When we think of innovation, most of us think of
something like a skunk works, an experimental laboratory where new
ideas are cooked up to take to market.
We have been told by many innovation gurus that we can all be
innovators if we become curious, adopt a playful attitude, give
ourselves permission to fail, and experiment with out-of-the-box ideas.
I am a business consultant. I am not a creativity guru, an academician,
a theorist, or a writer looking for a subject to zero in on for my next
book. My clients hire me to get results. Honest-to-God,
innovation is about creating results
that succeed in the merciless, unforgiving marketplace we all know so
Basically the deal I have with my clients goes something like this: I
help them to improve their performance; i.e., do a better job of
excelling at delivering on their mission and thereby increase their
profits. For that I am entitled to a reasonable remuneration that
generally does not exceed about 10% of what they stand to gain by
investing in my services. That’s a fair trade and the essence of
business. I am an investment. I provide a return that exceeds my cost.
Innovation is no different. It takes time, money, people, and energy to
innovate. It has to provide a return that exceeds that investment or
it’s more than a waste of time; it’s a death trap. There may be failed
experiements along the way, but the long haul has to justify the short
Every organization worth its salt puts customer value front and center.
Of course, it has to do well financially. But, financial growth is
always a derivative of value generation and never an end in itself or
eventually the organization implodes due to lack of leadership and
This does not mean financial health should be ignored or even receive
less attention when it comes to leadership and strategy. Healthy
financial growth makes the difference between an organization that
survives and one that thrives. Every CFO understands this in their
heart of hearts.
Effective leaders make it a point to grow aggressively beyond what is
required to operate. They are set on increasing capacity and building
reserves. The best have a knack for strong financial growth that
reinforces, supports, and generates customer value. This kind of
synergy can’t be beat.
This is not a trivial accomplishment. It requires making the commitment
to go for the best your organization can be. There is no middle ground
between being the best and getting by. You are either
excelling or not.
Herein lives the challenge every leader faces daily, do I go for the
status quo or do I push to be the best at my chosen task? One path
leads to a safe retirement, the other to a vibrant organization and
even more importantly, a worthy impact on the world.
This choice is the raison d’�tre
– the most important reason or purpose for existence. When innovation,
financial health, and value generation find each other great things
happen. This is the domain of those who want to make a difference in
the world, leaving the place better than they found it.
Events for Independent Consultants like Me:
How to Acquire
Clients & Value-Based Fees
9am-4pm, Washington, DC
Register here: http://sethkahan011212.eventbrite.com/
To create the most powerful learning
experience possible in a single day I zeroed in on the Alan Weiss
teachings that were most instrumental in transforming my business. This
one-day power event will nail these two topics:
1. Becoming expert at finding and getting the best clients
2. Raising your rates to be commensurate with the value you provide
You will emerge with a tight, focused
strategy for targeting and acquiring new clients through new, repeat,
and referral business and a clear action plan for raising your fees,
zeroing in on value your clients will gladly pay for, and taking your
practice to the next level. You will also receive copies of
Alan’s two books that we will use as texts: How to Acquire Clients
& Value-Based Fees.
WorkLifeSuccess – Money, Joy, and
Nov 17, 12:00-1:30,
Chef Tony’s, 4926 St Elmo’s Ave, Bethesda, MD
things are basic about living the good life: enjoying health, engaging
in meaningful and caring relationships, and having enough money to do
what you love without the stress of financial burden. This session will
be about how to have the life you want in ways that bring you deep
satisfaction and joy on all levels. Click
here if you are interested in