Life is about output, not input. Start with what you want to create and then work backwards. Don’t simply start with what you have now.


Balancing Act®: The Newsletter

(No. 262, June 2021)

Balancing Act® is our registered trademark. You are encouraged to share the contents with others with appropriate attribution. Please use the ® whenever the phrase “Balancing Act” is used in connection with this newsletter or our workshops.

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Balancing Act® is in four sections this month:

  1. Techniques for Balance: Things to Come
  2. Musings
  3. The Human Condition: No Normal™


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Techniques For Balance

Things to Come (with apologies to H.G. Welles)

  • There will be no “return to normal” (see the column below), and “new normal” is an oxymoron.
  • We will have to reconsider threats in terms of probabilities and seriousness. The pandemic was far deadlier than a terrorist act.
  • We will get people back to work when we stop paying them not to work.
  • ALL sectors of the economy will probably grow dramatically. “Experts” talked of long recoveries for hospitality and travel, but they are coming back with a “roar.” (Las Vegas casinos are reporting pre-pandemic revenues.)
  • There will not be a “vaccine passport” domestically, and there will probably be legislation prohibiting discrimination against non-vaccinated people.
  • The major auto makers will shake up the electric car market. However the real challenge won’t be range but the ability to fully recharge the cars quickly. It only takes two minutes to fill a gas tank and usually there are enough pumps so there’s no waiting.
  • Smart people and businesses are going to accrue more cash because it was essential to success during the crisis.
  • The diet industry was at $60 billion last year, and the weight loss/exercise at $71 billion. And people will continue to get heavier and more out of shape. It’s hard to find an equal pursuit of so much spent with so little result.
  • New York City will come back very strong through the arts and tourism once De Blasio and Cuomo are out of office, the former for term limits, the latter for criminality.
  • More and more people will enter the entrepreneurial ranks because a) the want more control of their lives, and b) they’ve grown to appreciate working at home, no commutes, and family ties.

There are five different politicians who call me for money for their campaigns during the year. I don’t blame then and I like them, otherwise I wouldn’t be contributing money and they wouldn’t be calling me!

Before she became Secretary of Commerce, our former governor called me personally for money. I met Joe Biden at an event where I was asked for money to attend, in addition to the five above. I understand that it takes money to effectively campaign.

The problem, of course, is that those people giving money expect something in return, often quite disparate. Some might be as general and generous as better regulatory conditions for small business or better roads. Some are quite specific and often involve access. I have to admit that I’ve called upon some of these people not for personal advancement but to resolve a bureaucratic entanglement, such as the state providing fraudulent unemployment checks based on my business when, of course, we never applied for them.

Even back in high school, when I returned from Europe as an exchange student and met with the mayor to discuss my trip, he asked if he could help me in any way. I asked for a sought–after post office job, which paid the astronomical fee of $6 an hour. He sent me to take the civil service test, which I found impossibly difficult. I was told the next week that I had scored a perfect 100 and worked for the postal service over summers and during the Christmas holidays, which paid for a lot of my college tuition.

“Networking” is about finding people who can help us, and who we can help in return (I would hope). However, that access, whether with money or with attendance isn’t always available to everyone. At the least, I think we should provide every candidate with the same amount of money and let them win or lose on their talents and platform. And I think all of us should have equal access to try to make our particular case.

It shouldn’t be based on how much we give, nor being an exchange student.

The Human Condition

No Normal™

We are not returning to “normal,” and “the new normal” is an oxymoron. What we have to face is “no normal.”

I mean that we are in a world of turmoil, volatility, disruption, and ambiguity. We might as well understand that and get good at it! Some of the great companies (Disney, Revlon, Amazon, etc.) were formed during such times of recession, depression, health crisis, and warfare, as were some of the greatest innovative ideas and improvements.

Some of my predictions are above. We’re watching, ironically, movie theaters become obsolete as home entertainment options explode. While business travel and meetings will rebound as restrictions are lifted, they won’t rebound to pre–pandemic levels and remote meetings will be a major force. However, Las Vegas casinos are currently reporting pre–pandemic levels of revenue, which means that some activities are eternal (e.g., online gambling isn’t going to replace or dent casino attendance). Ironically, and acknowledging the law of unintended consequences, the casinos attribute a great deal of their immediate rebound to stimulus checks! (I recall when casinos first opened in Atlantic City and busloads of day–tripping seniors would arrive to spend their monthly social security payments.)

We are going to have to be agile, and not depend on routine as much. Life is not going to be like cross–country skiing where you glide along in ruts someone else has created for you (and which bores me to tears, anyway). It’s going to be more like downhill skiing, but on a different slope every day. You’re going to have to pay attention and use varying techniques. Failure to adjust may lead to a bad fall–or a smash into a tree.

I’ve trademarked the term “no normal” because I believe successful, energetic people (and their businesses) will have to adapt to that philosophy. Toyota (and other auto makers), the leaders in “Just in Time” assembly of components is now stocking (hoarding) raw materials to avoid future supply chain disruptions (as in the Suez Canal blockage). They are abandoning what worked for so long in favor of flexibility in the new realties.

Don’t expect ruts in the snow. Don’t expect “normal.” And don’t try to forge a “new normal” or you’ll just be sitting in the snow without any skis.

Only Read This if You Know Me Well

I visit a local, superb men’s store about three times a year and load up on clothing. I’m not a piece-by-piece shopper. My wife directs the proceedings and I’m in a cyclonic condition of dressing room changes, selection of styles, approval of colors, and the tailor’s alterations. Two days ago, this triannual event occurred, and at one point I tried on a pair of jeans that fit me perfectly. “Tony,” I said, “I don’t even think these need altering.”

“No,” he admitted, “because I did such a good job last time. These are the jeans you walked in with.”

“Are you sure?”

“Well, it has a belt and your wallet is in the back pocket.”

Development Opportunities

Emergent Development Opportunities for the No Normal

That's not a light at the end of the tunnel, we’re out of the tunnel.

A menu of opportunities to improve and dramatically grow your business and enhance your life. Certainly, one or more of these experiences are relevant for you.

Lessons from the End of the World

Lessons from the End of the Worlds

The pandemic of 2020 was devastating for some and bad for all. Human beings the world over spent a year and a half longing to “get back” to the lives they once lived. But backward is never the right direction to move in life. Some parts of our old lives are well worth recovering and rediscovering, but others should be replaced and re-invented.

Which parts are which? That’s what Alan Weiss, “the rock star of consulting” and author of this year’s Your Legacy Is Now, will discuss with Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, author of the bestseller Stumbling on Happiness and host of the PBS television series “This Emotional Life.” There will be a 45–minute lively discussion followed by an optional 45 minutes of audience Q&A.

Master Class

The Master Class

A 2.5–day “PhD” in professional services and entrepreneurialism. We’ll  discuss new markets, remote best practices, concierge trusted advisors, scaling your business, client evangelism, and much, much more. At a world–class property, Castle Hill Inn in Newport, RI, Nov. 2–4. Maximum 16 people, one seat remains. Fee ($14,500) includes lodging and meals.

BSL: Business As A Second Language

The Fishbowl

Watch me coach two individuals, each for 30 minutes, in real time (or you may watch the recording). Afterwards, we’ll engage in conversation about what happened and why, the techniques, and the next steps. This is a four–week experience, once a week, with a man and a woman at different levels of experience and needs. Observer participation, including the interactive discussions, is $500. Apply the learning to your own coaching endeavors. June 8, 15, 22, 29.

Sentient Strategy Certification

Sentient Strategy Certification

Over 40 people certified on three continents to deliver this radical, simplified approach to strategy for SMEs, divisions of large organizations, non-profits, and government agencies. The program can be delivered virtually or in person, looks only one year out, and requires two mornings or a full day. The certification is over two mornings via Zoom. The single and sole fee is $12,000. I recommend charging a fee of $35,000–$50,000 to clients. NO pre–pandemic strategy can possibly be effective today.

I support you for 90 days thereafter. Write me to apply: [email protected]

Contact ALAN
By Invitation Only

By Invitation Only

My classic, elite experience returns, this time to the elegant Four Seasons in Palm Beach, FL. Over 2.5 days we spend each morning discussing my latest IP and approaches to new markets and offerings, as well as key challenges for each person attending. There are world class dinners and optional experiences. I usually have these around the world and I will again in 2022, and the participants in the current sessions have priority for next year.

Limit of 14 people. Partners are welcome at social events. $15,000 includes lodging and meals.

This is my “invitation” to apply. Write me for a discussion and appointment at [email protected]

Contact Alan

Alan Weiss’s Balancing Act® Newsletter is a registered trademark of Alan Weiss and Summit Consulting Group, Inc.
© Alan Weiss 2021

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