1. In any times, but especially these, stop whining and find out how to get things done. Believe it or not, there is no one hiding around the corner conspiring against you. The solution is generally within your grasp. I love it when people write me and open with, “Your download doesn’t work,” or, “You’ve neglected to send what you promised,” when they actually failed to follow the download instructions or my email wound up in their overly zealous spam filter. My favorite: “You didn’t send the download within 48 hours, please do so immediately.” The problem was that the teleconference is still four weeks away, but she wanted the download within 48 hours of registering! I was supposed to shift time for her!
2. Remember that you influence change by appealing to the other person’s self-interest. If your starting point is that YOU have a great technique, or YOU need a favor, or YOU expect their support, then YOU have a big problem. What’s in it for them? If you find that out and begin with it, you’ll get their attention: “How would you like to decrease the costs of acquisition?” Recently, a consultant who had never written a book and has a “great” idea on his “specialty of the future” asked if I’d co-author a book with him on a subject I have zero passion for. Of course, he wanted my brand and my name on the book. He was irritated when I asked what was in it for me. That should have been his first thought before writing.
3. Outstanding problem solvers always ask this question: “Has this process (or procedure or initiative, etc.) ever been done to this standard anywhere, at any time?” If so, then that’s telling evidence that you can achieve it. If not, the standard may be incorrect. (“Day-one deviations are problems that began from inception and the performance has never hit the expectation.) Keeping that in mind, there are thousands of consultants doing very, very well in this economy in your areas of expertise. Consequently, it can be done. If you’re not doing well, why aren’t you doing better? It’s not an issue with the environment, the issue is with you.
4. Everyone laughs about the bromide of doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting different results. Yet many people quoting it are in the midst of the act. If you are not investing time, energy, focus, and money on developing yourself to master changing and complex times, how do you expect to ever do better? Doctors constantly take advantage of learning best practices in medicine and in their specialty. (Apparently, they’ve now learned to wash their hands.) What are you doing to master the best practices in marketing and delivery in this profession? Hint: If you have not substantially decreased your labor intensity in areas of your expertise over the past few years, you’re working in isolation and inefficiently.
What’s your attitude for consulting success? Are you following the same advice you’re providing for your coaching and consulting clients? Or are you advising them to do as you say and not as you do?
© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.