Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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We’ve decided that the dog’s name will be Bentley. It was too difficult calling him Koufax. I’m going to see if my Bentley dealer would like a mascot at special events.

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Episode 75: Bonfire of the Inanities?

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Koufax II

9 weeks old

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Alan’s Friday Wrap® Plan B

Despite experiences with Katrina, despite very accurate storm tracking, Hurricane Sandy left people in New Jersey and New York as if they had been in a Third World catastrophe. Obvious needs, such as alternative power sources, fuel, and fresh water weren’t in place or available in sufficient amounts. The government had a “Plan B,” it just didn’t work very well. Even today, the PATH trains aren’t working from Hoboken to New York City.

Most companies think they have a Plan B for a key person leaving, a key customer defecting, a power outage, bad publicity, and so on. But it’s usually “dusty” and “rusty” and “musty.” Consultants need to help companies to review and test their “Plan Bs.”

If you want to know more about how to use contemporary news and events in your consulting work and business development, sign up for my 5-minute podcast, Alan’s Friday Wrap, for 2013. Get a booster of business sense and growth every Friday to improve your results every week.

They begin January 4. You’ll receive all back issues if you sign up later, but I’m offering a major discount before December 31.

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 11/26/12

November 26, 2012—Issue #166

This week’s focus point: In business and in life, we can’t legislate away bad judgment. No law will protect us from ourselves, no corporate policy will ensure consistent success. Higher education should be about learning how to learn in constantly changing times. Adulthood should be about learning how to accept accountability in constantly challenging times. I attended an urban, average public school system, and did well. But under today’s laws and rules, my friends and I would have been arrested, expelled, or sent home weekly. Life and business are competitive, and we all have to learn the skills, cope with the unfairness, and sort out the complexities. When I chipped a tooth, tripped and fell, or lost a contest at school, my parents didn’t look for someone to sue or publicly complain. They told me to be more careful and keep my eye on the ball. I went on to play on the all-star team in Little League, and I’m not doing too badly to this day.

Monday Morning Perspective: Se non e vero e ben trovato. (If it’s not true, it might as well be.) — Anonymous

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© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved

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Advice on Advice

I’ve often used a ski instructor analogy to support my philosophy that someone you ask for advice should have a successful history of doing what you want to do. The instructor should be a few yards ahead of you on the slopes, demonstrating the moves as you follow, not in the chalet sipping branding telling you what to do when you get off the lift.

This may sound elitist, but I’ve been accused of worse: Many people whom you seek out (or who come to you—I become bored whenever I hear the term “internet marketing consultant”) are not good enough to give you proper advice. I was dealing with a mortgage manager on a refinancing deal who kept talking about “comparables.” There are no homes in the general area “comparable” to mine. I had to find an officer, who could relate to my circumstances, to find agreement that we weren’t talking about a “house” but rather a “lifestyle.” The first guy couldn’t relate to that, had no perspective, didn’t want to attempt to embrace it.

Why do “investment experts” have to solicit you for business? If they’re that smart, shouldn’t they be retired, wealthy, and merely managing their own investments? Why would you listen to anyone with a betting system, or a real estate system? They’re only successful in selling unsuccessful advice, not in applying it, or they wouldn’t need you. Most “self-help” books make money only for the author. (“If someone else wrote it and you’re reading it, it’s not ‘self-help’.” — George Carlin)

You have a limited amount of time, energy, and resources. Confine their investment to people with a demonstrated, manifest success who are willing to help you because their business is successful (they can ski beautifully) and they also are in the business of helping others (they can coach beautifully). Content without coaching ability is didactic and professorial. Coaching without content (success) is simply fraudulent.

Randy Gage points out in his new book Risky is the New Safe (he’s one of my guests at the next Thought Leadership Conference I’m hosting) that “you shouldn’t take advice from someone who’s broke.” I’m adding that you shouldn’t seek or take advice from someone who hasn’t done it, and/or can’t coach.

© Alan Weiss 2012

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Guest Column: Overcoming Adversity

Overcoming Adversity

Mike Drayton

Mike Drayton is a graduate of the Million Dollar Consulting® College in London, and his firm is a member of the Summit Global Network.

Have you ever heard people say things like

·         “I never win anything”

·         “Why is it everything I touch seems to go wrong?

·         “However hard I work I never get anywhere”

At work, the excuses differ only in words, but not emotion:

·         “There’s too much red tape for me to change anything”

·         “Money is tight, and my budget has been cut”

·         “My staff is lazy”

Then there are people like 19-year-old Ayesha Ahmed…

“After nine years only being able to breathe through an oxygen machine and going through a double lung transplant I’m going to spend two weeks trekking and working in Morocco. Then I’m going to qualify as a doctor.”

(not an actual quote, but the events are true)

Or fifteen year-old Malala Yousafzai, shot in the head (but survived) by the Taliban because she wanted—was desperate–to get an education and did so despite the constant threats and danger to her life.

It seems there are two types of people: those who blame everyone else for everything that goes wrong, and those who accept their lot and make the best of it.

If you want to run a successful business or team, you have to be in the second group. Focus on what’s working for you, not what’s dragging you down. Focus on doing the things you do best better—and either don’t worry about the things you aren’t great at, or find out ways of eliminating them completely. Focus on the positive.

As well as two types of people there are two types of things: stuff you can change and stuff you can’t.

You can’t change legislation, tax, or other people. The only thing you have power to change, is yourself. You have the power to change your attitude to adverse events. However difficult things are, there’s a way out. If you want to improve performance in the workplace, improve communication and trust. If your staff is inefficient think about how you can boost efficiency by actively recognising and rewarding efficient behaviour (not just punishing inefficient behaviour).

Stop complaining about things you can’t influence, and start doing something about things you can. If you have the right attitude you can accomplish almost anything, whether it’s bungee jumping after a double lung transplant, going to school despite the risk of death, or learning to surf, when you don’t have  arms or legs.

Doesn’t sound so hard when you put it in context, does it?

Mike Drayton is a consultant and psychologist who specializes in building resilient leaders, teams and organizations. His clients have included: Cunard, The BBC and the UK Police Firearms Officers Association. He is the director of Opus Performance Limited and is website is:

© Mike Drayton 2012

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Why People Will Invest In You

A colleague and I were comparing notes on our respective practices. She told me that she thought she worked three times harder than I do, but made half as much. She asked my interpretation of why.

I told here there were three keys to people investing almost any amount of money with you:

  1. Brand power. Whatever you do has a uniform representation of value.
  2. Evangelism. Peers are convincing peers of the power and wisdom of using you as a resource.
  3. High class. Your interactions feature rare experiences and opportunities.

But most of all, it’s about Thought Leadership: being THE acknowledged leader in a field, THE ranking expert, as manifest by intellectual capital, presence, citation, and multi-media (platform) accessibility.

When people realize the return on any investment with you is huge, then that investment is seldom subject to limitation. That’s why under-promising and over-delivering are so inherently dumb—you limit your own capacity for investment and increase your labor intensity.

If you want the crowd to pursue you, you had better stand out in any crowd.

© Alan Weiss 2012

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How to Succeed in Finding Your “Passion”

How To Succeed In Finding Your “Passion”

Angie Katselianos

Angie is a member of Alan’s global Private Roster Mentor Community who resides in Milan.

Orienting your life and business around your “passion” has its privileges:  You jump over hurdles like an Olympian, infect those who know you with enthusiasm, and pulverize setbacks on contact.  You stay in the game, never take your eye off the goal, and go full force.  Success is a daily outcome, as work and play become one.  Since your “passion” is intrinsic, you never leave home without it.  These are only a handful of reasons that seeking one’s “passion” is rapidly becoming the nation’s quest for the Holy Grail.  But why do many individuals find it so difficult to identify their “passion?”

Part of the problem is they’re confusing their “passion”—i.e., an inner driving force—with something else—i.e., the emotion we call passion.

Passion is a strong interest or emotion.  The problem with passion, as with anything that is emotion-based, is that it fades over time.  It changes.  Infatuations cool off, interests wane.  That’s far from a solid foundation on which to invest or build. Thus, one’s “passion” cannot be the same thing as the emotion of passion.

What organizations and people really are seeking is inspiration.

Inspiration is that inner-guided force which is constant and inexhaustible.  It doesn’t change.  Inspiration is the inextinguishable drive to fully engage in that, which energizes your being.  Once this force is activated, entering your conscious awareness, it can no longer be denied or diminished.
As with any quest, the way you define what you seek determines where you look, which influences the degree of success in finding it.  Looking for your passion instead of for your inspiration leads to three fatal mistakes:

  1. Searching “out there.”  Google the word “passion,” and at this writing, 624 million results flash on your screen faster than you can blink.  But you won’t find your passion by putting social media, online communities, and the market under surveillance.  What you seek is not out there—it’s nestled within.
    1. Looking for pleasure.  Passion usually is associated with a strong desire or interest.  This leads people to assume they should be looking for their passion among things that they like or consider positive.  As a result, conventional wisdom concludes that passion is about pleasure.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, what you seek is concealed where you’d least expect to find it: under the rock of pain.  Paradoxically, your highest source of inspiration is rooted in your deepest pain.

Herein lies the challenge: Human beings tend to run away from pain and toward pleasure.  This is why as long as you keep running and don’t look under the rock, you can’t expect to find your passion.

  1. Hunting for the latest and greatest.  The widespread belief that what may have motivated you five years ago doesn’t necessarily stimulate you today induces many to look high and low for passion among “recent” or “different” interests.  Big mistake.  Working with clients around the globe, I’ve unfailingly observed that the origin of what deeply inspires individuals can be traced back as early as before the age of five.  Inevitably, inspiration is a fine thread that is delicately woven through the fabric of our existence.

Since words do matter, stop looking for your passion and start looking for your inspiration.  You can avoid making the three mistakes that lead so many people astray. The antidotes are to search within instead of looking “out there,” seek inspiration that arises from pain rather than pleasure, and look in the past for a recurring theme. The fact is that we find what we’re looking for.  When you seek inspiration in the ways suggested here, you will be successful in finding your “passion.”

Angie Katselianos is The Performance Catalyst who partners with organizations and leaders to galvanize human productivity achieving breakthrough results in record time.

Some of her clients include Hewlett-Packard, Electrolux, Travelport, Italian Ministry of Defence, Alitalia, and Fiat.  For more information, visit her website at  She can be reached in Milan, Italy at +39 (02) 2316-5715.

© 2012 Platinum Performance International, Inc.   All Rights Reserved

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