Take It Or Leave It

I’m told that Cisco takes 120 days—four months—to pay its venders and suppliers. Of course, there’s no sound reason for that except to maximize their cash flow by taking advantage of small businesses for whom cash flow is even more critical. But Cisco apparently isn’t interested in partnerships, just in being the 2,000-pound gorilla. There’s a word for that: bullying.



How Can They Do That?

When I was chair of the town planning board, we visited a cul-de-sac where a property owner was protesting a new subdivision that would create a road through the cul-de-sac. To make matters worse, he had chosen to build his house in that exact corner of his two acres. “I can’t help you,” I said. The town provides a right-of-way here for land to be developed beyond these woods, and your deed clearly stipulates that the right-of-way exists and can …


Swinging the Bat

I advised a coaching client to go see the editor of a major newspaper personally to pitch a story. He did, and his article was printed. I then told him to suggest a column. He did, and he now has a twice-a-month column in the business section of the most prestigious paper in the city. That will lead to speaking engagements which will lead to consulting assignments. If you try this, is it guaranteed to work? No. But if you …


I Can Name That Tune in Three Notes

Most clients CAN do what consultants propose themselves. That’s not the issue. The issue is: Should they do it themselves? The answer is usually “no” because: The project will take people away from their usual responsibilities; they tend to assign people who are not critical and therefore not top performers; there is political, cultural, and “turf” bias; no one is likely to tell the top executives that they share responsibility; they don’t possess best practices from other firms; it will …


Recency Bias

We’ve all seen clients unduly influenced by the last thing they heard—recency bias. I remember a consultant working with me in a Fortune 25 company saying this of our mutual buyer: “She’s off to another seminar, meaning she’s going to come back yet again with another reorganization and flavor of the month.” That’s easy enough to scoff in others, but I’ve heard consultants say that they’re going to launch an initiative to cold-call CEOs from home, or create training materials …


Why You?

Think of several distinctive features or experiences that make you remarkable to others, not subjective (I’m a good listener) but objective (I’ve consulted with seven of the top ten newspapers in the country). Have someone help you if you’re not terribly introspective. Then use those distinctive features in your promotional material. Have someone help you if you’re not terribly shameless.


Nesting Syndrome

Some of us build nests that are so comfortable we try never to leave them. Here are the conditions: Unconscious competency: We have insufficient self-awareness to realize what must be changed and/or improved. Allowing the continuance of what merely works and not trying to shake things up. Not offering new value to existing clients. Not soliciting referrals. “King of the Hill Phenomenon”: We’re never challenged by others. We become great at problem solving but fail to innovate. We don’t make …


Labor

Visiting the Acropolis, we learned that the machine used to lift vast marble blocks and columns worked on the exact same principles (double pulleys, swiveling base) that the modern one does in the restoration work. The only difference is manual labor vs. powered equipment. There isn’t a whole lot new under the sun, but there is the ability to accomplish results more quickly with less labor. How are you working? Like they did 3,000 years ago, or like you can …