Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Flight of the Bluebird

I just finished “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond for the second time. It talks about the real causal events in history. That, combined with some work I came to agreement on with a client this week, led me to think about some causal events in consulting and a term that sometimes gets thrown in with it – bluebird.

In consulting, the ‘bluebird’ term is used to refer to a nice piece of work falling from the sky onto your lap for you to sign and go. It’s a somewhat pejorative term used to indicate you did not do the necessary work to earn that business. I don’t use the term because the work that goes into coming to a consensus with a client over some business doesn’t have to have been yesterday or even this century, but there usually was work involved. This starts with the fact that you have to have taken the risk to start a business in order to win business.

Sure, some business comes easier when you have built the reputation. For those pieces of business that don’t come with a real sales cycle, I think back to starting in consulting 15 years ago where most everyone starts – with not much – and working pretty hard to build my knowledge, abilities and reputation. Unwinding the real causal events that led up to the business has always revealed a complicated cycle of awareness to contact to contract. Sometimes it’s years later when I get the call but I earned the awareness at some point.

What are the causal events of your business? Are you creating your ‘bluebirds’ of tomorrow?