Have you ever worked so hard that you didn’t get anything done?
The elusive banana
The monkey’s dilemma is a well known story about how hunters figured out a way to capture monkeys in the jungle. They would place some food that appealed to monkeys, like peanuts or a banana, in a box with an opening in the top just larger than a monkey’s hand.
A monkey would come along, stick his hand in the box to grab the food and be unable to get his closed fist through the hole. Hunters would be able to catch the monkey because it stubbornly would not let go of the food even to save its life. Continue reading Pushing Too Hard and the Monkey’s Dilemma→
In an episode of ‘House of Lies’, the Showtime series loosely based on management consulting, there was a situation where the team was tasked with reviewing a pharmaceutical client’s internal study. In reality, they were being paid to rubber stamp the study rather than to perform any diligent review.
In 1990, Burger King launched an advertising campaign with the tagline “Sometimes You’ve Just Got to Break the Rules”. It was fairly controversial with parents wondering if BK was trying to teach their kids – of all things – to break rules.
Should I follow the rules?
Throughout my career, I’ve thought about that campaign off and on. I’ve observed that some of the most successful people have been the type that goes against the grain, make their own rules and figure out ways to get things done that are outside of the norm. Ted Turner and Steve Jobs come to mind. Neither of them accepted the traditional rules for how things should be done and ended up making a lot of money along the way. Continue reading Strictly Follow the Rules→
The 1998 baseball season was the most exciting season that I can remember. Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire went head-to-head in a home run race that ended with them both breaking Roger Maris’ 37-year old single-season record of 61 homers. Sosa hit 64 home runs and McGuire bested that with 70.
Most of us are familiar with the scandals of performance-enhancing drugs by both of them, a corked bat by Sosa and stonewalling in congressional hearings by McGuire that have tainted both of their 1998 achievements. It was a big disappointment for baseball fans like me.
Despite the cheating and fall from grace of these would-be heroes, there is one moment from that season that sticks in my mind. Late in the season, Mark McGuire came up to bat with the bases loaded. He had that focused look on his face that he always had at the plate. He swung his trademark swing and knocked the ball out of the park for a grand slam. He trotted the base paths, “touched ‘em all”, went back to the dugout and sat down. Continue reading Consulting Skill: Focus on the Client→