A consulting fable to help you achieve your greatest aspirations for your consulting firm…
Thad, the founder of Thadaway Consulting, felt a nagging dissatisfaction. While his firm had grown reasonably well over the past few years and delivered a comfortable income, Thad knew he hadn’t led his firm to the same level of success enjoyed by other consulting firms offering similar services.
Many an evening, he shared his discontent with peers over chocolate martinis at the Consultants Corner Bar. Other patrons frequently shared advice and tips but, Thad noticed, none of the other consulting firm leaders appeared to be achieving notable success either.
One fateful Tuesday, though, an elegant stranger ventured into the bar and, upon hearing Thad’s well-worn tale, suggested, “You need to visit the Dimfort Diner. The happiest, most successful consulting firm leaders all dine there. Corner of 4th and Grit Street.”
Intrigued, Thad wandered toward the diner. Even from a distance, Thad could see a partly burnt-out neon sign blazing Dimfort Diner and a surprisingly large crowd milling around the entrance.
As he approached, he noticed very few souls actually ventured into the diner and, oddly, many of those who entered quickly dashed back out, faces pale as if they’d seen a ghost.
Feeling slightly disheartened, and not spotting any top-tier consulting firm leaders in the throng, Thad wandered around the side of the building. That’s when he stumbled upon a side door, discreetly marked “Exit Only.”
Almost immediately, one of the most successful consulting firm owners in town emerged, joking convivially with a companion.
Approaching the couple, Thad introduced himself and inquired, “Can you tell me about this Dimfort Diner and why you eat here?”
The consultant laughed then offered. “Yes. I eat here quite often. In fact, it’s the entire reason my consulting firm has done so well over the years. If you finish your meal, you’re allowed to exit the side door and your firm grows. If you don’t finish, you’re escorted out the front door and you’re back where you started.
“Oh, and we call it Dimfort Diner,” the consultant continued, “but look closer because some of the neon sign isn’t working.
“It actually says Discomfort Diner.”
The very next evening, Thad bravely bustled through the door of Dimfort Diner and was handed a menu seemingly custom-prepared for him. The choices featured Rejection Risotto, Payroll Pot Pie, and Networking Noodles amongst other unappetizing fare.
Looking around, he saw patrons struggling with their dishes, grimacing at every bite. Many looked overwhelmed, and quite a few who appeared to have stopped eating completely, were escorted to the front door.
Thad also noticed the helpful consulting firm leader from the previous evening determinedly working through an unsavory entrée. Thad shuffled over to the other consultant’s booth, then asked if he could join and, perhaps, receive some tips.
“Sure,” the friendly consultant smiled, “This is always easier with company. Usually my coach suggests the right entrée and helps me through the meal.”
As Thad seated himself, the consultant munched another bite of Cashflow Crumble, then counseled, “To make it through the meal and out the side door, you need three things:
“First, you have to harbor a strong ‘Why’ compelling you to reach the side exit.
“My Why is that I want to leave a legacy and start leisure traveling around the world before I’m 55. What’s your Why?
“Second, you need a plan.
“My plan includes small meals here almost every evening, eating the same dish until it’s no longer on the menu. Then I move onto a new dish. Other plans work too, of course.
“And third, you need some mechanisms to ensure you’re in action, measure your progress and hold you accountable.
“I have this bite counter, which I fill out every meal and send to my coach. If I go a couple of days without filling it out, or my bite count isn’t progressing, my coach calls and gets me on track.
“Those people milling around outside don’t have a strong enough Why,” the consultant continued, “and the customers who leave quickly or get stuck don’t have a plan or an accountability mechanism.”
Thad realized he wasn’t ready to tuck into a meal yet, and excused himself. However, he returned the next week, fully prepared.
Over the following months and years, Thad polished off quite a few dishes at the Dimfort Diner. He often exited the side door and basked in the satisfaction and rewards of leading Thadaway Consulting to heights that quickly surpassed his early ambitions.
For your consulting firm to make more progress, you’ll need to visit “Dimfort Diner” too.
What are you uncomfortable with? What dishes, if you consume them, will unlock growth for you and your consulting firm?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.