IP to IB: Intellectual capital must be manifest as intellectual property which can then be transformed into income that’s bankable.

10. Your best credentials are your results. Initials, “certifications,” ratings sheets, and degrees are mostly irrelevant and usually dumb. Provide a testimonial from a delighted client and it doesn’t matter what school you went to.

11. You should think about marketing all the time and delivering some of the time. Those who advise these are mutually-exclusive are universally unsuccessful.

12. Think in terms of speed and responsiveness. They display your sense of urgency, character, and professionalism.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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