Barking Up the Wrong Tree

(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)

Buddy Beagle was barking (that nutty howl/bark that only Beagles do) at the base of a huge tree in the backyard, staring up into the branches. A few yards away, Koufax was silently staring at a low branch in an adjoining tree, where the squirrel Buddy had originally seen had scampered over for refuge. Apparently, Koufax was hoping for a strong wind, or a misstep, or simply trying to stare the rodent into cardiac arrest.

Buddy was barking up the wrong tree.

I watch a great many consultants bark up the wrong trees:
• They listen to people at professional meetings who either have no track record of success themselves, or have some self-serving reason for pontificating.
• They deal with low level, non-threatening, non-helpful functionaries within prospect organizations..
• They continue to try to perfect their methodologies while their marketing relegates them to the “unknown” category, off all radar screens. They seem blind to the fact that this is a marketing and relationship business.
• They avoid real buyers because they fear rejection (or, worse, don’t know how to act as a peer).
• They think time is important and bill by the hour or day. They actually listen to unsuccessful people who claim that time-based billing is the only way to conduct business.
• They think in terms of “deliverables” and not outcomes.
• They don’t read, don’t develop themselves, and have a single “solution” to every prospect’s problems. They aren’t objects of interest or centers of expertise. In fact, they are dull.

There are significant risks in the entrepreneurial world, and if you choose to accept them, then you should be entitled to the potential of the exceptional rewards. But too many people would rather play it safe than play the game. They would rather listen to people who rationalize their own lack of success than listen to those who can help change behaviors to create success.

Buddy eventually looked over at Koufax, looked up, sniffed, and joined the German Shepherd in sentry duty under the right tree, until the squirrel left. The dogs seemed satisfied, because the yard was rid of the squirrel, and they knew that dinner would be available as always in the kitchen later on.

If Beagles can learn from bigger and smarter dogs, so can you.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “Barking Up the Wrong Tree

  1. Nice. I enjoyed this, Alan, and you’re right… It’s so easy to get caught up in doing what everyone else is doing, what everyone expects, and what’s seemingly “easy” or “common sense”. We all-to-often fail to make ourselves truly valuable.

    I think we all could benefit from learning from the “Big Dogs” a bit more. Do you have other information, or could you recommend any sources, on outcome-based billing? I think there are a lot of consultants that could benefit from that knowledge.


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