The Fault Is NOT In Our Stars

That horrible Amtrak accident, with excessive speed, was almost certainly caused by human error. While I haven’t seen the cause of the Atlanta Airport fire, placing the backup system activation so close to the primary—thereby enabling one event to wreck both of them—was clearly human error. Most of the problems you’ll find in you clients involve human error, either in judgment or performance (attitude or skills). Stop redesigning processes that already work well, and focus on people who are making …


“This Survey Should Only Take About 20 Minutes and We’ll Put You In A Raffle”

Almost every survey I receive I ignore, because they are too long, try to serve too many objectives, and are basically asking me for a favor. I tend to respond when I’m just asked a few questions and I can qualitatively respond, not check someone else’s metrics (boxes). The reward for using my time can’t be some raffle that I’ll never win and I have no proof will even take place. Here’s a good survey: “What did we do best, …


If I Only Had A Brain….

The New York Giants football team, in a horrible slump, has benched Eli Manning, the quarterback, who has previously won two Super Bowls. The Cleveland Browns, who are zero for the 21st Century, keep juggling their lineups and coaches. Does it occur to anyone that long-term problems are the result of poor decisions made by the general management and owners? GE recently forced out their CEO before his tenure would have been up because they were unhappy with performance. They …


Light and Darkness

We have thousands of trees on our property. Some soar toward the sky. Others are stunted by those around them, which block the light. They stay small or they die. Move out of the shadows. Grow toward the light. Remove whatever blocks the light. You are not, like a tree, rooted to your position unless you allow yourself to be. Are you looking to grow dynamically, or just be an involuntary home for squirrels and woodpeckers?


Trying Not to Lose Is Not the Same As Trying to Win

Here’s what happens when you try not to lose: • You readily make concessions. • You are not bold or provocative. • You become highly conservative. • You accept unfair treatment and conditions. • You become nervous and therefore that much more ineffective. Here’s what happens when you try to win: • You are assertive and take prudent risk. • You state your position and support it. • You will make reasonable but not unfair compromise. • You will stress …



Coaching 601

I’ve been coaching for a long time, and I have three immutable principles to guide me: I can’t help anyone who doesn’t want to be helped, and I don’t try. I give you my very best advice. Whether you accept it and act on it is a commentary on you, not me. If there are three options and I suggest the first, but you prefer the second and I think it will work, I will help you. But if you prefer a …


Making Time

If you can’t respond to an email within 24 hours or a phone call within four hours, there’s something profoundly wrong. You may think I’m talking about your response time, but I’m really referring to your philosophy about your business. This is the marketing business, not the delivery business. Without marketing, there will be no delivery. In 30 years of consulting, for Fortune 100 firms, non-profits, educational institutions, government, and closely-held businesses, I’ve never been so engrossed in my work …


The Prime Question

The title of this blog is “Contrarian Consulting.” Let me offer you the prime contrarian idea in this profession, which really shouldn’t be contrarian at all: First ask, “What is in the client’s self-interest?” The answer to that question should readily set your direction. It’s not any of these: “How can I make the most money?” “How can I protect myself?” “Which part of my methodology can fit in here?” “Where can I quickly get referrals?” If you think about …


Change and Retention

We can change things around us or retain them, from our residences to our friends, from our hobbies to our outlook. Those are choices. Yet we often allow retention to take place from shear inertia, and change to be foist upon  us by others. So we go to the same places with the same people out of habit, and we suddenly are forced to change when the client, government, weather, or our peers insist we do. Make conscious, reasoned, selfish …