Monthly Archives: June 2012

Thank you very much!!

In just six hours on a weekend we generated  the 250 votes necessary to qualify for the next round in competition for $250,000 grants being offered to small businesses.

Many thanks!!


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I Need Your Vote Today, Saturday

I’m in a competition for a $250,000 grant, which I would use for scholarships, travel support, and loans in tough times to people in my community who need the help.

Log in to Facebook, and go here:

Then put in Rhode Island and East Greenwich for state and city, and vote for Summit Consulting.
We only need 20 more votes to qualify, but midnight is the deadline, and I just started this morning, having just learned of it. Please cast a vote!!
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Posted in The Movies | 4 Comments

Episode 70: Score

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WOLFoundation Competition

The WOLFoundation, for which I serve on the board, is seeking entrants for its 2012competition for essays on environmental and sustainability issues. You can find background information and applications here:

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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Guest Column: Some Truths About Obamacare

Judy Chan is an expert in health care and health provider consulting. She is the CEO of HealthPro Consulting. She can be reached at

Some Truths about Obamacare

The U.S. Supreme court is expected to rule tomorrow on the constitutionality of imposing a mandate that everyone have health insurance. Everyone excludes immigrants. The big question is how much of the healthcare reform law will be kept in place if the individual mandate is removed.

Some facts. The individual mandate means two percent of the total population will have to buy insurance and not receive any federal assistance to pay for it. If these individuals choose not to purchase health insurance, then they must pay a penalty. Right now, there is nothing in the law that enforces the penalty. That’s right, for two percent of the population affected by the law, there is no difference should they choose to ignore the mandate.

Why was this needed in the law? So people do not wait until they are sick to buy insurance. Insurers must employ a modified form of community rating which restricts the factors that can be considered in determining an individual’s premium (e.g. tobacco use, age, geographical area, age). Requiring everyone to purchase insurance spreads the cost of the relatively few sick people over a large population of healthy people. Insurers can spread the added costs of ignoring pre-existing conditions and health status when granting coverage and setting premiums.

Note that the insurance companies have been quiet about the elimination of the individual mandate. That’s because if the mandate is excised and the rest of the mandate is left intact, it will make it difficult to set premiums.

What benefits have the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provided so far?

  1. One provision requires that insurance cover children on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26. Nearly 3.1 million young adults received coverage through their parents insurance according to HHS. The report found that 74% of U.S. residents between the ages of 19 and 25 had health insurance compared to 64% before the federal provision was in place.
  2. Preventive care is free for adults and children. This feature has been in effect since 2010. Prior to 2010, more than 50% of adults did not receive any key preventive services.
  3. Lifetime maximum coverage is eliminated. The lifetime cap meant that total payments for an individual were limited by a dollar value, commonly $1 million. Once the limit was reached, the insurance companies did not have to pay for any more treatment or services. For those with serious illnesses or chronic disease, the cap could be reached very quickly.
  4. A requirement already in effect is that insurers are required to spend at least 80% of their premium dollars on health-related costs from individuals and small businesses and 85% for large employers. If this is not met, the difference must be returned to the employers or individuals.
  5. Policies cannot be rescinded unless the consumer was deliberately misleading in an application.
  6. Premiums cannot be tied to health status and insurers must sell coverage to adults regardless of pre-existing health conditions and stop pegging premium rates to health status. Premiums have been known to be as much as three times higher for older individuals but under 65. This provision is set to take effect in 2014.
  7. Individuals cannot be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions in 2014.

It’s easy to get misled by the politicians that the law infringes on individual rights. In reality, the decision before the court is based on a technicality. The question is whether this regulation is permissible under the Commerce Clause, which allows the federal government to regulate interstate activity. Health reform opponents say that the decision not to buy health insurance is economic inactivity, rather than activity, and therefore, not a behavior that is subject to regulation by the federal government. Health reform supporters argue that deciding not to purchase health insurance has an economic effect. For example, an individual without coverage may not have the money to pay for an emergency room visit, sticking hospitals or taxpayers with the bill.

Do we want to stay with a health care system that allows hard working ordinary people to go bankrupt because they are in an accident or become seriously ill?

Is the health care reform law truly bad for us non-politicians? We need to think very carefully about keeping the benefits from the health care reform law. It will have a much bigger impact on our lives and bank accounts today and in the future than whoever wins the next political battle.

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Keeping Tabs

Many years ago I knew a trainer named Marcie. Marcie attended all of my workshops and routinely asked me for help when I was still providing it for free to anyone who asked.

She had a training program which a client loved, and she put all 200 client employees through the training. The buyer said, “Please do something else for us, everyone loves to learn from you.” So she developed another relevant program.

Then they wanted more, and Marcie had a breakthrough. She created a three-ring binder with tabs for her materials and performance aids. She place the first two programs’ materials in their places, and then had the participants insert the third and latest program during the course she delivered.

But Marcie had created 12 tabs on different topics, and now 9 were still vacant.

Participants soon lobbied management for the other 9 programs, which Marcie hadn’t even created yet. But she managed to fill that binder, training 200 people 12 times, or creating 2,400 participants out of 200. Over the years, that was close to a million dollars, from one client.

Are you creating healthy and fascinating expectations? Are your buyers—whether for coaching, consulting, training, facilitating, speaking, or related areas—eagerly seeking more content from you to “fill the vacant value spaces”? Are you whetting appetites, creating evangelists, suggesting continuity?

A three-ring binder with only a third of the value present, and the rest a highly desirable quest for fulfillment: Not a bad marketing tactic. Does your “binder” seem very slim, already filled, or hard to follow?

Or is it the eagerly awaited promise of things to come?

© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 6/25/12

June 25, 2012—Issue #144

This week’s focus point: My three-year-old granddaughters are fond of asking, “Why?” Why am I driving my wife’s car? Why are we eating breakfast in a different place? Why do some birds land in the water but not others? It’s a habit too many of us lose. Asking “Why?” sheds the habitual, the routine, and the rote. It moves people from alternatives to objectives. It creates a spandrel through which we can escape the walls that easily and subliminally imprison us. Don’t be afraid to ask your client or prospect, “Why?” Ask your spouse. Ask your colleagues. Ask yourself. If you need help doing so, let me know, because I have two very young, high-potential consultants here who are available for a value-based fee.

Monday Morning Perspective: God is on the side of the heaviest battalions. — Voltaire

Dramatic Learning Opportunity: Common Sense Consulting™:

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© Alan Weiss 2012. 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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Refresher for Consultants

Here are some definitions which are absolutely critical to gaining conceptual agreement with an economic buyer and creating a proposal that’s accepted every time:

OBJECTIVES: These are always business outcomes, never deliverables. A “three-day management retreat” is a deliverable and an arbitrary alternative. “Creating seamless management/client relationships which maximize repeat business and minimize duplication” is a business outcome. You can move from deliverables to outcomes by asking, “Why?” as in, “Why are you considering a management retreat?” That will move the buyer from alternatives to objectives.

METRICS or MEASURES OF SUCCESS: These are indicators that show progress and/or completion. They must be based on environmental evidence and/or observed behavior. They can be scientific (e.g., increase in average sales size as measured by the monthly sales reports) or anecdotal (e.g., people coming to me directly for resolution of conflict with other departments will drop from one a day to one a week). Bob Mager’s famous line helps here: “How would you know it if you tripped over it?” When people say they don’t know how to measure improvement, ask them how they know the issue isn’t working right at the moment. What’s the indicator? There needs to be at least one metric for EVERY objective.

VALUE: The nuance most overlooked, there should be 3-4 value statements for EVERY objective. Value constitutes the impact on the organization when an objective is met. It may be monetized and tangible (e.g., saving $2 million a year, reducing attrition by 7 percent) or non-tangible and emotional (e.g., the work environment aesthetics will improve, I’ll feel less stressed). Even something as obvious as profit as an objective can yield diverse value (more investment in R&D, larger bonuses, attract more investors, pay down our debt, and so on). The more value, the larger your fee, because the ROI will be all the more dramatic.

You need to reach CONCEPTUAL AGREEMENT on these three points prior to the proposal with the buyer. The proposal is, therefore, a summation NOT an exploration (or negotiating document).

An ECONOMIC BUYER is someone who can “write a check” without any other approval for the project in question. They are virtually never found in HR, training, or learning and development. Those areas primarily deal with venders who sell commodities, such as training programs, not consultants

Resources of mine:

Million Dollar Consulting, The Consulting Bible, Value Based Fees, Million Dollar Proposals, How to Acquire Business

© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.

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