Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset
From Alan Weiss
Volume 2 Number 5
A monthly newsletter with the objective of quickly and pragmatically helping consultants to improve their craft, results, and lives.
You Can't Fix Stupid
There's a comedian, Ron White, who has coined a phrase, "You can't fix stupid." He's referring to people. I'd like to apply it to systems, procedures, and methodology.
We've all entered clients where we find practices in place that defy being called anything other than "stupid." We see decisions that must go to four different people to be merely "rubber stamped." We see companies spending $5,000 to deny a legitimate request from a customer that would cost $50. We see evaluations based on ridiculous criteria ("Always comes in early to start the coffee") and great ideas ignored because they didn't originate in the recipient's own mind.
I never assume anyone is damaged. But I do readily concede that there can easily be systemic damage that must be cleared up in order to get the gunk and goo out of the organization's arteries.
You generally can't fix "stupid." You have to remove it by demonstrating there are better, more productive, more profitable alternatives.
When I worked at Prudential, I was in charge of a section that had to file a triplicate copy of every transaction with the "Scranton Files." No one knew what that was or meant, other than a city in Pennsylvania. Even when I asked the "old timers" in the division, it was a mystery.
Finally, I sent a formal business letter to the Scranton files to ask what they did with our triplicate copies and if the procedure needed to be continued. My first class letter came back marked "no such address" and I assume our third class, batch mailings of the triplicates were simply thrown out by postal authorities.
Eventually, I found out that the Scranton Files had been abandoned coal mines in which Prudential once filed a hard copy of every transaction to protect itself against cataclysmic nuclear war. Ostensibly, when the radioactivity cleared, these files could be retrieved to permit the company to continue in business. Apparently, our section was never notified to discontinue them!
How many Scranton Files do your clients (or you) still maintain?!
Frequently Asked Question
Q. How do I best renew a relationship with a former client with whom I haven't engaged for over a year?
A. Shame on you for allowing that amount of time to pass. I'd contact them with new value, e.g., best practices you've compiled, new markets they should consider, non-monetary retention techniques, and so on. Don't go back trying to get something, go back trying to give something.
Watch all five RESOLVE videos at your leisure:
May 8, 2012
Baglioni Hotel, London
In an extensive day of recorded role-plays and case studies, learn how to establish objectives, metrics, and value that will gain conceptual agreement with a buyer and lead directly to large proposals with almost guaranteed acceptance. We will provide everyone with videos of their simulations, and everyone is encouraged to record their own and others. I'm buying dinner for the first ten registrants in each city. This will sell out quickly. Sold out in Miami.
June 7, 2012
Marriott Hotel, Los Angeles International Airport
We drew 250 people to the Boston session of this presentation. Join Alan at a ridiculous price for six hours on buyers, fees, objections, language, options, leverage, marketing plans, and much more. He's even buying lunch! Hear directly from his Master Mentors who will be helping small groups.
© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.
You may reprint and excerpt this newsletter provided that you include our copyright, the source, the author, and “reprinted with permission.”