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Vol. 10 No. 8 - August 2011

James Gilmore

Interview: James Gilmore

Co-author of The Experience Economy.

"What’s the Apple Store of consulting?"

Get our podcast interview with James Gilmore.

Also in This Month's Issue


In the News: Quick Takes

Roger Courville: How to Put on a Great Webinar

Thought Leadership in 2011

Masters of Consulting Interviews

Is Your Business Smartphone-Ready?

Coming Attractions: Peter Bregman



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It was just two weeks ago that I finally underwent “minor” surgery on my ailing right knee. Even though the medical professionals consider the “procedure” routine, it still lays you out for a while. Simple things, like walking up and down stairs, become a challenge. And forget driving, walking more than a few feet at a time, or showering.

Fortunately for most people who undergo this kind of surgery, none of these limitations are permanent. You do have to live with some uncertainty about how well you’ll heal, and stay patient as you regain strength. But a forced break from everyday routines can result in renewed appreciation for the people and relationships that define your life.

You also have time to reflect on the big questions about your direction, business, and quality of life when the day-to-day stuff isn’t the only thing on your radar. Some people use vacations to take a step back and think about their grand plans, while others find different ways to achieve the same aim.

Whatever way you choose, be sure to find a regular opportunity to take a breather, reflect on where you are and where you want to be. If the circumstances demand it and the timing is right, set a new path for yourself. Some of my best long-term decisions came about when I wasn’t preoccupied with deadlines, clients, and my business.

I’m guessing that most of you recognize the value of down time, but how often do you really get it? I’m not waiting for the surgeon’s knife to reappear before I do it again.

Enjoy this month's issue, and send me an email if you have comments.

Michael W. McLaughlin, Editor
Author of Winning the Professional Services Sale and Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants
Principal, MindShare Consulting LLC

Stay in touch


In the News: Quick Takes

A Swiss political party wants to outlaw PowerPoint. It’s true that people abuse the software, but a ban?

Tired of long emails? ShortMail is an email program that limits you to 500 characters and doesn’t permit attachments.Think Twitter for email.

CFOs are more active in making IT investment decisions, according to Gartner.

72.9% of all email messages are spam (39.2 billion messages per day), according to Symantec.That level of spam is down from 90% of all email traffic in July 2010.

Why do people become freelancers?

Meet the guy who has 10 million frequent flyer miles. United named a plane after him.

Here are five alternatives for building a web site on a budget.

Can McKinsey save the rain forests?

Almost 25% of traffic accidents in the US are associated with a gadget.

How to create a winning résumé.

Roger Courville: How to Put on a Great Webinar
Roger Courville

People don't usually need more data; they need story, and meaning, and application.

What does it take to create and deliver a high-impact webinar? How can you excel in this challenging communication environment? When it comes to this subject, Roger Courville is one of the most articulate experts I know. He’s the author of The Virtual Presenter’s Handbook, which shows how to develop and deliver content that engages audiences. He’s also the co-founder of 1080 Group, a firm that helps clients design and optimize web seminar programs.

In this podcast, Courville and I talk about the common characteristics of a great webinar, how to hold an audience’s attention, and how to approach the creation of presentation slides. Roger also offers his perspective on the market for paid webinars, why webinar programs are an untapped opportunity, and what the future holds for virtual presentations.

Listen to the podcast with Roger Courville.

Thought Leadership in 2011

Analysts at reviewed consulting firms’ thought leadership marketing for the first half of this year to give us a sense of where firms are focusing their efforts and investments.

It's interesting that 58% of the thought leadership published wasn’t industry or sector specific. Some firms choose to take the “generic” (cross-industry) approach to thought leadership development to maximize reuse of material across multiple industries, and to control costs.

Of the industry-specific thought leadership, the financial services sector was the most popular target with more than 25% of the material published. Next on the list of popular industries were health care and pharma, which together garnered almost 20% of the industry-specific thought leadership. Given the developments in both of those industries, it’s not surprising that firms are targeting them for business.

In the last six months, industry “studies” have continued to be a favorite choice for consulting firms, in spite of reports from that clients aren’t especially interested in reading them. 17% of thought leadership falls into this category, with the Big 4 firms publishing 40% of that amount. Some Big 4 firms use these studies for specific client marketing activities and then publish them more widely at a later time.

Another area that’s gotten lots of attention is managing government regulation. 13% of thought leadership covered this topic, with content ranging from the strategic implications of regulations to the nitty-gritty details of regulatory compliance. Given that many firms have built substantial practices around compliance (think Sarbanes Oxley, for example), it’s predictable that firms would focus here.

There’s been little emphasis so far this year on practical issues like customer service, sales effectiveness, and new product development. These subjects represented less than 1% of the total. Maybe firms (and clients) feel these issues have already been covered ad nauseum.

Next month, researchers at will release their assessment of the quality of the thought leadership they’ve reviewed. I get bleary-eyed just thinking about that task.

Find out more.

Masters of Consulting Interviews

Last month, Michael Zipursky of Business Consulting Buzz published a new book, The Masters of Consulting Interviews: 9 Interviews with the World’s Leading Consultants. The book’s interviewees include Kevin Hogan, Michael Port, me, Bob Bly, Tom Searcy, Carter McNamera, Ilise Benun, Troy White, and Dave Crenshaw.

Zipursky conducted the interviews and asked insightful questions about every aspect of running a consulting practice. I’ve read the interviews and they’re very good. The quality of the interviews is high because Zipursky knows his stuff. I especially like that he published the interviews in both written and audio formats.

If you buy the book, you also receive seven bonus items that address issues like building your consulting business, selling your services, and managing your PR. You can learn more about the book and bonuses by clicking to Business Consulting Buzz.

Note: I receive an affiliate commission if you buy the book using the link above.

Is Your Business Smartphone-Ready?

According to researchers at Edison Research and Arbitron Inc., smartphones are becoming the “first screen” for many people. In their study, The Social Habit 2011, researchers found that frequent users of social networks would rather give up their televisions than their smartphones.

Maybe this finding isn’t surprising, but it points to a trend that could impact your business. To remain visible, your marketing communication must operate as effectively on mobile platforms as it does everywhere else.

Many large services firms have figured this out, while lots of smaller businesses are just getting started in adapting their marketing to mobile platforms.


The Social Habit 2011 includes other interesting data too. Click here to see more.

Coming Attractions: Peter Bregman
Peter Bregman

"Don’t settle for imperfect. Shoot for it."

Next month, we'll talk with Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. Bregman, Harvard Business Review’s most popular online columnist, offers what he calls an “inertia intervention” plan for achieving your work and life goals.

Bregman is no stranger to the demands of the consulting business. He did stints with the Hay Group and Accenture before launching his own firm, Bregman Partners, in 1998. He understands how hard it can be to stay focused when so many things compete for our time and attention.

I’ll ask Bregman about strategies for solving that age-old problem: there never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything we need (or want) to do.

Look for the next issue of Management Consulting News on September 6, 2011.


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