Guest Column: Why Every Consultant Should Look For Conflict

Why Every Consultant Should Look For Conflict by Christian Muntean Conflict is a common part of our clients’ lives. Some of our clients relate to conflict well and have frequent, constructive conversations on difficult issues. But many don’t. Like most people, they’ve spent their entire lives experiencing conflict as a universally negative experience—one that leads to the end of a good opportunity, the end of a good relationship or a good experience. As consultants, many of us have the same …


Can You Move the Ball?

I played varsity basketball and ran varsity track in high school. Track practice was simple—I was a sprinter, so I would run a quarter mile for stamina and 30 yards for speed. Then the race itself was over in ten seconds. I was a terrific shooter in basketball, but I hated the practice. I never did learn to dribble with my opposite hand, so I could never be a starting guard. I was fast and could shoot, but I couldn’t …


Income Investment

We rent the same house at the Jersey Shore every year. Between the prior week’s tenants leaving and our arrival, the owners (who live here in another house) check everything out to make sure the cleaning crew has been thorough, everything is working correctly, and any repairs that need to be made are either done or scheduled. They make that ongoing investment of time and improvement in their income source. So we return annually, and never question any rent increases. …


It’s the Service Level, Stupid

I tried to place an $800 order yesterday on the website for TrainWorld in Brooklyn, where I’ve purchased trains in person before. The site hung up at the final pay option, repeatedly. I called and a bored woman told me to read me the order with catalog numbers and descriptions. I told her it would take 20 minutes, why not just find out what was wrong with the site? She put me on hold. When she returned, she told me …


I’m Almost Ashamed to Admit It, But…

  When I pet my dogs and they violently shake when I’m done, as though they have a haircut from Frédéric Fekkai that I’ve messed up, I take offense. The next time someone tells me a golfing story without inquiring as to whether I give a rap about the game, I’m going to yawn at the punch line. I would love to have a TSA job for one day to see what’s in a lot of that luggage. I have …


The Benefit of the Doubt

No one is perfect, and every organization will make mistakes. The key is not to try to achieve perfection, but to achieve such an excellent and trusting client relationship that you’re given the benefit of the doubt when there is an honest error. You’ve all received bills that were in error. Sometimes you say, “They’re trying to cheat me by padding the bill.” Sometimes you say, “They made an error, I’ll let them know.” How do your clients feel about …


Get Paid

Your customers’ problems are not your problems. Too many consultants who work with small businesses allow their buyers to delay payments because of poor cash flow or other issues they’ve brought on themselves. Once you do that, you’re at the bottom of the priority pile and you may never be paid. The gas company, the mortgage people, the venders who insist on being paid will be paid. Those who aren’t demanding won’t be. You have a legal contract. You’re not …



As Long As You’re In Town…

Find a convention or conference that attracts your ideal buyers. Invite those people most appropriate to a breakfast, or drinks, or an informal dinner. Don’t associate it with the conference, since that often irritates organizers. Don’t use a conference site meeting room.  Use a nearby hotel or book your own large suite. The idea is, “While you’re in town, would you like to get together informally with a dozen of your peers, exchange ideas, and hear about the latest best …


What Are You Thinking?

Major league baseball players often place weights on their bats while in the “on deck” circle preparing to go to bat. The philosophy is that the bat will be lighter without the weights, therefore their swing will be faster and better able to hit a fastball. Data analysis showed that there is zero correlation between those using weights and those not using weights in terms of hitting effectiveness, and even those who sometimes use weights and sometimes do not, show …