Where do you place value?


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ONE of our heroes, New York based consultant Alan Weiss, has a unique perspective on wealth. He regularly shares the view that “wealth is discretionary time”.

The reason his approach to wealth is so striking is that most people, at least those of us living in Western market based economies, tend to think of wealth as money.

To be wealthy is to have a lot of money, no?

Well, it depends on what you value.

If we take a broad definition of wealth, then we might say that wealth means “an abundance of valuable possessions”.

The catch with this definition is that you get to decide what’s valuable.

Here are a few options that you might want to consider:

  1. Reputation
  2. Skills
  3. Capacity to delight and solve problems for other people
  4. Free time
  5. Memories and experiences
  6. Friends and family
  7. Cars, houses and boats
  8. Fame and fortune

It’s your story, and you get to make choices.

Where do you place value?

Hitting Singles

Selling is a process, not an event

Large consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain and BCG have huge marketing budgets and strong alumni networks that they can tap into to ensure a steady stream of work.

This is not a reality for most people.

If you are a small firm or a solo consultant then you might just need to pick up the phone and make a few calls.

The problem is that for most people selling is stressful, and it’s hard to perform well when your stress levels are sky high.

The good news is that you can combat the stress by understanding where it comes from. A lot of it derives from a misguided belief that you need to be hitting home runs.

Cold calling a potential client and expecting them to thank you and then buy your product is unrealistic (read: wildly optimistic). It is the equivalent of cold calling the girl (or guy) you like and expecting her to accept your proposal of marriage.

Miracles do happen, but they are the exception not the rule.

You can reduce your stress levels by lowering your expectations to a realistic level.

You want to sell the project, but what is the realistic next step?

If you’re on the initial sales call, you might hope for an initial meeting where you can break the ice. If you’re in that meeting, you might hope for a second meeting where you can reach conceptual agreement on a project. And if you get conceptual agreement, then send a proposal.

Keep a lot of balls in play. Keep hitting singles.

Focus on the customer

I RECENTLY listened to a talk by Alan Weiss, and it got me thinking.

The people in your organisation are your assets. Each person has unique talents that can be put to work to make your organisation a more successful one.

The question is though, where is that talent focused?  Is it focused on your products, your services, your relationship with the customer? Or is it focused internally: people are unhappy with the compensation system, you got that job and I didn’t.

If you take 100% of your people’s talents, what’s the percentage?  What’s the breakdown?

If 30% of your people’s effort is focused on internal affairs and you can redirect it so that only 10% of people’s effort is focused internally, then that is a major boost in productivity.

Focus on what matters.  Focus on the customer.