Cooperation, consulting and Fads LO7360

Eric Opp (
Fri, 10 May 1996 10:16:30 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO7349 --

On Thu, 9 May 1996, Richard Karash wrote:

> Why do consultants take work beyond their current capabilities? The
> continuous push for revenues, or at least push for near term revenues, is
> to blame. I think such a push, if it's not backed by building real depth
> capability, is bound to backfire in the long run. Beware, consultants and
> firms who try to take on Org Learning work, staying one chapter ahead of
> the client...
> But, in addition to the money angle, there's also the thrill of trying...
> Here's a story told to me many years ago by a long-timer with one of the
> big firms. "Why do I do this? Why do I knock myself out year after year,
> all the travel, etc. After a while, it's to see if you can do the next
> job. And then try another even larger stretch and see if you can pull it
> off. Other careers have easier work, but not work with so many
> opportunities to try for the next stretch job. It's for the thrill of it!"
> I didn't like the sound of that story then and still don't. Sounded like a
> gambling addiction, something to be avoided.

I would like to offer to reframe the above two statements based on
personal experience and on the information gleaned from reading a book by
Alan Weiss called "Million Dollar Consulting." I firmly believe that
consultants taking **prudent**, I stress prudent, stretches (work beyond
their current capability) is for the same reasons that we encourage
individuals within an organization to stretch, and that is to grow by
learning. The problems with individuals, careers, communities and
organizations usually arise, because they stop learning and become
stagnant. "They become their positions" to use an example directly from
"The Fifth Discipline." Consultants in general must be the most high
powered learners in the business world to be successful. The best quote or
concept that I took away from Alan Weiss' book is: "If you are just
selling some pre-packaged seminar to an organization, you are never going
to be a true 'Million Dollar Consultant.' ..... There is a limit to how
many people can take your seminar, and you are not adding real, long-term
value to your client's organization." The real way to add value to a
client's organization is to bring your full experience and problem solving
skills to bear on their unique situation. The only way to do that is to
stretch and learn and stretch and learn and........ (the reinforcing
spiral), and, eventually you will be able to charge top dollar for your

I do **agree** with you that simply selling a consulting engagement for
the sake of the sale and "staying one chapter ahead of your client," or
for the sake of the thrill of the "super stretch" is not the right thing.
I would like to believe that the guys who simply sell an engagement for
the sake of selling an engagement will be found out and will over the
long term destroy their own personal as well as their company's
reputation (the negatively reinforcing spiral).

Sorry, if I have covered some previous ground, since I just cam into the
middle of the thread, but this was a quote I felt I had to respond to.

Eric N. Opp


Eric Opp <>

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