Problem Solved

You can’t remove a problem unless you remove the cause. You can choose to live with the  effects and try to ameliorate them (adaptive action—a bucket under the leak) but you can’t correct it without eliminating the cause (fix hole in the roof—corrective action). If you know the cause of your discomfort or problem, then you no longer have a problem. You have a decision to make as to how to deal with it—remove it or live with it. (Every …


Decision Indecision

Don’t try to help a client with an alternative unless you know the client’s objective. That is, don’t help to chart a course without knowing the destination. Should a management retreat be on site or off site, one day or two days? Who knows? What’s the objective of the retreat? (Maybe it’s the wrong solution altogether.) Don’t launch an alternative even if you do know the objective without considering risk. There is always some amount of risk, albeit it minor …


Let’s All Jump To Cause

Problem solving is a key skill in a consultant’s tool kit, especially because so many people “jump to cause.” This means they assume a cause, given their biases or ignorance, instead of analytically determining cause and validating it. You can’t remove or prevent a problem without knowing its cause. This “jump to cause” could be a bias made evident: “Well, what do you expect from a woman?” It could be a political agenda: “That’s a typical screwup from R&D.” It …


The “Why” Is Often Obvious But Missed

Bentley loves to run up and down the yard at full speed every morning. He does it maybe a dozen times. I tried to figure out if he were trying to beat squirrels out of hiding places, or get a quick view of everything, or playing alpha dog. Then I finally go it. He just likes to run. I was being too “deep” about a simple, surface phenomenon. In my high school days, as an exchange student, I toured Cold …


Why People Don’t Move

1. They listen to the wrong people (like the nutcase on Facebook claiming that milk kills). There are more people giving advice to coaches today than there are good coaches. 2. Complexifying. Our job is to simplify, but we think that making things tediously complex adds to our gravitas. It creates gravity, not gravitas. 3. Seeking perfection. This murders excellence (even more than milk), and it saps initiative and speed. 4. Fear of critique. I have news for you, the …


Wrestlemania

I’ve found that excellent, successful people are uniformly able to listen to a new idea, analyze it for applicability in their circumstances, and use it, modify it, or abandon it. They don’t feel the need to disagree publicly or otherwise make a fuss. They have more important things to do and realize the idea may be entirely appropriate for others. However, there are many people who see a new idea as an intruder on their small island. They set traps …


The Consultant Uncalculator

People ask why I spend time on Twitter and Linkedin and Facebook. It’s largely because if I’m going to critique social media platforms, I need to be a part of them and involved from the inside. (I also find that the Twitter discipline of posting three items of value daily in 50 characters or less, allowing for “retweeting,” is quite useful.) Today on Linkedin I saw one of the phony experts from a mile away. He claims to have trained …


You’re not going to be successful if you fixate solely on how to make as much money as possible. Money is simply a means to an end, and there’s no passion—except for the obsessed few who simply crave more and more cash—around money. Trying to find a way to make a lot of money and then attempting to be passionate about it seldom works. Find your passion—what you love doing and what you’re great at doing. Then figure out how …


There’s A Sommelier in My Wine!

My wife and I were dining at Toppers, the very high-end restaurant at the Wauwinet Inn on Nantucket, as we have been doing for over 20 years every summer. On this particular evening, I ordered a very nice Meursault. The opening and tasting ritual was successful, and we were enjoying the wine when I noticed the sommelier fussing around with the decanter nearby. She soon returned to tell me that she was not happy enough with the wine, and was …


When Do Most People Want To Buy Coffee?

If you owned a coffee shop, would you open for business at noon? If you owned a car dealership, would you locate it ten miles down a dirt road? If you wanted to sell surfboards would you open a shop in Aspen? If you’re a consultant, why would you be humble in terms of what you can accomplish for people? Why would you spend time fooling yourself that you’re “marketing” on social media when corporate  buyers rely on peer-level referrals …