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5 Decades of Critical Lessons for Your Consulting Firm
David A. Fields -- Sales Growth Expert David A. Fields -- Sales Growth Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Ridgefield , CT
Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Can history teach your consulting firm anything? I mean, otherthan the importance of avoiding giant asteroids, bubonic plague and Bucky, theneighbor’s biting, St. Bernard?


I’ve cherry picked a handful of recent-ish decades and highlighted seminal (U.S.-centric) events to glean some lessons for us consulting firm leaders. See whether or not you agree.

The 1870s
Invention of the Telephone

The inventions of Bell, Edison and others in the 1870s spearheadeda transformation in one of the two skill sets that are most foundational in life:communication.

Anything that fundamentally alters and improves your abilityto communicate with others paves the way to rapid progress. That’s true for youas an individual, and for your consulting firm.

The telephone remains one of the most powerful tools in yourconsulting firm’s business development and client management efforts.

Action Questions:

What can you do to make your consulting firm easier tocommunicate with?

How could you improve your communication within your consulting firm and with your clients?

The 1900s
Manufacture of Cars for the Masses

Ransom Olds and Henry Ford pioneered the assembly line, usheringin a century of widespread travel and backseat shenanigans.

Their use of systemization opened the door for scale andefficiency—two attributes your consulting firm could put to good use.

Action Questions:

What tasks are you repeating in your value-creation process?

How could you systemize those tasks then delegate or automate them?

The 1910s
Sinking of the Unsinkable Titanic

Amidst the chain of calamities that conspired to claim thelives of over 1,500 people on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, the factor that’shardest to forgive is the lack of sufficient lifeboats.

Thanks in large part to hubris, the ship’s lifeboat capacitywas less than half the passengers on board.

The builders believed their own hype too much. Do you thinkthat ever happens to consultants? (That’s a trick question.)

Action Questions:

Where are you absolutely sure your consulting firm has the strategy, structure, process or approach absolutely nailed?

What would be the consequences to your consulting firm ifyou’re wrong?

What mitigation plans are warranted?

The 1960s
The Moon Shot

In 1961, Americans rankled at the U.S.’s also-ran status inthe space race behind the Soviet Union. Hence, President Kennedy promised thenation would land a man on the moon and bring him safely home by the end of thedecade.

This extraordinary mission successfully delivered Neil Armstrongand Buzz Aldrin to the moon in 1969. (They came home, too.)

Pursuing Kennedy’s audacious goal not only inspiredgenerations around the world, it spun off innumerable, highly valuable,technological advances.

Wouldn’t you like to achieve your dreams and enjoy some side benefits with your consulting firm?

Action Questions:

What is your consulting firm’s scary, almost unimaginable,audacious goal?

Are you in action and dedicating resources to achieve that goal?

The 2000s
September 11

The terrorist attack on the U.S. in 2001 underscored a new type of threat on the world stage: widespread actors galvanized into action by their shared hatred of a perceived enemy.

The response to 9/11 highlighted the same phenomenon, as Americans set aside their differences to support the War on Terror. (President Bush received the highest approval rating in polling history two weeks after the attack.)

Unfortunately, dehumanizing others in order to define a terriblefoe and incite action has become an all-too-common political tactic.

Nonetheless, don’t ignore the fact that a common enemy is apowerful, motivating force. One that your consulting firm can ethicallytap into.

Concepts, processes, and roadblocks to growth can all becast as villains.

Action Questions:

What could you present as the common enemy to your consultingfirm’s prospects (without disparaging or dehumanizing any individuals)?

What could you present as the common enemy to your consulting firm’s internal staff (without disparaging or dehumanizing any individuals)?

Obviously, I’ve left out most decades, plenty ofworld-changing events and innumerable lessons.

I’d like to know your point of view. (Other readers would too.) Pick a decade or historical event and share your lesson below.

Managing Director
Ascendant Consulting, LLC
Ridgefield, CT