That’s Just My Assertiveness Talking

I don’t believe humility is the road to success in consulting. Nor do I believe belligerence is the route.

I do believe an assertive self-confidence wins the day. We have to be able to challenge our buyers’ viewpoints, provide new ideas, provoke new thinking, create innovative approaches. Our role is not to join the ranks of the omnipresent “yes men,” but rather to create a breeze of fresh air.

I love the computer acronym WYSIWYG—what you see is what you get. In my initial meetings, the prospect understands who I am and, if he or she can relate to my style, we’re likely to be working together. If my style isn’t simpatico with the buyer’s, then I’d just as soon learn that immediately, not after I’m hired and we’re both miserable.

Assert yourself. Buyers need people who can lead the way, not follow the leader.

© Alan Weiss 2013


4 thoughts on “That’s Just My Assertiveness Talking

  1. This seems to be an effective posture to strike, both for the benefit of the prospective client and the consultant. I think it’s possible to be both assertive and humble. The opposite of humble is arrogant. And assertive is different than arrogant.

  2. I don’t agree with the humble part. I don’t want a humble lawyer or designer or car dealer. I don’t know why anyone would want a humble consultant. This is a myth driven into people’s heads either by some kind of ingrained Puritanism or by inferior people who insist that humility is important because they have very little to be proud of. I think the clergy should be humble, but not my doctor.

  3. Seeking clarification on how you interpret humble.

    I interpret humble to incorporate the ability to admit when I am wrong or do not yet have the solution to a problem. Arrogant individuals cannot admit to either.

    Since you have, frequently, admitted your ignorance “two weeks ago” and how you’ve improved since that time, is that not a reflection of humility?

  4. You’re playing with sophistry. That’s an admission, factual if metaphoric. But it’s not humility and, besides, I’m talking in a business context. You seem determined to make some nuanced point. Humble doesn’t help in successful marketing. Period.

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