Soft is Hard and Hard is Soft

Peters and Waterman published In Search of Excellence in 1982. It had a profound impact on the direction of my life but that’s not important. What is important is the 7-S model that they revealed in that publication remains today, one of the mainstay’s of the McKinsey consulting methodology. Continue reading “Soft is Hard and Hard is Soft”

The Law of Attraction meets the Law of Common Sense

No so long ago I waxed lyrical about the importance of  pricing your services at what you’re worth. I used as an example an orthopedic surgeon I had needed a couple of years ago to fix a rotator cuff tear that resulted from a skiing accident.

I said how his fee was not an issue and when you need the help of a professional you look for the best in town not the cheapest. I also said:

The surgeon was Dr. Kyle Swanson and he’s at Lake Tahoe Orthopedics & Sports Medicine — I mention that to make another big point: when you get great work done (irrespective of cost) by a skilled professional you are very happy to refer him/her. I have referred Kyle dozens of times to my ski buddies because we bust and tear body parts quite regularly – birds of a feather flock together which is exactly what relationship marketing recognizes. But referrals rarely happen in relation to low level work (because there are so many obvious solutions) and when they do all you get is lower level, low price work. I raise this point in the context of your post because when you focus on, and engage in, value creation you get talked about and you get referrals to value-seeking clients.

This is where the law of attraction seems to have come into the play because on Christmas Eve, just a couple of weeks after my original post I experienced another incident.

The result is nicely summarized by the following extract from Kyle’s Operative Report which is shown below.


  1. Right knee anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear
  2. Right knee medial collateral ligament tear (MCL) tear
  3. Right knee posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) avulsion


  1. Right knee anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction using bone-tendon-bone autograft
  2. Repair right medial collateral ligament (MCL) avulsion off the medial femoral condyle

And there you have it!

Lesson learned …… don’t invoke the law of attraction with the possibility of negative outcomes.

Why leaders need to worry about digitization

This is a thought-provoking video discussion between two heavyweights from MIT and McKinsey. Even though they’re not directly talking to leaders in the accounting profession their observations and insights give food for thought. Continue reading “Why leaders need to worry about digitization”

At last: A drug that will help you sell more

It seems that there’s a drug to fix every conceivable problem we humans have. You will not therefore be surprised to learn that there’s even one that will help us close more sales. It’s called 1,3, 7-trimethylxanthin and you can buy it over the counter anywhere. Continue reading “At last: A drug that will help you sell more”

What every business can learn from Gordon Ramsay

If you can tolerate the language you can learn a lot from Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.  In fact you can learn something from virtually everything that goes on around you.  Back to the kitchen ….. there is a common theme that runs through practically all of the restaurants he works with. This is ….

The menu is way too broad – there are so many dishes it’s hard for people to choose and harder for chefs to get any good at any of them.  In their attempt to appeal to a wide range of people they end up appealing to very few.

The owners start by being so appreciative of Ramsay’s help but very quickly push back on virtually every suggestion he makes because they “know better.” Ah, hello, the business is failing!

The team members who work at the restaurant know EXACTLY what is wrong and they are, for the most part, incredibly loyal to and tolerant of the idiot owner they work for. But if or when they try to suggest a way to improve the process or offer suggestions based on direct or indirect customer feedback to the owner they are totally ignored.

Does this give you any ideas for your firm or any of your clients businesses?  Perhaps you could invite some clients to a breakfast meeting, show one of his episodes and discuss the lessons learned and how they could apply to any business….. just an idea.

When No means Not Yet: A Principa Alliance Member’s Experience

In a presentation I do on professional selling I try to make the point that if a prospect says “no” it never means “never”. People make decisions based on “where they are at” at the time of making the decision and their natural inclination is to resort to the status quo because that’s the way we humans are wired. Continue reading “When No means Not Yet: A Principa Alliance Member’s Experience”