Monthly Archives: January 2011

Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 01/31/11

January 31, 2011—Issue #72

This week’s focus point: Apple has gone beyond “product” and has become a framework within which it offers a variety of personal and professional technological life enhancements. It has reached a point of instant credibility and creates eager expectations. Its “sins” and errors (iPhone dropped calls) are forgiven quickly. It’s difficult to compete with Apple, now one of the most valuable companies in the world, because you’re competing with a lifestyle and business-style choice. Professional services providers can achieve the same kind of intimate and unbreachable relationship with their clients, if they eschew pitching products and services and focus on the value of the personal and professional results they create.

Monday Morning Perspective: How glorious it is — and also how painful — to be an exception. — Alfred de Musset

New Consulting Newsletter: You can subscribe for free to my new, monthly, electronic newsletter, The Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset, including the archives, here:http://summitconsulting.com/million-dollar-consulting-mindset/ There is a video explaining it further.

You may subscribe and encourage others to subscribe by clicking HERE.

Privacy statement: Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

Contact information: info@summitconsulting.com
http://www.contrarianconsulting.com
ISSN 2151-0091

© 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 53: In Case You Were Wondering What I Was Thinking

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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The Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset for Consultants

We often talk of “thinking big” without bothering to determine what that entails. Herein, some suggestions:

1. Keep asking “Why?” to find the buyer’s larger objectives. “We need a developmental program (Why?) because our sales need improvement (Why?) because we want to become the industry leader.” The last goal has far more value than the first.

2. Stop asking permission, except rhetorically (“May I suggest a bolder approach?”). Peers don’t ask permission, they make suggestions.

3. Don’t ever assume money is an issue. There is always money. The only question is whether you constitute enough of a priority for the buyer to give it to you.

4. You can always make another dollar, but you can’t make another minute. Focus on the next date, time, and accountability. Never accept, “We’ll get back to you” or “Let’s talk again in the spring.”

5. If you don’t blow your own horn there is no music. If you can’t be passionate and dedicated about the value you’re bringing, then why should the buyer? If you can’t honestly tell me you’re the best person for the job, then why should I think you are?

6. Remember that your project is current business but referrals are your future business, and they are equally important. Every client has this duality of value for you. Plumb both.

7. The natural progression is a project or a series of projects leading to retainers so that access to your “smarts” is always available. Don’t read too much about how to “disengage.” Read about how to perpetuate client relationships.

8. Learn to reject acceptance. You do not want to waste your time in human resources, learning and development, training, or other support positions, except as a route to the real buyer. No matter how much they embrace you, run for the “up” stairway.

9. Think of yourself as someone who improves the client condition, and can do so by consulting, coaching, training, facilitating, writing, speaking, and so on. If you see yourself merely as a methodology conduit (“I’m a teambuilding retreat facilitator”) you might as well lower your future expectations right now.

You can subscribe for free to my monthly electronic newsletter, The Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset, at http://summitconsulting.com/million-dollar-consulting-mindset/. You’ll have access to the archives as well as all new editions.

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.

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Do It Yourself and Save Time

Counterintuitively, you often get things done with less labor and faster when you do them yourself.

Case in point: I’ve talked to legions of “virtual assistants” who are neither virtual nor of assistance. Here’s the latest one: “Maureen has asked me to call you to get copies of invoices from 2008. They should be in the amounts of $6,000 and $100.”

“Who’s Maureen, and what were they for and why does she need them?”

“She worked with you back then, apparently, Maureen Smith, and that’s all the information I have.”

I told her to have Maureen pick up the phone and call me herself and, what do you know, when she did we cleared things up in one minute and I sent what she needed. Too many consultants believe that the trappings of the profession are more important than the outcomes, so a staff is required, and formal offices, and complex phone systems with lengthy messages, and software that tells you they are going to call you for your scheduled meeting in six days, four hours, thirty-six seconds, and a quark.

I don’t like to deal with “middlemen,” and I don’t like the implication that someone else’s time is just so valuable compared to mine that they can assign their end of the accountability to someone else to deal with me. If you want something rapidly, pick up the phone and call. (I wrote a guy off, for whom I had done countless favors out of generosity and good will, when he stopped talking to me—having called me over in a hotel lobby—to take a call without even looking at who was on the other end. He held his finger up in the “one minute” gesture, and I turned and walked away in the  “sayonara” gesture.)

If your time is really so valuable, why are you wasting so much of it on Facebook?!

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 01/24/11

January 24, 2011—Issue #71

This week’s focus point: In the American football playoff season, it’s of no small note to realize that those of us providing professional services are seldom, if ever, the “home team.” We’re usually “on the road,” and we must learn to win on the road. That means we need to silence the crowd (the resistors), control the ball (manage the conversation), and never get rattled (possess self-confidence). Every successful team must win on the road. For us, that’s almost always the case, so we might as well get good at it.

Monday Morning Perspective: When a tree decays it is not normally from sickness and never (one assumes) from sin. It decays because it has reached its maximum growth maintaining that size and weight for the period usual with that type of tree. It cannot live forever in any case. Institutions, whether political or industrial, are not essentially different. — C. Northcote Parkinson, “In-Laws and Outlaws”

You may subscribe and encourage others to subscribe by clicking HERE.

Privacy statement: Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

Contact information: info@summitconsulting.com
http://www.contrarianconsulting.com
ISSN 2151-0091

© 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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I Didn’t Read It, But I Didn’t Like It

When you author books, you develop a thick skin for the occasional nasty commentary, especially in a day when everyone’s a critic with access to social media platforms, reviews on Amazon that provide anonymity, and so forth. I often get alerts when one of my books is reviewed.

Today, though was a unique experience. Some guy gave Million Dollar Coaching a mediocre review (3 stars) on the basis of his browsing through it in an airport bookstore!!

This is where we’ve arrived: People determining whether a book can be helpful based on a quick, free browse between planes, and then letting others know their expert opinion! Makes judging a book by its cover seem downright scientific!

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Consultants in the Snow

There was a group of ducks under our birdfeeder today. The ground and the lake are covered with snow, and a bunch of more courageous ducks walked or flew into the rear of our property and joined the birds and squirrels around the feeders. No one seemed to care, and the ducks ate their fill, looking pretty funny with their beaks covered in snow, but also quite content.

The instigation for this is that my morning feeding had been consumed, and the ducks had run out of food. So they left where they were and went to where the food is. Some had the wisdom to do this, and others had the common sense to follow. The preponderance (we draw about 300 ducks in the winter) sat around on the pond looking at where the food used to be.

Consultants have to go where the food is. Willy Sutton robbed banks because “that’s where the money was.” We have to go where the business is.

Where is that likely to be?

• Strong, successful organizations which can invest in their own growth and are confident enough to bring in outsiders who may possess more knowledge than they have in given areas.

• High growth organizations, where there is a high tolerance for risk and rapid growth demands new ideas and courage.

• Organizations where you’ve worked before with sterling results and continuing relationships.

• Wider and wider geographic ranges, where technology and common needs can offset the obstacles of distance, and a “one-world” economic outlook is prevalent.

What you can’t do is zealously adhere to your current methodology, geography, or contacts. You must be willing to change with the times. You may be the finest Radio Shack Color Computer expert extant, but I wouldn’t be putting in additional phone lines to handle the crowds if I were you.

Go where the food is. The conditions might be different, the environment novel, the clients surprising. But the money will be accepted by the bank. You’ll still be a duck, but you’ll be leading the flock.

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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In Case You Were Wondering What I Was Thinking…

• Why does the ice cream store give me a dog sundae with ice cream in a cup and a dog biscuit on top, and also a spoon?

• Why do stores and banks keep telling me that the most annoying and time-consuming actions are “for my protection and best interests”? Wouldn’t that, by definition, be my decision, not theirs?

• Somehow I don’t believe that the pedestrians, stopped at a “don’t walk” sign despite the fact you can see there is no traffic coming for 12 blocks, are the early adapters and innovators in the world.

• Airlines are no longer in the air transportation business (at least in the U.S.). They are in the “revenue at any cost and at every turn” business, and I’m not flying domestic carriers internationally if I can possibly help it. And I’m a full-fare, first class passenger.

• You don’t step out of a luxury car and give the parking valet a buck tip if you have any class at all and the car is really yours.

• The people in the first class airport lounges who carry plates piled high with free food and drink alcohol continually are, dollars to donuts, there on a free pass or by accident. People who belong there act as if it’s nothing special.

• When you pay people to talk about calamity, they talk about calamity. That’s why every “meteorologist” sees a snow shower as a blizzard, and every investment “analyst” sees a market blip as a major correction.

• The gowns, jewelry, tuxedoes, and shoes at awards ceremonies such as The Golden Globes may be pretty classy, but not necessarily the people wearing them.

• The most entertaining thing about Facebook so far is the movie made about it.

• Passion attempts to influence people, zealotry tries to convert them. I’m all for the former, but I flee from the latter.

• The other evening, at a new restaurant in town, I asked the server what the pasta side was on my plate. He looked at it and said, “It’s either linguini or fettuccini, I’m not sure.” Think the place will last long?

• Every time I thumb through a catalog I wonder why I’m not looking up the item on the Internet. Then I realize: Catalogs create need by suggesting items you weren’t thinking about. The Internet is better at fulfilling the need once it’s identified.

• I was looking for an item today on the Internet, and found a dozen sources. But I chose Amazon because I knew I could order it with “one-click” in two seconds, and not have to laboriously enter my personal information and credit card. And it was least expensive there, though I would have paid more for the benefit.

• The more revivals you see on Broadway and in Hollywood (back comes “How to Succeed in Business,” and “Cage Aux Folles”), the less creativity and talent is extant.

• Do we really require a commercial with only five minutes left in the television show? How perverse do you have to be to succeed in advertising?

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.

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