Tag Archives: Success

How To Be Successful in Consulting by Failing

how to be successful in consulting
How to be successful in consulting by failing

We hear about people “playing it safe” all the time. You hear it in investing scenarios when someone invests in vehicles that may not aggressively increase in value, but probably won’t lose value.

Sport team’s do it all the time.  Football teams develop prevent defenses, which allow opposing teams to make short gains, but are prevented from making a long pass or score a touchdown in a single play. A short pass combined with a long run can backfire on them.

It all comes down to how bold you want to be.

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How We Are Taught Not to Succeed

Not to succeed
How we are taught not to succed

I still remember my kindergarten class with Miss Fischer.  We did our fair share of learning, memorizing the days of the week, the alphabet and so on.  But more than that, I remember singing, playing, and climbing the jungle gym.

It wasn’t until first grade that we got down to business. Throughout my primary school years, we had our share of fun.  There was music class and art class.  We had a lot of fun on the playground at recess too. But the bulk of time was spent in the classroom cramming facts into our brain.  Mathematics, grammar, history, science, spelling, etc.

Taught not to succeed

Day after day, year after year, we sat in classrooms all day being taught.  Every once in a while they checked to see if we were listening by springing a test or a pop quiz on us.
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Mr. Client, How Do You Define Success?

define success
How does the client define success

Consultants love the client during the sales cycle.  It’s the courtship phase where the people at the client seem like decent human beings.  And better yet, the client thinks consultants seem decent.

Consultants promise them success and the client often believes it.  “We can do that…and that…and that too.”  They’re all so agreeable.

How consultants define success

Then they get into the guts of the project.  They’ve written a statement of work, a project charter and defined the scope of the project.
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Learning From Consulting Mistakes

consulting mistakes
What you can learn from consulting mistakes

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over, and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”  – Michael Jordan, Nike Commercial

Expecting perfection

I recently watched a little league game of eleven and twelve year-olds.  One boy tried to extend a single into a double and was tagged out at 2nd base.  He ran back to the dugout crying.  He had put so much pressure on himself to succeed that it tore him up when he failed.
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Can Happiness Lead To Success?

Lead To Success?
Can Happiness Lead To Success?

I’m an avid reader of business books.  This started back in college, when I read the classic In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman.

Since then, I’ve taken the occasional detour through fiction via John Grisham, Dan Brown and the like, but business books are my mainstay.  I recently read a couple of books that had an interestingly common theme on what will lead to success.  Unless it was subconscious the similarity was not an intentional act.

What can lead to success?

The first book of the triad was Lynchpin by Seth Godin – In Lynchpin, Godin opines that “Everyone’s an artist now.”  Seth challenges the reader to become a linchpin; to make the leap; to become artists. He defines becoming an artist as doing “emotional work”.
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Paying Your Dues for Success

Paying Your Dues
Paying Your Dues for Success

I remember once when a manager at my client was promoted and was making that milestone move from cubicle to a private office.  This was a big career move and someone made the comment that she had “paid her dues” and was now reaping the benefits.

Paying your dues

I was younger than her and wondered when I would get to that point in my career when I had paid my dues and would reap the rewards.  I was working at client sites, sitting in war rooms – usually a conference room where the whole team works together as a team.  A bit of jealousy set in.  I continued to wonder when I was going to get my just reward for paying my dues.
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How I’ve Learned to Love Failing

Love Failing
Learning to Love Failing

After a five-year stint away from consulting, I realized that I missed it.  A lot.  I enjoyed the two jobs I held during my little sabbatical and met some incredible people.  But I didn’t find it as challenging and fulfilling as consulting.

So I’m now nearly two months into my consulting re-entry.  I went in with more than a little cockiness.  I had several years of consulting experience on my resume and thought I knew what I was doing.  To a large extent, I did.  But every firm has their own way of doing things.  I was fortunate enough to join a great firm that has a unique way of doing things and sets their standards very high.
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There Is No Success Rulebook

Success Rulebook
Success Rulebook


Throughout my career, I’ve met people who seem to think there is a formula for success.  They are always buying the latest self-help books, CDs and DVDs.  They have lists tacked on the wall of their cube or office that give them a step-by-step process for success.

A success rulebook?

Many of the self-help gurus tout things like “9 steps to sure-fire success” or “The roadmap to living the life of your dreams”, as if you can simply read the book and wait for utopia to set in.
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