Magic and Sushi – Part I

News flash! The economy is hurting just a tad.

OK, so that is really not any news but what may be news are the many different ways companies in the A/E/C marketplace are changing their operations in order to meet the many challenges of the slow down in their industry.

Increasing revenue is always one of a company’s top priorities. When times are good, cutting costs is sometimes put on a back burner and for understandable reasons. But these are times when we must push both our revenue increasing efforts as well as our cost cutting ones.

So what does this have to do with magic and sushi? Glad you asked. Of all my many interests outside of business, the one that has probably helped me the most is my love for magic. I became interested in magic as a young child but in my freshman year of college; I met a couple of guys who were really into magic. They helped support themselves through school by doing magic shows around the state and they sort of took me under their wing and showed me a few things.

When it came to magic, I learned a lot from Sammy and Steve but two of the main things I learned was (1) never do the same trick twice in a row. It makes it too easy for your audience to figure out the trick and (2) most people ‘over think’ the trick when trying to figure out ‘how’d you do that!” The solution is usually very, very simple.

In learning new illusions or tricks, I had to figure them out on my own as they rarely told me how a trick was done. Unless of course it was Sam who sold me a few…he also taught me a fair amount on negotiating and bartering.

Getting back to the topic of increasing revenue or cutting costs, as well as many other aspects of business, I have learned to take those same thought processes that help me figure out how a magician does something that seems utterly impossible and apply it to real world business situations. Just like in magic, it is often the simplest method that is correct one. This way of thinking has helped me to look at a situation, process many ways to figure out ‘how it’s done’ and finally arrive at what is hopefully the best answer. (Unlike magic, in business it usually takes a little longer to know if you were correct.)  Now, on to the sushi…

There was a time in my life when I was absolutely, totally, 100% convinced that the only reason anyone tried sushi, tasted sushi or ate sushi was because it was the ‘thing to do’. No one could possibly like it. It was raw fish for crying out loud!

I held that worldview for many years until something amazing happened. I tried it. You can now ad sushi to the long list of things I was wrong about. From that day forward, I have been hooked and when asked, ‘Where shall we go eat?” my answer is usually sushi.

The point I am trying to make here is that as we look for ways to improve our bottom line, we may have to ‘hold our nose’ and try some things we never thought we would try. We may have to tilt our head a bit and look to see if there is a way other than for the ‘card to be pulled up the sleeve on a wire’ for it to have disappeared.

In my workshop “Building New Business™” I lead off with a card trick. It is, in my opinion, one of the greatest card tricks ever because its simplicity is only surpassed by the incredible effectiveness of the illusion. I start off with the trick not to show any slight of hand skills I may posses but to get the group suggesting ways how the trick is done. To date, no one who has not seen the trick before has figured it out but it has proven to be a great exercise to get everyone thinking…’how’d he do that.” In other words, thinking of different ways to find a solution.

In part II…we will look at a few ‘sushi items’ you may want to consider giving a try as ways to increase revenue or cut costs. Until then…pick a card, any card.

About the Author

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc., An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in CRM, Business Development, Sales, Marketing as well as Executive Placement and Recruiting for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

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