Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Dog Star: Are You A Puppy?

(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)

A contractor is replacing all of our bluestone around the house with a stamped concrete. (Bluestone is dreadful. It’s attractive but splits, splinters, buckles, and calls you names. The installer didn’t know what he was doing, the repair guy was a disaster, and the third guy didn’t even return with the promised estimate. Apparently, bluestone installation is where all the incompetent contractors congregate in Rhode Island.)

I went to talk to him, and Bentley appeared in the doorway. “Whoa,” said the contractor, “what a great looking dog. Is he friendly?” (Bentley’s ears are up and his tail is wagging and he has the dopey dog grin, but it’s still a wise question with 65-pound German Shepard.)

“Sure, he’s only a pup. He’s six months old.”

“That dog is six months old?! He would have fooled me!”

It occurs to me that many people take Bentley for a full-grown dog, when he actually has the disposition of a puppy—all that energy, not a great frame of reference, full speed as the sole speed, and unaware of his effect on people. Yet many people I see in professional services are very similar.

People see them as adults but they act like puppies.

A couple of days ago I critiqued a proposal with seven errors on the first page. That’s not easy to do if you’re paying attention. But “their” and “they’re” are two different constructions, and commas go inside quotation marks in American English.

I watch consultants throw themselves headlong into situations with no perspective, too much speed, and a lack of self-awareness. They talk too much, don’t follow up, try to impose their own methodology rather than discern client need, and have little awareness of their actions—dumb messages on their voice mail; using a knife like a dagger at lunch; dressing poorly; intimidated by the buyer.

If you don’t know proper grammar or which fork to use, that can be remediated. Those are simply skills to learn. But if you don’t ever bother to find out or don’t care to improve, those are reactions and behaviors which are immature and undisciplined.

Are people expecting an adult from all appearances, but forced to deal with a puppy? If so, expect to be sent out to the yard.

We know, in about six months, Bentley WILL be acting like a young adult. How about you?

© Alan Weiss 2013

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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DASM: Shell Game

Dumb-ass, stupid management: I would advise all of you, in a competitive market, not to use Shell gasoline or credit services.

I’ve been a Shell customer since 1986—it says so right on my credit card. My credit limit has never been changed by Shell. It’s about $600. Every month for over a quarter century, I’ve paid my bill in full.

Today, I have two vehicles that cost about $100 each to fill, and a third that costs about $80. In addition, my son has a card on my account to use in LA, where you can only get around by car. So in a month, it’s easy to sometimes exceed the $600. Here’s what Shell does: They suspend my account. They also send me warning letters when my card is used in LA, even though they’ve known for years my son lives there and charges gas there.

I wrote the CEO letters of complaint, asking that my credit limit be raised and that they acknowledge the California charges are not reason to call me and demand my approval. They simply  sent me advice to call customer service—which takes very long to reach and after you do, they don’t choose to help you. “Not my department. I’ll have to transfer you.” Really rude people.

Finally, two days ago, a genuine moron calls to tell me they’ve been trying to reach me. Since they don’t have my social security number on file (it wasn’t required all those years ago), they need it to apply for credit scores to evaluate whether my limit can be raised. They wouldn’t take it over the phone, the wanted validation from the social security administration! When I asked if there were an easier way, they said they’d accept a photo copy of a passport. When I asked if they would send a form or email verifying and confirming the request with the fax number, the guy says he will not, they don’t send things like that to customers, I’d have to take down the fax number on the phone and then send them a copy of my social security number and passport!

I told him to cancel my accounts. He said, “I’d be happy to do so.” That is verbatim.

In a world of increasing idiocy among frightened and cowardly credit card and bank operations, this is an especial standout for dumb-ass, stupid management. These guys actually drill wells, find gas, and process it without blowing themselves to smithereens? Hard to believe.

So, to the Chief Moronic Officer of Shell Gas: We don’t need you. You need us. Have someone read this to you.

© Alan Weiss 2013

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The Writing on the Wall Episode 79: Get Your Head in the Game

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Acting Studio

The JW Studio
7456 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90046
(310) 659-9565
About the JW Studio
The JW Studio is an actor training studio of the highest caliber. Under the direction of Jason Weiss, the Studio is an innovative environment where professional actors hone their craft, develop their skills, and reach the highest levels of individual success. Through advanced scene work and intense personal exercises, actors at the JW Studio expand their own personal boundaries and forge new levels of excellence.
What we do
Drawing upon the techniques of the great early century teachers as well as contemporary masters, Jason Weiss teaches an amalgamated style that is focused on identifying the strengths of each individual student. Acting is a highly personal art form and the goal of the JW Studio is to help each student develop his or her own unique style.
By combining scene study with personal exercises, actors are able to find a first-hand connection with their characters and thereby bring a deeper sense of truthfulness and sophistication to their work. The classes are designed to help actors bridge the gap among all acting disciplines: film, TV, theatre, voice-over, commercial, and auditioning. The business of acting and auditioning technique is covered at great length on a week-to-week basis and it is not uncommon for special industry guests to stop by to offer their experienced opinions.
The JW Studio is a place for serious actors to call their home. It is where they can explore their specific strengths, weaknesses, triumphs, and fears in the safe environment of the classroom. As a result, JW Studio actors are able to find and identify their individual type, leading to more accurate branding and superb marketability.
Free information session
Our next information session will be held at the Studio on Wednesday, April 5th from 1-2 pm. Attendees will be given detailed information about the JW Studio and will receive a free 30-minute coaching session to be scheduled at their convenience. In addition to this, all attendees who schedule an audition for the Studio will be upgraded to a one-hour coaching session.
Learn how The JW Studio can help you advance your career to new levels of excellence. Please RSVP to secure a spot at the free information session. You can e-mail the studio at or call the studio at (310) 659-9565.
The JW Studio is a division of Dog House Films, LLC and admission into the studio is by audition only. Classes are held at the Zephyr Theatre, located at 7456 Melrose Ave.
Jason Weiss
Jason Weiss founded the JW Studio in 2005 at the famed 29th Street Rep. Theatre Company in New York City. Jason has been on the faculty of the University of Florida, UCLA, Theatre of Arts and the T. Schreiber Studio. He has been a guest lecturer at University of Miami, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, SUNY Purchase and American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Jason holds an MFA degree from the University of Florida and a BFA degree from the University of Miami. He spent over 10 years studying with Terry Schreiber, William Esper, and Michael Howard. His current and past students can be seen on most networks, in feature films, and in theatres all over the country. Jason is the CEO of Dog House Films, a film and TV production company with multipile projects in development. He is also a producer at The Blank Theatre where he is the Artistic Director of the Young Playwrights Festival.
The JW Studio
7456 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90046
(310) 659-9565
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Guest Column: Embracing Your Past to Succeed

To Succeed in Consulting, Embrace Your Past

By Dorie Clark

The following post is adapted from Dorie Clark’s new book from Harvard Business Review Press, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future. She is a graduate of the Million Dollar Consulting® College.

Most of us don’t start out as independent consultants. Maybe we worked for a larger firm, or began our careers in another industry altogether. So when it comes time to launch our practices, it can be hard to know how to position ourselves – and feel confident enough to do so.

My new book, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, focuses on the question of how professionals can “reinvent” themselves, whether it’s a big change (starting your own business, changing careers) or a smaller one (ensuring others recognize your leadership potential so you can move up in your company). What I learned through my research is that “owning your narrative” and seeing your past as a strength is one of the most important ingredients of success.

One of the “reinventers” I profile is Libby Wagner, now a successful consultant and member of the Mentor Hall of Fame, who began her career as a poet and creative writing professor. When she started her consulting business, says Libby, “ I didn’t want anyone to know I was a poet. I had a lot of tapes going in my head. The economists I had worked with had really talked down to me, and people in business certainly weren’t interested in what I did. I was so afraid. In the very beginning, I thought I should try to go to Harvard and get an MBA.” But she held off and decided to try without it.

Soon, she realized that her clients weren’t asking about her credentials: “When they see that what I do actually works, then nobody cares. Nobody has ever asked me if I have an MBA, ever.” In fact, she says, “I think my not having an MBA gives me an advantage; I can ask all the ‘new girl’ questions and it makes them step out of their paradigm for a little while to see if what they’re doing is working for them.”

And it turns out the very skills she honed as a poet were the ones most relevant in her consulting. “The way I see the world is very language-driven,” she says. “I’m going to be listening for nuances and connections and patterns. That’s the way I look at the world and I take that to any interaction with the client, so I’ve learned to ask really good questions.”

Today, Libby has consulted for Fortune 500 clients including Boeing and Nike – and she’s christened her monthly e-newsletter The Boardroom Poet. The secret to embracing her own narrative from poet to consultant was understanding the value she could bring to her clients. As she wrote in a recent essay, “…my clients want results. They want to know that the money, time and effort they are going to invest will give them what they want: higher profits, more engaged workplaces, less stress, success in their endeavors. I can do this, exactly as I am…When I show up as a poet, entrepreneur, and ordinary smart person, I can then help others be who they need to be, too.”

Early on, it’s tempting to want to paper over our differences and present ourselves in the image of what we think a “perfect consultant” should be. But it serves us far better in the long run to understand our unique strengths, and leverage them – as only we can – to help our clients.

Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and the author of the newly released Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013). She is a strategy consultant and speaker who has worked with clients including Google, Yale University, and the World Bank. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Listen to her podcasts or follow her on Twitter.

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New Book by Shawn Kent Hayashi

Shawn is in my Super Coaching Program, and this is her latest book:


Publicity Contact:

Ann Pryor, Senior Publicity Manager



Engage Your Team, Your Manager, and Your Peers to Take Action

By Shawn Kent Hayashi

Global expert Shawn Kent Hayashi has helped people in every kind of industry view others as resources and not roadblocks. Her research has revealed secrets that will enable you to stop living with necessary evils and turn your workplace into a field of opportunity.

The third volume in Shawn Kent Hayashi’s “Conversations” Series helps business professionals at any level use effective communication to move themselves—and others—toward positive, clearly defined goals.

“Business is a conversation focused on getting results.”

Professional development expert Shawn Kent Hayashi connects the power of the spoken word and its influence and impact to professional success and profits- creating bonds, inspiration, understanding, and helping companies and their employees function maximally.

In her previous books, executive coach and professional development expert Shawn Kent Hayashi identified the various types of conversations that are vital for growth and success.

Now, in Conversations That Get Results and Inspire Collaboration (McGraw-Hill Professional; April, 2013; Paperback, $18.00) she answers the questions she is most frequently asked during coaching and training sessions:

  • What can I do to engage people collaboratively?
  • How can I ensure I have a positive impact?
  • How do I get my point across so that others hear me?
  • How do I ensure I meet the needs of my audience, so we can move projects forward?
  • What can I do to turn things around and get back on track when things aren’t going the way I had hoped they would?

Hayashi has included five business case studies that illustrate business managers and leaders successfully engaged their managers, peers, and employees to take the next actions to build momentum toward success.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shawn Kent Hayashi is the best-selling author of Conversations for Creating Star Performers and Conversations for Change™.  She is also is a consultant, executive coach, and founder of The Professional Development Group.  An expert in developing star performers and high-performing teams globally, Shawn facilitates growth in leadership ability, emotional intelligence, communication skills, stronger relationships and teams, and effective presentations.  She guides leaders to achieve positive, lasting changes in behavior—for themselves, their people and their teams.

A Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach, Hayashi earned an M.S. in Organization Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania. Shawn is the Executive in Residence for the Lehigh University MBA program.

Her methods and advisory projects have been featured in The New York Times, Chief Learning Officer,, and, among many other national and international media outlets.  Her impressive client list includes American Express, GE, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Sony, and other Fortune 500 companies.

For more information, visit:


April, 2013; Paperback, $18.00.  MHID: 0071805931; ISBN: 9780071805933.

For artwork, interviews, excerpts, or more information, contact:

Ann Pryor, Senior Publicity Manager



Shawn Kent Hayashi


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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 3/25/13

March 25, 2013—Issue #183

This week’s focus point: In my coaching program, we keep a journal of every session so that the client and I can both trace progress. On we can easily see when various threads were originated. Some people make rapid progress, others are asking the same questions and sighing the same sighs months later. We will be the exact same person we are today in five years, EXCEPT for the choices we make in the interim. We are not living a Calvinistic predestination in my opinion, but rather a life filled with alternatives, choices, options, and new roads. I’ve found, unsurprisingly, that most people who feel “trapped” and unable to change actually make no choices involving change. For a refreshingly different perspective, you may want to visit this post on my blog: What will you change to improve your life this week?

Monday Morning Perspective: No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character. — Robespierre

My Super Coaching Program:

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:
ISSN 2151-0091

© Alan Weiss 2013. All rights reserved

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USS Forrestal

While redecorating my library I came across a model kit I must have had for 15 years without realizing it. So over the past two months I put it time now and then on building the Forrestal. This was the lead ship in its class (Saratoga, Ranger, Independence). It was the first carrier built specifically for jet aircraft, the largest in history at her launch. She was active from 1955 to 1993, and was berthed here in Newport for a while prior to heading for Philadelphia and the mothball fleet.

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Keep Your Eye On The Ball

I was reading where Wayne Gretzky claimed he was successful because he skated to where he thought the puck would be, not where it was. In warfare, people firing at planes from the ground were taught to “lead” the plane and fire ahead of its path. Quarterbacks throw the ball so as to “lead” the receiver in many cases.

I had Bentley out for his daily fetch practice, and I decided to try something new. I noticed that he began to run as soon as I cocked my arm, assuming the direction given my stance, and expecting to pick up the path of the ball when it bounced ahead of him. If I threw in a different direction, he couldn’t immediately tell, and had to slam on the breaks when nothing appeared in front of him.

However, if I threw it up in the air so that it bounced BEHIND him, he wouldn’t hear it on the grass, and also had to stop when nothing appeared ahead of him.

Now, I’m not here to argue with Gretzky, Tom Brady, or anyone trying to shoot at me, but I will share this observation: Too often we assume the flight of the ball. The trajectory isn’t always perfect. A rock can create a bad bounce, another person can choose a different turn unexpectedly, winds and debris can interfere. (I once saw a baseball hit a flying pigeon in the outfield and fall to the ground as a hit. The pigeon’s own trajectory was fatally interrupted by an event it couldn’t anticipate.)

We often assume a future probability incorrectly, because we’re distrait, not paying attention, preoccupied. The flight of the ball—the client, prospect, objective, goal, intention—isn’t always pure and perfect. We have to pay attention.

Gretzky and Brady are huge exceptions, which is why they stand out. Bentley has begun looking up. We can all learn.

© Alan Weiss 2013

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Posted in Consulting Philosophy, Personal Improvement | 4 Comments