The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Now I’m no “consultant”

A friend of mine asked me to do a little consulting for him.  He’s trying to grow his company’s top line revenue and wants a complete sales/operations assessment.  He considers me an expert.  You see, in my career I have had the privilege to work for some of the finest sales organizations around and I’ve worked with terrific sales professionals, too.  I suppose that qualifies me for his project – but don’t call me a “consultant”, God forbid!

I usually poke fun at consultants.  I’m not the only one either.  Here’s what Norman Augustine, the former head of Martin Marietta said:

A consultant is an individual handsomely paid for telling senior management of problems, about which senior management’s own employees have told the consultant.

Asking your own employees what can be done to improve things?  Preposterous!  In Corporate America bringing in an outside consultant is the way things are done today, yes?  I’ve heard a consultant described as some guy from out of town, with a brief case.  Well, I guess that will be me when I step off the plane and visit his company.  Come to think of it, I’ll be chatting with his employees about their perceptions of the problems that need to be addressed.  (Uh Oh – if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…)

It’s true that professional selling is both an art and a science.  However, selling is skill-based and unlike some folklore about being a “natural born salesman”, I believe sales professionals are made – not born.  They continuously reinvest in themselves; constantly seek improvement; and successful companies know that without sales excellence, they limit their ability to thrive. So I’ll take a look at how his company’s sales department operates and see if there are opportunities for improvement. 

Now don’t get me wrong.  There are many aspects a company must excel at to be successful.  Let’s keep the sales people’s contributions in proper perspective, shall we?  (Wait a minute – proper perspective?  Is that possible to do with those egotistical, sales maniacs?  Just kidding!) 

I suppose there are worse things than consultants, too; especially at large companies.  There is that notorious group called “Corporate”!  Back to Norm:

Corporate Staff:

Known in some quarters as Sea Gulls for reasons relating to their propensity to fly round the country leaving their mark wherever they have alighted.

                                 Norman R. Augustine

Many of us have been exposed to these Corporate Staff types, yes?  Yep – another opportunity to poke fun.  You remember; this is one of the “great lies” we have all heard.  It goes like this: “I’m from Corporate, and I’m here to help”.

I suppose it’s always easier to tell someone else what they have to do to improve.  The company’s problems are always in that other department, aren’t they?  It’s a bit harder for us to look in the mirror and ask what we should be doing better.  If we tried a little harder at self-improvement, maybe our companies would spend less money on outside consultants.  Maybe we could benefit from this cost savings – have a few more team-building events; more training to improve our skills; maybe even a few more company outings.  Here’s an idea from Rick Levine:

If you’re given a choice between bringing in a consultant or beer, choose the beer.

So wish me well on my project – but don’t call me a “consultant”!  (And please don’t mention the beer idea to my client, OK?)


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  1. Heather
    Feb 24, 2011

    It is always important to remember “I am special, like everyone else.”

  2. Wood
    Sep 12, 2011

    How could any of this be better stated? It cuodln’t.

  3. Stretch
    Sep 14, 2011

    I relaly needed to find this info, thank God!

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