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There’s No Magic In Too Much Success

There’s No Magic In Too Much Success

We can experience too much success.

I returned to The Magic Castle in LA last night after 25 years’ absence. The performances are still wonderful, but the experience isn’t. There are too many people crowding into the place. The rooms are packed, dinner service is slow and erratic, and the waits are lengthy. So for a few minutes of terrific magic you endure a very hot (men are required to wear suits and ties), long, uncomfortable wait. I’m not rushing back under these conditions.

TED (ted.com) was once a site of vast intellectual stimulation. But now it’s expanded so much that you need a machete and searchlight to find a spark of interest. Recently, some guy took up time showing how to dry your hands with a single paper towel. I am not making that up. That’s beyond lame, it’s asinine. When I wrote a letter to the site critiquing a woman whose presentation techniques were so poor and distracting that they wasted the viewer’s time, I was told that “no letters of negative criticism of presenters” were published.

So much for intellectual honesty.

Some organizations do a fairly good job of handling huge success. Disney, until recently, has been one of them at its theme parks. FedEx has expanded intelligently without losing user-friendly, fast service. Apple has handled growth pretty well, cellular phone networks not so well.

In your consulting work, are you prepared to handle success? We often gird ourselves for failure, but what happens when four of five outstanding proposals are accepted? My feeling is that you can never have too much desirable business, so long as you can attend to it in a qualitative and prompt fashion.

Gear up for success with subcontractors, more resources, better options, and streamlined delivery. Don’t allow more customers to clog your business’s arteries.

If magicians can pull rabbits out of hats consistently and impressively, management should be able to put people in seats efficiently and pleasantly.

© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 5

  • Jer

    June 9, 2012

    Alan,

    Regarding the subcontracting topic, please consider addressing this in a book on the subject. It’s a hot topic today and I’m certain there is a huge appetite for an “in the trenches” approach by an experienced pro like you. Personally, I’ve attempted this on several occasions with limited success.

    I’m aware that Subcontracting is mentioned on pg. 105 of “The Consulting Bible” and a few other sections but it’s too brief for me. I have 6 of your books. I have the Kindle version of “Million Dollar Consulting” and cannot find a reference.

    If you’ve addressed this, my apologies. Just point me…

    Thx,
    Jer

    • Alan Weiss

      June 9, 2012

      I address it mainly in my speaking, but perhaps it would be a good download or podcast or something. It’s really quite simple if you use a formula and don’t fall under the mistaken impression that delivery quality is hard to obtain. I’ve found that most consultants pay FAR too much to subcontractors.

  • John Martin

    June 9, 2012

    Beautiful in its simplicity. Good post Alan.

  • July 11, 2012

    I agree with you TED.com, I had thought I was the only one feeling that way. Some don’t even deserve a mention. How much more an appearance. Like you said “so much for intellectual honesty”.

    • Alan Weiss

      July 11, 2012

      You have to be ready for success, not simply prepared for failure, and I’ve seldom seen a brand of high value diluted this quickly and arrogantly. They are reminding me of Mensa—self-appointed elite with no empirical evidence to support the claim.

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