Monthly Archives: December 2010

Why Consulting Is So Easy

I use a framing store for the certificates I hand out in sessions such as my Million Dollar Consulting® College. For December’s College, my wife took the certificates from the calligrapher to the framer, but the owner told her that her husband, who actually did the framing, wasn’t there and wouldn’t be back for a couple of weeks—far past my deadline. She directed my wife to an arts store a couple of miles away where there are assembled frames.

We found that the assembled frames were almost indistinguishable from the hand made fames. The difference in cost: Framer is $450 for 10; store is $40 for 10.

This is the problem with small business owners. They don’t think of the customer relationship, only the immediate work. I’m sure most of you would have suggested to her: bring the framing to a competitor if you have to, but get them done for your customer of five years; find someone who can do this on a subcontract basis; learn to frame yourself as the owner; line up replacements when you know your husband will be away.

I’ll go back to her. I want to support her, her work is very good, and she’s two minutes from my home. But a lot of customers won’t under similar circumstances.

Consulting is about common sense. Alarmingly, too many business owners and senior managers are lacking it. Don’t be shy about charging for it, because the value of common sense is constantly on the rise.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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My Daughter’s New MTV Show Tonight!

Tonight, 10 pm on MTV, my executive producer daughter’s new show, “I Used To Be Fat.” It’s about teenagers trying to lose weight and what happens to their lives.  There will be a test in the morning.

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The Dog Star: Fetch

(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 German Shepherd, Koufax, routinely picks up a squeaky toy (he has dozens) and drops it next to me on the couch. I throw it, and he does a lap or two of the bedroom and then drops it six feet away. I retrieve it, throw it again, and the process continues. On average, after six tosses, he fetches it, jumps on the bed and lies down. The game is over.

I was always somewhat disappointed that the brilliant Koufax never caught on to how to actually fetch and retrieve. He only brought the toy close to me when the game started.

Then I realized, it was his game, not mine. He had trained me to throw the toy when he first brought it, but then to go to where he dropped it on the returns, and finally that when he “retired” to the bed, we were done. He was playing by his rules, and rather brilliantly. The game is the same every time.

Aside from questions about my IQ, this is a rather good avatar for how to educate clients. Show buyers how YOU play, don’t adapt to how THEY play. Educate them in your payment terms, your interactions, your time efficiencies, joint accountabilities, and so on. And then clearly manifest when that game is over.

We are all creatures of habit, and habits can be broken. I suppose that if I refused to throw the toy unless Koufax brought it closer on each return, he might change his ways. Of course, he might also make me feel guilty about not playing with him.

It all depends on the stronger will, and best persuasive techniques.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 12/27/10

December 27, 2010—Issue #67

This week’s focus point: Season’s Best to everyone! In this “lull” before New Year’s, spend an hour a day thinking about your business and/or talking about it with a significant other or trusted colleague. Don’t think about how to fix, repair, or commit to remedial work. Instead, focus on what you’re already very good at and how to capitalize on that strength. We all grow by building on strengths, not by trying to metamorphose every weakness into idealized perfection. We’re all imperfect. Success trumps perfection. Happy New Year!

Monday Morning Perspective: In art the subject upon which you concentrate is unimportant; it is only the quality of your concentration that counts. — John Steinbeck

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© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved

I remember a meeting with a boutique consulting firm that had fallen on hard times. The debate was whether or not to sell their magnificent conference table. “Where would clients sit?” asked one partner. “We have no clients,” stated the advocate of selling. You can’t cut your way to renewal or success. Top line growth is the key to bottom line achievement, for you and for your clients. Today is the time to invest in the future. Once you cut muscle, you’re powerless.
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Episode 52: Hotel Follies

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ALAN’S TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FOR CONSULTANTS

ALAN’S TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FOR CONSULTANTS
By Alan Weiss

Reprinted from last year at popular request.
(with apologies to everyone from the 16th Century and prior)

On the first day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
A large dose of self-esteem.

On the second day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
Two new ideas,
And a large dose of self-esteem.

On the third day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
Three great colleagues,
Two new ideas,
And a large dose of self-esteem.

On the fourth day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
Four great referrals,
Three great colleagues,
Two new ideas,
And a large dose of self-esteem.

On the fifth day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
Five inspirations,
Four great referrals,
Three great colleagues,
Two new ideas,
And a large dose of self-esteem.

On the sixth day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
Six clients buying,
Five inspirations,
Four great referrals,
Three great colleagues,
Two new ideas,
And a large dose of self-esteem.

On the seventh day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
Seven leads a-calling,
Six clients buying,
Five inspirations,
Four great referrals,
Three great colleagues,
Two new ideas,
And a large dose of self-esteem.

On the eighth day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
Eight speaking requests,
Seven leads a-calling,
Six clients buying,
Five inspirations,
Four great referrals,
Three great colleagues,
Two new ideas,
And a large dose of self-esteem.

On the ninth day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
Nine columns printing,
Eight speaking requests,
Seven leads a-calling,
Six clients buying
Five inspirations,
Four great referrals,
Three great colleagues,
Two new ideas,
And a large dose of self-esteem.

On the tenth day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
Ten agents calling,
Nine columns printing
Eight speaking requests
Seven leads a-calling,
Six clients buying,
Five inspirations,
Four great referrals
Three great colleagues,
Two new ideas,
And a large dose of self-esteem.

On the eleventh day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
Eleven innovations,
Ten agents calling,
Nine columns printing,
Eight speaking requests,
Seven leads a-calling,
Six clients buying
Five inspirations,
Four great referrals
Three great colleagues,
Two new ideas,
And a large dose of self-esteem.

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My efforts brought to me,
Twelve vacation days,
Eleven innovations,
Ten agents calling,
Nine columns printing,
Eight speaking requests,
Seven leads a-calling,
Six clients buying,
Five inspirations,
Four great referrals,
Three great colleagues,
Two new ideas,
And a large dose of self-esteem.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Alan, Maria, Koufax, and Buddy Beagle.

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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The Dog Star: The Pack

(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)

We have with us our daughter, her husband, our twin granddaughters, our son, his girlfriend, our two dogs and our son’s bulldog. Full house, even for us.

The dogs immediately formed a pack. Koufax and Humphrey, the bulldog, fight and play, and Buddy Beagle remains wary and crafty, but they all do things together. They’ll hit my den, sleep on the two dog beds together, but if Koufax leaves the other two will follow. This business of a pack—of “having people,” if you will—is pretty cool.

Last evening, Maria and I heard a crack and felt the house shake a bit. We were the only ones home, and the dogs seemed somewhat uneasy. When we went downstairs, we found one of the huge windows (about 12 by 6 feet) that separate the pool table room from the indoor pool had shattered. (Root cause: Unbeknownst to use, the exhaust fan had failed and the build up of heat from the pool on one side and relative coolness on the other strained the window to shattering point.)

At 8 am this morning I called a glazier, who had a man here by 9, who returned at 10:30 with two others and replaced the glass by 11. My son had cleaned up the mess on both sides, and we put the robot in the pool to clean the bottom. I called the electrician at 8:10 and he had a man here by 9, who stood on a 14-foot ladder IN the pool to access the fan, and order a replacement. Meanwhile, the cleaning crew showed up for the holidays, and Cox Cable came to create a “host” recorder with more memory space that can broadcast elsewhere in the house. All of this was completed by 1 pm, when we took our two dogs for their Christmas bath. (It takes two of us to bring them in and bring them out, Koufax is a tad embarrassing.)

It’s good to have “people.” You get “people” by building strong relationships, providing referrals, paying your bills on time, and treating everyone respectfully. I’d like to think the dogs are my “people,” but I’m beginning to realize I’m actually one of theirs.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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