Friday, May 08, 2009


I’ve never been a fan of those large ‘business networking events.’ So I stopped going to them after less than a year of trying them out as an experiment in my then new world of self-employment in 2005.

You know the sort of thing I’m talking about. An unhealthy breakfast or lunch where you have to stand up and talk for 60 seconds about why you, or your company, are the best thing since sliced bread and why the world would be a much better place if everyone sent business your way.

To me it’s always seemed a bit contrived and quite frankly scores high on my ‘cheesiness’ scale. Sometimes it was downright embarrassing.

Instead I’ve always preferred to concentrate on getting to know - really well - the people who use my services and are likely to refer me to others by recommendation – usually by word of mouth.

I am delighted to report that today I met, for the first time a new and small group of similarly-minded folks. We had our first get together over a very pleasant, quiet lunch in a local hostelry in beautiful Warwickshire.

We are five, err, … lets say …. mature folks who met informally to see if there is anything we can usefully discuss about our very different worlds of business. We had no agenda other than to ‘suck it and see.’

After a couple of hours it was felt there had been enough learning for us to all agree it was worth having another get together, so we will.

This is an interesting journey that may lead us somewhere – it may not. Sounds a bit like life.

David, who organised the meeting has set a nice hare running methinks. Kim, Chris, Andrew and I all contributed and the consensus was – ‘This was ok – it may help us.’

One of our number reported there was already some useful practical learning for him from this, our first meeting.

Thank you guys … I said I would report this on my Blog with your permission. It’s a pleasure to know you all. I think we just might make this thing work. Who knows?

I love unstructured meetings with an agenda agreed on the day – it depends on what is on our mind at the time as far as I'm concerned.

This of course is an approach used often by the very best management consultants and explained by the well known and credible management theory: MIUAYGA

Make It Up As You Go Along

I am always up for MIUAYGA.


Dan Gunter said...

The solutions that worked this morning will usually be obsolete by afternoon. Life and business are definitely not static. Conditions change. Circumstances change. The questions themselves change.

MIUAYGA is how we deal with life. The idea that "the Earth is flat so don't sail too far lest you fall off the edge" was sufficient for that day and time, but it doesn't exactly hold water today, does it?

Years from now, our very best theories for problem solving may seem equally as crude and rudimentary as the flat Earth paradigm does to us today. But we deal with life, business and situations the best we can, and accept that there is a "context" to be considered, even though the context will change in due time. In fact, it is constantly changing.

Otherwise, we'd need no science, no research, no anything... because all the answers we need would already exist.

Want to know why there will probably never be "world peace?" Because the world and every one of us changes in different ways and at differing paces.

There is not -- nor will there ever be -- any such thing as "one size fits all."

Dan Gunter said...

Excellent post, by the way. At least there IS an honest consultant among us ;-)

Trevor Gay said...

Cheers Dan - thanks for the compliment - the cheque ('check' in your language) is in the post my friend.

One of my favorite quotes from one of my heroes John Lennon is on the home page of my blog:

'Life is what happens while we're busy making other plans'

Says it all really about MIUAYGA

Dan Gunter said...

Perhaps consultants fall into (roughtly) two categories:

(1) Those that write textbooks to give you all the solutions, and

(2) Those that help you figure out why the "textbook" solution will never work for you.

The latter is the one that doesn't adhere to the philosophy: "He that is good with a hammer, tends to think everything is a nail."

Trevor Gay said...

What surprised me when I was in a corporate job in healthcare was how we would call in very well paid consultants who would tell us what we already knew. I guess we were paying for the fact it was typed up and presented in a nice looking folder and there was lots of management jargon in the report. Forgive the cynicism Dan :- )

As Tom Peters once said:

"A consultant being called in to 'teach' corporate culture is legalised stealing"

And as one of my old bosses put it:

"At least Dick Turpin wore a mask"

Life is sometimes just a mystery.

Dan Gunter said...

I like Tom's other take on that: "A consultant's a guy who borrows your watch then charges you to tell you what time it is."

True. Sad. But true.

The Dan Ward said...

Trevor, I love the MIUAYGA idea - very cool, and I'll definitely use it.

I have a pair of related terms to pass along, one of which is a Dan Original, the other I heard from a friend.

A friend introduced me to BOGSAT - Bunch Of Guys Sitting Around Talking (as in, we used the BOGSAT method to create this data).

And my own creation: SAWABI - Start Again With A Better Idea. The idea is to SAWABI when you realize your previous effort has taken you down a blind alley.

Trevor Gay said...

Excellent Dan - I will make a note of your two ideas too!

Maybe you and I should co-write a book on such wonderful management initiatives - who knows, it could be a best seller - sounds convincing to me anyway :-)

Dan Gunter said...


Get a release signed to use those. LOL. I love it.

Trevor Gay said...

There's no copyright Dan :-) - I'm sure we can use them free of charge!

Marilyn Jess, DTM said...

What a humorous thread you started! MIUAYGA has merit, of course, recognizing that change is constant, and we learn best from one another.

They say that it is not what happens to us, but how we react or act based on what happens. I've only 'officially' been a freelancer for eight months, and have already tweaked my business plan. Chalk that up to starting in 9/08, right before Wall St. crashed.

There is definitley strength in numbers. Here's hoping you get many good ideas from your group, and share your good ideas with others, too.

David Wike said...

I’m glad that Marilyn joined in. I was beginning to think this was the Dan, Dan and Trevor show!

Lest anyone should be confused by Trevor’s references to networking, this was not a networking event. It was the corporate world’s equivalent of a chance gathering round the watercooler or coffee machine where business issues are chewed over. The gathering was made up of people who had left the corporate world and no longer could benefit from those ‘watercooler moments’.

Ever the erudite one, Trevor’s learning was that the chips were good! What happened to the marathon runner’s diet?

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Marilyn – good to hear from you and I hope you are keeping well.

I change my business plan every week! I tend to look no further ahead than about two to three months. Life is dynamic and change is constant – if that’s not a contradiction!

You are so right about the learning. I learn so much from other people and particularly people who come from a different background than me. Diversity rules!

The ‘gang of five’ are a great group and it may increase to 7 or 8 people. I see this as a valuable part of my continuing personal development …. And also a nice informal get together every couple of months. Small is beautiful.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi David

Variety is the spice of life – including chips!

All commenters are welcome here at Simplicity Blog – It does seem those with the intial ‘D’ are attracted here! Dan, Dan and David!

Definitely not a networking event – a nice informal t together with lots of learning and sharing.

Looking forward to the next watercooler meeting David and thanks again for your leadership in this –a great idea. Lets see where it take us.

PS - Can I have a burger with my chips next time?