On Coming to Sage Consulting Academy Even Though You Do Not Think You Should Have To Go Because You Have Been Doing This For 20 Years And It Will Be A Complete Waste Of Your Time

Recently, a class that I have been delivering, he Sage Consulting Academy, has become a requirement for certification for some Sage business partners.

While this post will seem like I am, as my Mom would say, “tooting my own horn,” I am posting it because it is a fairly common reaction for many seasoned consultants. This is especially true for those of you who suddenly face the need to take this class now that is is a requirement.

The following is the unedited evaluation of Susan Cardoza from Sysera.

What did you hope to gain from participating in the experience?  What did you bring to the dialog?

I came in skeptical that this course would add any value to my consulting skills.  I told myself on the first day to participate as little as possible and to just listen.  Well, as you saw, I wholeheartedly participated.  Hopefully, I brought something of value to the class; more importantly, I took away much from the other class members.

When were you the most anxious or fearful?  Why?

I was extremely anxious on Thursday early morning, 4:00am, because I lay awake thinking “How am I going to transition?  What about my Friday overview meeting with a new lead?  What if I say ‘prescription before diagnosis = malpractice’ and decline to give an implementation price, what will happen?”  So much of what you said resonated with my spirit, but I still wanted to scream out “Will you be my mentor?  Can I e-mail you documents & obtain your feedback?”  I own my Company, the buck stops with me, change starts with me.  I haven’t had a mentor in over 20 years.  Now I know you can’t mentor a thousand business partners, but boy did I want to scream out, help me, pick me.  Rather frightening, as I haven’t felt that way in a long time.

When were you the most inspired or ecstatic?  Why?

Clearly, I had moments of inspiration because I determined it was more valuable for Kelley & Denice to attend your class than Sage Insights next year.  I will invest in their education to make sure they are on the same page as me.  It will take a team effort to move away from the insanity of “billable” hours.  They will be ecstatic to be released from the obligation to prepare time sheets.

What did you learn about yourself?

You took me out of my comfort zone, you made me think differently.  Clearly, you were saying “Come on in, the water’s fine.”  Those that are already in the “pool” are always more comfortable than those who are hot & sweaty outside of the “pool”.  Obviously, I liked my way of doing things, but a change is coming.

On a scale of 0-10, what is the likelihood that you would recommend this class to a colleague?  10, assuming 10 is most likely.

Would you like the instructor to evaluate your participation at this class?  Yes

May we use your name as a reference for this class?  Yes

May we use your comments as a testimonial?  Yes, if you want


Wow!  After 23 years and many successful implementations, I thought I knew how to lead a project.  Well I was partially right, in that I can successfully lead a flat-fee based project; however, a value based project at a flat fee takes me back to “consulting kindergarten”.   It is a new way to think and a new way to communicate.  You taught this old dog some new tricks.

Value to you:  I think MasterCard says it best “Priceless”

My deepest thanks to Susan for allowing me to post this. If you have any additional questions or concerns about the Academy, please feel free to email me.

Sage Firm of the Future Symposium – New Dates Announced

I am thrilled to announce that Ron Baker and I will be conducting four Sage Firm of the Future Symposia in 2012. The dates are:

  • March 20-21 in Toronto, ON
  • April 24-25 in Irvine, CA
  • May 23-24 in Vancouver, BC
  • July 17-18 in Boston, MA

The symposium will feature Ron Baker of the VeraSage Institute and yours truly and is dedicated to the possibility that a professional organization can be run more effectively when it becomes a knowledge firm rather than a service firm. Creating such an organization is hard work and not for everyone as it requires partners to think differently than they have in the past about what it is that they do.

If you are interested visit sageu.com, and navigate to Academies and Bootcamps > Mid Market ERP. Not a Sage partner, but still want to attend? Email me and I can get you registered. The price is $2,500 per person and comes with a 100 percent money-back guarantee.


On Why Voting in Local Elections Really Matters More Than Presidential Elections

Last week the people of the City of Allen, the town in which I live, passed a property tax hike. This now makes the residents of our fair city among the highest taxed in the State of Texas.

How can this be? With all the talk in the media about tax rate hikes and the flaming rhetoric that comes from Tea Partiers and Conservatives, how could one of the most “Red” municipalities in the most “Red” state of the union vote to raise their own taxes?

Two main reasons.

First, this tax was specifically to fund education and the “it’s for the children” mantra makes even the staunchest Tea Partier turn mauve if not a pale blue.

Second, plain and simple it was voter apathy. This is technically known as the principle-agent problem. As you can see from the table below, less than 10 percent of registered voters turned out despite almost two weeks of early voting opportunity including a Saturday.

Registered voters           45,141    
Total voters            4,373   9.69%
For             2,645 60.48% 5.86%
Against            1,727 39.49% 3.83%

This means that is took less than six percent of the population of the city to impose a tax hike of roughly $350 per household per year on themselves and the other 94 percent of us. So much for majority rules. So much for “democracy.”

Allen Texas High School $60 Million Stadium

Worse this is not the first (nor probably the last) time this has happened. In May 2009, the voters passed a $144,000,000 bond issue for the building a new high school football stadium and a performing arts center. The results were similar:

Registered voters          42,245    
Total voters            3,736   8.84%
For             2,364 63.28% 5.60%
Against            1,349 36.11% 3.19%

In this case 2,364 people imposed a $3,400 per person liability on the rest of their fellow citizens.

Blame Congress, blame Obama, blame Bush, but look in the mirror too. I am sure this goes on in your town to some degree as well.


New Firm of the Future Trailblazer: Carol-Ann Brouwer of Simply Made Simple

Today’s HSD (high satisfaction day) comes from this interview I did with Sage Simply Accounting partner Carol-Ann Brouwer of Simply Made Simple.

Carol-Ann attended a workshop on Firm of the Future in October 2010 and in one year has completely transformed into a Firm of the Future. In this year alone she doubled her income. Yes, I said doubled!

Get this, one of the first things she did was trash the timesheet!

I have posted both an excerpt (runs just over four minutes) and the full interview (runs 16 minutes.) Enjoy!


On the inanity of Elizabeth Warren’s now famous quote

Sorry my progressive friends, but Warren’s quote is nonsense. It ignores the most basic principle of a freer (not free) market – that wealth is generated on both sides of the vast overwhelming majority of transactions. Her quote implies a zero-sum thinking about the economy. It is false and I believe dangerous. It implies that everything you have done is at the expense of others. I hope none of you believe that.

Capitalism is, by definition about paying it forward. Farmers, factories, software companies, and consultants produce things (food, goods, services, and knowledge) that are of greater value to the purchaser than to the buyer. What is more, they create these things that are for the betterment of customers whom they do not even know today. In other words, they are being altruistic. Altruism being defined as “other centric.”

The roads, schools, and police to which Ms. Warren refers have been paid for, their makers have received just compensation. Where did the compensation come from – the people in the first place, but how did the government get this money? By claiming a share of the profits. In effect, Ms. Warren is claiming a double debt.

Ms. Warren while intending to  or not is also making a great limited government, public choice theory argument, namely for schools, roads, and police. If government (and it should be the local government) were ONLY using tax money for the building roads, the education of students, and the funding of police, the tax burden would be much less. Instead we bailout failing companies, start endless wars on ideas (drugs, poverty, and terrorism to name a few), and now are taking over the healthcare industry.

The US federal government is quickly becoming a large and in debt insurance company with guns.

Personally, I do not think corporations should be taxed at all. There is mounting evidence that high corporate taxes result in lower wages for workers. After all, businesses just view taxes an expense. If the budget line item for taxes is made higher, then another line on the budget has to get reduced. Often that other line is wages and salaries.

Now, I am no corporatist. I think the bailouts were a travesty of justice, but notice this was government action once again interfering with the market.

Both governments and corporations are made up of people, flawed human beings. To paraphrase Milton Freidman, is political greed somehow nobler that economic greed? At least with economic greed a) the corporations have no guns (save those than make them) therefore cannot force me to buy something (even if it “for my own good,” see the mandate provision of Obamacare) and b) if we don’t like what a company sells we can quickly vote with our wallets rather than once every two, four or six years.