Review: Value-Based Fees – A Guide for Serious Consultants

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Leadership
Amazon Page

Alan Weiss

5.0 out of 5 stars Opened My Eyes – One of Three Books of Huge Value, July 21, 2012

A colleague pointed me toward the books of Alan Weiss, and I bought three. This is the first one I have read. The other two, that I will review over the next ten days or so, are Million Dollar Consulting Proposals: How to Write a Proposal That’s Accepted Every Time and Million Dollar Web Presence: Leverage the Web to Build Your Brand and Transform Your Business.

In a manner of speaking I felt my life passing before my eyes as I read this book. For over twenty years I have led the charge on connecting governments to Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), only to see every government and every corporations seeking to suck at the government breast go with “butts in seats” and “time & materials.” I myself come from that culture, and as smart as I may be, I confess to have never considered the obvious: consulting fees based on the Return on Investment (ROI) in relation to specific outcomes. As I followed the author’s roadmap in this book, inventorying what I know and what outcomes I can achieve for organizations that are generally mired in the Industrial Era of stove-pipes and information hoarding, oblivious to the potential of open source everything, crowd-sourcing and crowd-seeding, and so many other things, I felt a mixture of shock (how could I be so stupid) and awe (the best years are ahead of me).

I read a lot, and this book stands out as a work of practical art–the organization, the detail, the white space, the end of chapter summaries, and at the very end of the book, a series of questions that are priceless and alone worth the cost of the book.

This is a book that I marked up and will keep (I normally donate all the books I read to the local library, having donated my entire collection to George Mason University a few years ago). For me personally, two aspects of this book are priceless:

01 The aforementioned appendices (A – Questions for Qualifying the Economic Buyer; B – Questions for Establishing Business Objectives; C- Questions for Establishing Measures of Success; D – Questions for Establishing Value; E – Questions for Assessing Personal Value Contribution; F – The Difference Between Inputs and Business Outputs)

02 The quantitative and qualitative specifics throughout the book on how to establish tangible and intangible value. The charts are directly pertient, not too many, and very clear.

This is a book with both clarity and integrity. The author provides a chapter on ethics and all of his answers to the most frequently asked questions are clear.

The author provides, in one distilled elegantly organized container, a map, checklists, easy to follow descriptions of key processes (the most important being avoidance of any fee discussion until after trust has been established, objectives have been established, and value has been established.

I cannot help but feel chagrin as I recollect all the times I have given away my unique holistic grasp of global multinational, multiagency, multidisciplinary, multidomain information operations for $5,000 to $30,000, when my knowledge could, on a continuing basis, have helped earn millions or save billions. I realize that up to this point the US Government has been content to waste $80 billion on a secret intelligence community that produces 4% “at best” according to General Tony Zinni, USMC (Ret) of what a major commander needs, and the corporations have been content to fabricate time and materials and deliverables in an environment where no one has been held accountable for outcomes.

Perhaps more to the point in relation to this author’s deeply-grounded common sense, we are now a third of the way into a global economic crisis that is making all of our bad practices unaffordable. The value of minds like mine is sky-rocketing because so few in our “management” population are holistic thinkers who understand true cost economics or how to achieve sustainable resilience or “green to gold” natural capitalism.

As I personally come out of the financial doldrums that killed my for-profit company (Open Source Solutions Network, Inc.), I am reactivating the non-profit, Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3, and I can say with certainty that this book and this author’s distilled wisdom are going to be the guiding light for how we engage those smart enough to want the very best minds able to cross all borders and boundaries with elan.

For many years I have recommended the following books as “core.” This book joins that celebrated collection.

Radical Man: The Process of Psycho-Social Development.
The Exemplar: The Exemplary Performer in the Age of Productivity
The Knowledge Executive
Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century

For those interested in broader browsing, my two lists of lists of reviews I have written here at Amazon are easily found by searching for the exact phrases:

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Positive)

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Negative)

This book is suitable for consultants of any age in any industry.

Robert Steele

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