CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 55, 19th April 2004


  1. Editorial: Basic training
  2. Coaching notes: 22 ways to kill a good idea

1.     Editorial: Basic training

Richard Winfield - editor and principal consultantI have had a very pleasant surprise. The Economist, a magazine that I devour each week, has started to publish a list of the top book being sold on the six Amazon web sites in America, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Japan. I would have expected that these would be a few top novels and long running personal development titles.

My delight is that number 4 on the list is "Good to Great: Why some companies make the leap...and other don't", by Jim Collins. Along with "Built to Last" by Collins and Jerry Porras I consider this one of the core books that every manager should read.

Some books are bought but not read. I would be surprised if many buyers purchase "Good to Great" just to leave on their coffee table. If they are genuinely reading it and putting it into action, then we can expect some great improvements in the way companies are run.

I thought you would be interested in something I found stuck on the door of a refrigerator in a roadside restaurant in Jacksboro, Texas. It certainly follows the KISS principle: keep it short and simple.

Basic Training

If you open it, you close it
If you turn it on, you turn it off
If you unlock it, you lock it
If you break it, you fix it
If you can’t fix it, you get someone who can
If you borrow it, you return it
If you use it, you take care of it
If you make a mess, you clean it up
If you move it, you put it back
If you make a promise, you keep it
If you don’t know how it works, don’t touch it
If it doesn’t concern you, don’t mess with it.

I wonder how focused is your company training in comparison?

Last week we announced details of our programme of workshops to help consultants, coaches and trainers develop their practices by attracting more clients. I am delighted that we have secured an arrangement with our friends at Cabal Group to include individual copies of "The Gorillas want Bananas" with the resource pack for everyone who attends the workshops.

This book, reviewed in CorporateCoach No. 42, explains the Lean Marketing™ approach to building consultant and coaching businesses. I have used it repeatedly to develop my own clientele.


PRACTICE BUILDING WORKSHOPS: Are you earning enough yet?

A Straightforward Guide to a Stress Free Life Would you like to increase your earnings?

Of course you would. Many individual consultants, coaches and trainers are earning less than they should. Recent research in the USA and Europe suggests that in their first year 73% of coaches make less than $10,000 and that only 9% of all coaches are making more than $100,000 a year.

This is clearly unsatisfactory. So what stops talented people from achieving financial success? In our experience their greatest challenge is often self promotion and finding clients. It is all very well expecting work to come to you through referrals. But that will only happen after you are successful. How do you get there from start-up? How do you speed up the process?

Are you earning enough yet?

Brefi Group has modelled beliefs and practices that work and will deliver two workshops in central London to address this issue and help consultants, coaches and trainers to build more successful practices for themselves – faster.

Practice Building workshop, 10-11 May (£375 + VAT)

This two-day practical workshop is an opportunity for you to learn beliefs and practical strategies that work for us and to develop your own personal sales & marketing plan. You will have a chance to experience coaching from Brefi Group associates and find out about our associates scheme.

Lessons from CoachVille, 21 June (£175 + VAT)

This year's CoachVille conference, "The Coaching Business: Create Your Own Magic", is also dedicated to helping coaches expand their business and achieve financial success. Brefi Group is attending the conference and will present a follow-up, free standing event reporting all the best practice building tips collected over the four days of the workshops and conference in Orlando. Be sure to attend and get these hot tips only two weeks after the international conference.

Book for both workshops together and you will save £55! For full details click here.

2.    Coaching notes: 22 ways to kill a good idea

How many of these have you spotted recently?

  1. Ignore it. Dead silence will intimidate all but the most enthusiastic proposers of ideas
  2. See it coming and dodge. You can recognise the imminent arrival of an idea by a growing unease and anxiety in the would be-originator Change the subject. Or-better still-end the meeting.
  3. Scorn it. The gently lifted eyebrow and a softly spoken. ‘You aren’t really serious. Are you?’ works wonders. In severe cases make the audible comment, ‘Utterly impracticable’. Get your thrust home before the idea is fully explained, otherwise it might prove practicable after all.
  4. Laugh it off. ‘Ho, Ho, ho, that’s a good one Joe. You must have sat up all night thinking that up. If he has, this makes it even funnier.
  5. Praise it to death. By the time you have expounded its merits for five minutes everyone else will hate it. The proposer will be wondering what is wrong with it himself.
  6. Mention that it has never been tried. If it is new this will be true.
  7. Prove that it isn’t new. if you can make it look similar to a known idea, the fact that this one is better may not emerge.
  8. Observe that it doesn’t fit the company policy. Since nobody knows what the policy is your probably right.
  9. Mention what it will cost. The fact that the expected saving is six times as much will then pale into significance. That is imaginary money, what we spend is real. Beware of ideas that cost nothing though, and point out, ‘if it doesn’t cost anything, it can’t be worth anything.
  10. Oh, we’ve tried that before. Particularly effective if the originator is a newcomer. It makes him realise what an outsider he is.
  11. Cast the right aspersion. ’Isn’t it a bit too flip?’, or Do we want this clever-clever stuff? Or ‘Let’s be careful we don’t out smart ourselves’ Such comments will draw ready applause and few ideas will survive collective disapproval.
  12. Find a competitive idea. This is a dangerous one unless you are experienced, you might still get left with an idea.
  13. Produce twenty good reasons why it won’t work. The one good reason why it will is then lost.
  14. Modify it out of existence. This is elegant you seem to be helping the idea along, just changing a little here and there, by the time the originator wakes up its dead.
  15. Encourage doubt about ownership. Didn’t you suggest something like Harry is saying ‘when we first met, Jim?’ While everyone is wondering, the idea may wither and die quietly.
  16. Damn it by association of ideas, Connect it with someone’s pet hate Remark casually to the Senior Man. ‘Why that’s just the sort of thing John might have thought up.’ The senior Man loathes John. Your idea man doesn’t, and will wonder for weeks what hit him.
  17. Try to chip bits off it if you fiddle with an idea long enough it may come to pieces.
  18. Make a personal attack on the originator, by the time he’s recovered he’ll have forgotten he had an idea.
  19. Score a technical knock out for instance refer to some obscure regulation it may infringe. Use technology as a bludgeon. But if your on that you’ll need a pulsating oscillograph coupled with a hemispherical interferometer, so you see there should be a negative feed back on the forward rheostat and you wouldn’t like that would you?
  20. Postpone it. by the time it’s been postponed a few times it will look pretty tatty and part worn.
  21. Let a committee sit on the idea.
  22. Encourage the author to look for a better idea usually a discouraging quest if he finds one, start him looking for a better job.


We aim to make the Brefi Group web site the premier developmental site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of this newsletter, and comment on the content.

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Brefi Group is a change management organisation that provides corporate coaching, consultancy, facilitation and training. Be sure to visit the Brefi Group web site at

We hope you enjoyed this issue of CorporateCoach. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, then please contact me, Richard Winfield:

Telephone: 08450 678 222, or +44 (0) 121 704 2006 (international)