Sacrifice

I’m watching two once-in-a-lifetime events last night, Simone Biles win by two points, which is more than all the combined margins of victory since 1980 in the gymnastics all-around; and Michael Phelps, at 31, become the greatest swimming champion of all time, sometimes barely able to climb out of the pool. These people, and their talented colleagues, sacrificed sleep, social events, school traditions, foods, and assorted other never-to-be-reclaimed activities to become the best of the best and to gain their …



Prisoner of Platitude

Alan’s Fourth Law of Platitudes: For every supporting quotation there is an equal and opposite dissenting quotation. This applies to philosophy, theology, management, politics, sports—you name it. “Haste makes waste,” except, “a stitch in time saves nine.” “No man is an island,” but, “it’s good to stand out in a crowd.” “Measure twice, cut once,” but, “get there firstest with the mostest.” Use evidence, and stop relying on empty quotes that don’t apply to your situation. Even the law of …


The Hole in the Door

I returned from a trip many years ago, and found a gaping hole in the bedroom door, about two feet from the floor. “What happened here?!” I asked my wife. “Oh, Buck ran into the door.” Buck was our 56-pound Siberian Husky. “Where did you bury the dog?” I asked. “What are you talking about?,” she said, “he’s out in the yard.” “Did you see this happen?” “No, the kids told me about it.” “Get the kids in here.” I …


Lawn Maintenance

They dug about 50-yard trench on our property to replace ancient wiring leading to the pool and cabana. When they covered it, they seeded to hide the bare scar. From a distance, everything looks green. But when you get close you can see the inevitable weeds that have arisen. Business is often the same way. Leadership is so detached and isolated that they look at what appears to be a well running, smooth business. It’s only when they get up …


The View From Here

I’m in Newport this week conducting the Million Dollar Consulting® College. Each morning I awake to the beautiful view of the bay leading to the Atlantic. Some mornings it’s rough, some smooth as glass, but it’s always the same vista. If I expected the earth, sea, and sky to somehow change, I’d be daft. Your basic vista each morning is unchanging, in that you need to find clients by convincing prospective buyers of your value to them. That doesn’t change. …


My Son Is A PhD, Not the Kind of Doctor Who Helps People

The way the medical system is today, the traditional family doctor (now your “primary physician”) can’t do very much! The minor stuff is handled by a physician’s assistant, who is empowered to treat patients and write prescriptions, and the major stuff is referred to a bewildering number of specialists. In other words, the GP is capable of scaring you with a health issue, but not helping you to overcome it! Don’t let that be your fate as a consultant. Specialization …


Just the Facts, Ma’am

That’s what Jack Webb used to say on the famous police drama “Dragnet” as sergeant Joe Friday, who was just interested in the evidence, not opinion. The internet today provides access with great facility to billions of sources of information, opinion, rumor, and weirdness. When you’re trying to make a case for a position—whether for a client, a book, new IP—don’t merely seek sources favorable to your point of view. Seek knowledgable sources on the subject that also may change …