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#726: Don't Sweat the Close Stuff

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, December 26, 2011
Updated: Monday, December 26, 2011
With the economy lurching in many directions but seeming to not be going anywhere, I am concerned that I will miss opportunities for consulting. Where should I be looking for opportunities over the next year or so?

Richard Carlson's book "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - And It's All Small Stuff," focused on keeping control of the less significant elements of our lives, personally and professionally. Carlson became famous for showing up how to reduce stress by focusing on what is important and attending to the big picture. The construct is big vs. small things.

However, size, significance and impact are only one way to look at the world. Consider timing of those events, regardless of size. Depending on your particular practice (e.g., operations vs. strategy) your dominant scope of time may be weeks and months or years and decades, respectively. Views of the world tend to be consistent with the time scope for implementing our advice. This can blind us to events and factors that deeply affect our business and we can't see them because we aren't looking in the right time frame.

Sometimes a microscope is called for, sometimes a telescope, sometimes just our eyes, but it is useful to be able to use all of these and know when to use the right one.

Tip: Spend a fair amount of time each month looking at various prognostications of emerging mid-term trends in business and society. This is not about what is happening in the next 6-12 months, nor is it what will (as if anyone really can foresee that far) take place over the next century. I am talking about the 5-10 year view. For example, read articles like one from BCG on prospects for a mid-term renaissance in US manufacturing. Not all of these will agree but you should have a short, medium and long term perspective about industries in your specialty.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  learning  trends  your consulting practice 

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Comments on this post...

Raymond W. Suarez CMC says...
Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2011
The BCG piece is a good, concise read, Mark. Thanks!
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