Monthly Archives: January 2012

DASM: Bank of Montreal, Where I Don’t Want My Money

I was a client of Diners Club for 20 years. When it became simply another type of MasterCard, I stayed with them. I paid my bills in full, each month, for 20 years.

Unbeknownst to me, Diners Club cards were taken over by Bank of Montreal. Not long after, I received a form letter telling me my credit had been limited to a cap of $20,000 “after a review of my spending and credit information” and it basically explained they felt I was too much of a risk for anything higher. (I’m an American Express Black Card member, and my net worth is up there.)

I cut my card in half and sent it to the president, telling him basically that if they want to alienate clients with my history (and credit score), good for them, they succeeded. A month later, a woman calls from the “presidential complaints unit” (they apparently must receive a lot of complaints to have a separate unit) and tells me this is Bank of Montreal’s policy. But they don’t want to lose me, would I please come back.

“No,” I said, “unless you show me some sign of gratitude for my business. For example, raise my credit to $25,000 as a show of faith.”

She told me they could only do that with a full credit check and, of course, every credit check damages your credit score in this loony age of paying attention to computer numbers and not people.

“Ciao,” I said.

Today, I received a letter from the vice president of that woman’s presidential complaints operation (a LOT of complaints to merit separate officers), and he said, “Too bad you wouldn’t come back, but if you decide to reapply, we’ll review your application carefully.”

I suggested he not hold his breath.

Canadians are wonderful, polite people. But even my Canadian friends admit that service standards are lower in Canada than in the U.S. Bank of Montreal probably has more people in the “presidential complaints unit” than in its retail operation.

But it is good at something. It’s earned my Dumb-Ass Stupid Management Award. Congratulations!

© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 1/30/12

January 30, 2012—Issue #123

This week’s focus point: Be judicious in terms of those to whom you choose to listen and heed. Very few pundits and prognosticators are ever held accountable for their predictions, whether financial, social, political, or technological. Most who claimed they “predicted” the Great Recession were “predicting” it for 20 years. I hardly find that useful. Those who said Steve Jobs’s departure would devastate Apple are seeing record performance numbers from that company, but if it stumbles in six years they’ll claim they predicted it. Most of us are far better served by not trying to forecast the future but rather by performing well in the present, in the moment. Because I will tell you this about tomorrow, assuming the sun continues to shine and the earth continues in orbit: There will be people in search of value for which they will gladly pay a fair price. Adjust your value to the need, or create need around your value. That should take care of tomorrow rather nicely (along with purchasing Apple stock).

Monday Morning Perspective: He who doesn’t turn runs far. — Chinese proverb

Free videos on RESOLVE: http://www.summitconsulting.com/resolve/

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 2011. 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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The “Next Level”

There are certain words and phrases that, while originally well intentioned, have become hackneyed and trite. “Have a nice day,” “meaningful,” “impactful,” and “good to great” all come to mind.

I’m not merely fossicking here, because “We want to go to the next level” has become one of those tendentious phrases that seems to mean so much but results in so little.

Whether that “next level” is financial (which it usually is), or competence, or repute, or anything else, I’ve found that it’s less a matter of action than one of thought. That’s because you seldom reach new heights by merely doing more of the same of what you’re doing now. You have to change your mindset and thought patterns if you truly want to metamorphose into a new being.

Fortunately, that’s not physically difficult—there are neither cocoons nor hibernations required. Unfortunately, it can be quire difficult mentally, because different frames of reference and perspective are required.

Earlier today a woman wrote to ask exactly where in Los Angeles my June workshop would be, since that would depend whether she would go. (This is a workshop that would normally cost at least $1000, but I’m doing for $100!) Upon investigation, I find that her days are totally filled, primarily because she is “selling all day” and feels obligated to run at 4:30 or so in the morning. If you’re in a rut that doesn’t allow you the time to explore how to leave the rut, guess where you’ll remain? (Hint: Not on the next level.) This is why doctors who schedule back-to-back patients every day all week can’t improve their practices.

Here is some quick help:

  1. Who are you? How do you define yourself? Are you a consultant, or are you someone who dramatically improves sales results or ensures strategic goals are exceeded?
  2. What do you do? Do you “coach” or “consult” or “facilitate”? Or do you improve your clients and help them reach results unattainable without you?
  3. Why are you doing this? Is it to make money, or to salve your ego, or to implement a methodology you love? Or is it to make a difference in the world and create a legacy?

Look through a telescope, not a microscope. Change your mentality so that you’re thinking big and not constantly stuck on trifles and trivialities. There is a hebetude around people who immerse themselves in the granular and specific. There is an excitement around those who forge new paths and provide new ideas.

If you want to arrive at “the next level,” start aiming for three levels above that.

© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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Episode 65: Think Big, Live Large

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The Dog Star: It’s A Long Fall Off A High Horse

(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)

I have a new, free video series on RESOLVE: http://www.summitconsulting.com/resolve/ and, as I frequently do, I use my dogs as examples throughout the videos. I talk about how optimistic they are every day, and how they integrate learning.

The responses to the series have been fantastic, but one person wrote to say that he resents being compared to dogs (“If my dogs can do it, you can do it” I say at one point), and feels I should come up with different examples (in my free videos). He never mentions the worth of the content.

I recall once asking an audience of raucus consultants to be quite and sit down (“SIT!” I shouted) so that I could begin my speech. They laughed and did so, except for one guy who said, “I’m a CMC and won’t be talked to like that! You have no right to insult the best people in the profession!” (Well, I’m a GWWPUWIE—guy who won’t put up with inflated egos, so sit down and shut up.)

I’m constantly telling people that I’m surprised at how stupid I was just two weeks ago. You can compare me to a slug if it will help me learn something. I’m nether so insecure nor so arrogant that I need a constant, positive litany of my standing or recognition of the indecipherable 19 initials after my name.

You could be a lot worse off than being compared to a purebred German Shepherd. And if you don’t like dogs, I’ll remind you that it’s a long, long fall off a phony high horse.

© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 1/23/12

January 23, 2012—Issue #122

This week’s focus point: I’ve read that Picasso’s mother told him that he would become Pope if he joined the clergy, and a general if he joined the military. But he reported that he preferred art and “I became Picasso.” The great architect Frank Lloyd Wright said, “I once had the choice between hypocritical humility and honest arrogance, chose the latter, and have never regretted it.” I’m suggesting that, short of tedious smugness, we take some time to recognize our strengths and build on them. Too much of “self-help” is about correcting weakness, as if we’re all somehow damaged. Organizations and individuals grow by building on strength. And if you don’t blow your own horn, there is no music.

Monday Morning Perspective: Without great solitude, no serious work is possible. — Picasso

Gaining RESOLVE: My free video series on RESOLVE, beyond accountability, beyond discipline: http://www.summitconsulting.com/resolve/

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 2011. 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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Physician’s Observation on RESOLVE

Here’s a surgeon’s observation on my approach to RESOLVE:

“Developing resolve translates to the creation of new neural pathways, and then making conscious choices to use the new paths over the old.”

Vicki  Rackner  MD

To view my free video series on RESOLVE, visit here:

http://www.summitconsulting.com/resolve/

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Why Consulting Isn’t Rocket Science

I’ve known a couple of actual rocket scientists, and they were nice people, but they were  no better than I at trying to open plastic-sealed tools, operate the cable remote, or understand why Snookie is even vaguely interesting.

Fortunately for all of us, consulting is not rocket science. Here’s why:

• The obvious solutions and improvements are usually the right ones. (Occam’s Razor).

• You often have to merely cut to the chase: “He can’t be helped, coached, or re-skilled, and he stole from you: Fire him!”

• Most of what you tell the buyer he or she already knows, consciously or subconsciously, and merely requires some authoritative validation.

• The vast preponderance of people want to improve and create better conditions and support constructive change.

• If you deal with decision makers and not low level people, you will have ample authority to act.

• Most people take gratification from work well done which utilizes their talents, which is easy enough to arrange.

• There is virtually no barrier to entry in the consulting profession, nor likely to be one any time soon, meaning smart people can readily set up shop and acquire clients, rapidly outstripping those who also gained easy entry but who have no talent.

• You can improvise as you go.

• You have a laboratory in front of you (the client’s operation) in which you can prove and disprove things, and from which you can build an inventory of models and approaches.

• You don’t have to worry about inventory or returns because your dealing with advice and knowledge.

• Very few organizations have the residual, captive talent that can provide the same frames of reference, perspective, and skill sets that external consultants can provide.

• If you’re not dumb enough to base your fees on time units, you can establish huge margins.

• Our fees pale in comparison to most expenses in Fortune 1000 companies, where it can cost $200,000 to cover ruined postage, or mist the plants, or remove spilled food.

• If you’re a generalist, you can diversify and insulate yourself from economic and perceptual changes in given industries.

• Technology inevitably allows us to do more with less and lower labor intensity.

• It’s a rare exception for anyone to care what your gender, background, age, ethnicity, or schooling are.

• You are certainly not going where no man has gone before.

© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.

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Posted in Consulting Philosophy | 8 Comments

Thought Leadership Message from Alan Weiss

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