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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #28: January, 2006

avoiding the chronic mistakes

Start off the year avoiding the chronic mistakes that I see consultants make every day:

  • Never begin by explaining your methodology. Explain how you benefit others.
  • Spend at least three times the energy and investment developing your marketing savvy as you do developing technical skills.
  • Stop relying on secondary and tertiary sources. Just because something is in a book doesn't make it true (or original).
  • The preponderance of test instruments used by consultants are dubious if not egregiously bogus. Even if your client doesn't mind (or doesn't know), is it ethical to use non-valid tests with people's careers on the line?
  • Stop procrastinating and move! When you're 80% confident, proceed. The other 20% rarely matters and can always be completed during the journey.
  • End your complacency. Most consultants I meet are woefully lacking in their knowledge of the language, organizational dynamics, valid coaching techniques, practice management, and so forth. Spend time with people who are better than you are to build such skills.
  • The only initials that matter are: s.u.c.c.e.s.s. Stop putting all that undecipherable stuff after your name. NO ONE places a master of arts (MA) designation after their name unless they are woefully insecure or live in Massachusetts and are writing their return address.
  • If you get to January 31 without making much progress on some high priority issues, it's because you're not planning your time well. That is not a disease, not an environmental toxin, and has nothing to do with your family. It's about using a calendar to schedule time for your most important personal and business goals.
  • Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. If you get one good idea out of a book, membership, association, visit, workshop, teleconference, or whatever, it's probably a fine return on your investment, and you should be getting more than one.
  • Don't take strengths for granted. Build on them. Stop worrying about correcting every perceived weakness. You'll get more out of increasing the marketing of a successful product than you will from experimenting with a video. Once you're satisfied you're exploiting strengths, then you can think about other things.
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