Community Corner


Some consulting opportunities are rotten. Blech. Don’t want ‘em.
Leave ‘em, don’t look back, and set your sights on better projects for your consulting firm.
But hold on, Harry. (Wait, Walter? Pause, Paula?)
A few of those stinky projects may actually be goldmines.
A quick story:
This past June, my wife and I were driving to a remote Portuguese town, when a landfill appeared on the horizon.
Even from a distance, it was easy to recognize the manmade hill; trailer-sized blocks of compacted, brown and white trash, stacked and tumbled into disorganized heaps like some giant toddler’s Lego pile.
Our car windows were down to enjoy the temperate air, and my wife was dozing in the passenger seat. Since the only alternate routes involved goat paths, I faced a dilemma:
Should I wake my wife up by closing the car windows, and alert her to the unpleasant landmark ahead, or should I hope that the smell would be tolerable while we drove by, leaving her asleep and unaware? I chose to wake her. (After all, travel is about sharing the adventure.) But, the potential stain on our mental travelogues never materialized, because the trash heaps turned out to be… Marble.
Gorgeous, 15-ton slabs of Portuguese marble excavated from one of the world’s premier quarries. So much marble, that enormous slabs were strewn about and piled into landfill-shaped hillocks.
Nearby, in Estremoz (pronounced the way Sean Connery would say “stray moss”), we admired, and purchased, stunning art sculpted from blocks of the local stone.
Which brings us back to the starting question:
Are the consulting opportunities you’re avoiding, fetid trash heaps or dazzling sculptures hidden in landfill clothing?
Your goal is easy: unearth great projects that other consulting firms decline.
A few guidelines may help you distinguish diamonds from dross, and rubies from rubbish.