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- Stop analyzing, talking, and conceptualizing, and start doing. Forget "measure twice, cut once," the mantra of some insecure tailor. You can always make mid-course corrections.
- If you are traveling in Europe, especially in train stations or places without strict security, never let your bags out of your sight, even if a polite person asks for directions. The economy seems to be forcing more people into theft than ever before.
- With big screen TV, advanced sound, and an incredible choice of entertainment sources, I'm not sure what the point of going to the movies is any more, especially with people using their cell phones or—bizarrely—talking to the characters on the screen.
- With a formal place setting at a meal, you work from the outside to the inside in terms of using the correct silverware. Your bread dish is on your left, water and wine glasses on your right.
- If you want to position yourself as a peer, don't say, "I'm interviewing…" Instead say, "I'm having a conversation with…."
- Please don't send me letters, but I wonder if we looked at ADD as a manifestation of boredom and not a disease whether the people we believe suffer from it would be far better served (and less medicated).
- You need to begin believing that anything you say on a phone, write in text or email, or anywhere you visit on the internet may be found, shared, and used at some point, some day. Privacy, such as we used to define it, doesn't exist any more.
- Whether diets, sales results, organization, or staying in shape, the key distinction is discipline. It's not something that most people have in abundance.
- I love dogs, but I would never try to pet a dog I don't know until it had a good chance to sniff me and show its intentions. I pretty much feel the same way about business prospects.
- Don't look now, but the economy is better than pre-recession and poised to really take off. I realize there are some still hurting, but there are very good times ahead.
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Why do some people become so outraged when they hear an opinion (or learn of a fact) contrary to their own views? Mature people seem to take this in stride and make up their own minds, privately. But there are some who feel compelled to shout their demurrals from the belfry.
I think this is indicative of massive insecurity. You find people on Twitter, for example, who rarely if ever post anything of worth but who assiduously follow popular people for the purpose of pointing out the exception. You may have a point that's true 99 percent of the time, but they take umbrage that you've ignored the other one percent.
Insecure people create their own fictional universe which is meant to protect them and be defended at all costs. Some of the Loch Ness Monster crowd (conspiracy theorists are among the all-time insecure, and I can just see them camped outside Area 51 trying to get a peak at alien prisoners) insist that the admission by the guy who faked the creature's photos was really a "setup" by the authorities.
Thus, I believe that the obsession with finding fault with others whose opinions are not congruent with yours is true paranoia. You can't allow something that is inconsistent with your fantasy universe to exist because it's a threat.
What if the UN isn't trying to take over the world? What if fluoride is harmless? What is taking your photograph doesn't steal your soul? What if John Kennedy was shot by a lone, crazed gunman? What if "politics" didn't get you fired from three jobs, but rather your own ineptitude or refusal to take direction? What if the people who hold different views from your own aren't evil? What if they're right?
Intelligent, confident, mature people—and I include true thought leaders, especially—change their minds. They listen to others, evaluate alternative approaches and constantly evolve. I've been fond of stating the following truth for years: I'm constantly surprised at how stupid I was two weeks ago. Other opinions may be startling, or boring, or complex, or biased, but they aren't threatening. Once you allow yourself to be threatened, all the emotional shields descend and reason is exiled.
I hope this hasn't outraged any of you.
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The human condition: Complexifying
I believe that outstanding consultants make the complex simple. That's a lot more difficult than you'd suspect, which is why only the outstanding can do it.
We tend to vest complexity with sophistication, value, and importance. A few things require complexity not for its own sake, but because of convoluted interrelationships: the Mars lander, neurosurgery, undersea oil exploration, Quentin Tarantino movies. But complexity for its own sake is ludicrous, as Rube Goldberg depicted in brilliant cartoons over decades (Google him).
Great cooking, or painting, or teaching, or playing shortstop isn't terribly complex. Those pursuits may not be easy, of course, but they are fairly simple to understand. I saw The David recently in Firenze, about which Michelangelo famously explained, "I simply chipped away anything that didn't look like David." Pretty simple.
So why do we "complexify" our days? I just read of a guy who purchased software with 20 options to make screen shots on his computer, when the keyboard allows you to do that at any time with three keys in two seconds. Some people go around the block to get next door. I had to make four decisions in Starbucks yesterday just to get a pretzel. That's not sophisticated, that's laughable.
Part of being overly complex is the seeking of unnecessary perfection in the place of pragmatic success. But part of it is an often unspoken belief that the simple is somehow unintelligent, or primitive, or embarrassing. That's an overly complex view.
Leaders, for example, are not paid to take action. They are paid to get results. Sometimes—many times—that means doing absolutely nothing. Managing by exception is far superior to hovering and micro-managing. Have you ever observed an athletic coach who over-managed, and thereby lost the game? Too many people are "losing the game" by making things too complex on the poor assumption that if it's simple, it can't be effective.
Remember Occam's Razor: The easiest answer is usually the best. I could tell you more, but let's keep this simple.
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The book is schedule for release around August 15. Take advantage of an early discount.
I have selected openings in the Super Coaching Program (KAATN: Kick Ass and Take Names)
I've helped people: obtain six-figure contracts, make major media appearances, gain meetings with top people (some nationally known), have proposals closed, start new businesses, gain greater visibility, build self-worth, obtain book contracts, create new brands, improve their web sites and blogs, and so on. The original group's nine months is about to end, so there are a few openings.
Five minutes every week starting June 5, no matter where I am in the world, providing insights into opportunities around us for our lives, relationships, and professions. You're still in time for the first edition! An excellent companion to Alan's Common Sense Consulting® Weekly Video. Sign up and see a sample:
New York City
October 10, 2013
9 am to 4 pm
Venue to be announced, midtown
My analysis is that the "conversion rate" among consultants is far too low. That is, when you are successful finding and meeting the true, economic buyer, the potential business slips away like water in a sieve. In Lasting Impressions, we will use extensive role plays (every single person who volunteers and most who don't) and examples of the language, behavior, demeanor, and nuances that will create lasting, positive, impressions.
I've had to add another due to demand, and it's a third filled already! Join the 220 elite people who have participated in this unique program that has been offered in Newport, Boston, London, and Sydney. Everything you need to begin a business or dramatically grow an existing business, from marketing to delivery. There is no other offering like this in the world.
Sept. 11, 2013, 10-11:30
In this unprecedented live streaming event, I will play the role of a consultant with a buyer (who will be played by Suzanne Bates, a globally-recognized expert and author on communications, with scores of CEO clients). In the first role play, I'll portray an "average" consultant, and the conversation, questions and results will reflect that. In the second role play, I'll portray an excellent consultant who pursues the true value and results of the project, and produces a more effective proposal for the client and the consultant.
Sept. 17, 2013
Kiawah, Island, SC
I'm going to be tackling a new but vital topic: How to manage your money, because it's not what you make, it's what you keep. I'll be discussing how to use or not use debt; how to pay your bills most efficiently; how to vary your salary and use external sources (bookkeeper, financial advisor, tax experts); how to bill clients and ensure payment; how to pay yourself first; how to create credit with your bank; how to maximize retirement savings; how to be dollar/euro/pound-wise, and not penny/farthing/sou-foolish. And of course, I'll touch on how to charge $125,000 instead of $25,000 for the same value.
How's that for something different? The investment is $750, $650 before June 15.
THE GAME CHANGER FOR MANY OF YOU:
October 21-35, The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL
In the all-new Fundamentals Experience, Oct. 21-22, you'll learn how to formulate, nurture, and consistently create the IP which leads to thought leadership. MY SPECIAL GUEST IS RANDY GAGE, the global thought leader in prosperity and abundance-thinking whom you would otherwise never hear in a small group.
Oct. 23-25 is the Thought Leadership Graduate Experience, focusing on leveraging prior participants' success and solidifying thought leadership. MY SPECIAL GUEST IS DAN PINK, author of "Drive" and other best-sellers, who will chat interactively about gaining and sustaining thought leadership. Both Randy and Dan will be at some of our meals for more informal talk.
There is no place else in the world to experience a week like this in your development and success track. ONLY ONE SEAT remains in the Graduate Experience. Can you afford NOT to attend? If you attend the first two days you are qualified to attend the next three if you so choose.
Work with the strategic technological genius, Chad Barr, Master Mentor and Mentor Hall of Fame member, who is behind all of my web activity (and co-author with me of Million Dollar Web Presence). His team will create "instant" intellectual property from your material and place it in a variety of forms on the Internet on a continuing basis.
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I was closing an agreement in the buyer's office with two of his subordinates present, and was feeling very good about myself. I wanted to get things moving.
Buyer: We want to begin as soon as possible. Can you begin in two working weeks?
Me: I can begin sooner, in ten days.
Buyer, after a short pause: That IS two working weeks.
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One-to-four people participate in a rigorous two days of promotional "mayhem," in which we create assertive and powerful approaches to mold thought leaders, "go to" people, interviewing targets, and objects of interest. The second course is now completed, and we ensure compatibility by vetting applicants. Nothing else like this if you seek to "rise above the noise." One to four people, scheduled at mutual convenience. The third one has recently been formed.
Opinions, as such, are fine, since we can accept or reject them. But when they put on clothes to masquerade as fact, they become unwelcome intruders.—Alan Weiss