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Talking Points


What Don Shapiro, President, First Concepts Consultants, Inc., believes about important issues of the day and what affects organization success


Current Events

The assumptions that tanked our economy. Contrary to all the campaign rhetoric from both parties, the government didn’t cause the recession and can’t do anything to fix it.

Why the recession just keeps on keeping on. This economic nightmare turns out to be a lot more than just a recession which will take a lot longer than anyone imagines to resolve.

Why neither the existing healthcare system nor Obamacare are the answer.

Why can’t they solve the problem of Somalia Piracy when current surveillance technology and military methods offer an effective solution?

Our country is more threatened by politicians and other people trashing those they disagree with than bad legislation.

The alarming crisis of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections in medical facilities. Why most hospitals aren’t doing enough, why some hospitals and countries have eliminated this nightmare, and what would solve the problem once and for all.

How the FDA is unnecessarily raising medical cost while no one else seems to care.

Blood money in America. If no one in America used illegal drugs, there would be no drug cartels in Mexico and no drug war where 28,000 people have died. The drug cartels only exist because someone buys their products.

The Mosque at Ground Zero and America’s fear of Islam. How did a small gang of thugs usurp the image of an entire religion and its followers? How did the world end up legitimizing a gang of thrill seeking mass murders?

Management, Sales, Marketing, Quality, Service, Employees, Leadership, Thinking


Company & Industry Issues

The fall of General Motors wasn’t caused by the recession. How 30 plus years of poor decisions by General Motors top management set it up to fail while Ford weathered the storm.

Why Best Buy doesn’t get the real issue behind “showrooming” and what they need to do to revitalize their sales and profits.

“Value Menus” such as those offered by McDonalds and Wendy’s are not really about customer value at all. They are actually about the absence of value.

How did AnheuserBusch fail to see the early signs of the craft beer trend that could have been detected over twenty years ago.

The massive deception behind the total price we pay for goods and services. How companies are reducing package sizes while selling them for the same price as before, car rental firms and hotels are adding mandatory fees so their quoted rates can remain low, and other ways companies are charging more without raising prices.

It’s the movie, not the star that determines box office receipts. Why Hollywood studio executives continue to get it wrong and demonstrate ignorance about marketing and quality.

What’s holding Facebook back from listening to its customers? Is the massive social media site setting itself up for the same type of mistake too many other firms have made?

Sales and Marketing

Understanding how people think out a decision to buy from no interest to where do I sign gives salespeople and marketers better tools to sustain long term sales increases.

The power of customer value to tie together everything a company does. It’s the one thing that puts customers, company and shareholders on the same page.

Prime the offer before you position the product or service. Customers must be primed about why a general type of offer or solution is best before the specific product or service can be positioned effectively.

Web 2.0 and social media haven’t changed the principles of marketing. They are just new tools to do the same thing that’s always been done.

Leadership, Employees, Hiring and Training

We face a crisis in leadership in organizations at all levels. Leaders must stand up, stand tall and stand strong to lead us into a better future and away from where we have been.

It’s all about people. The best strategies, plans and innovations mean absolutely nothing unless a firm has employees who can make it happen.

Why one time training events and classes don’t work. The truth about what it takes to produce long term sustainable improvements in people’s performance.

Employee turnover often occurs because the actual job turns out to be different than what the employee expected. Using an accurate job preview at the beginning of the selection process can dramatically improve hiring effectiveness and reduce employee turnover.

Most managers have a less than desirable success rate at hiring employees because they tend to focus only on eliminating the reasons to reject a job candidate and not enough on the reasons to accept the candidate.

RIP Job Resumes: It’s time to move on instead of trying to fix what’s broken beyond repair.

Quality and Service

For all the emphasis on quality and service, why are so many companies falling short and why are customers letting them get away with it.

After almost 30 years since listening to the customer was made a top priority, most firms still haven’t figured out how to do it right and turn it into a competitive advantage.

Decision Making, Strategy and Thinking

Strategy follows structure and structure supports strategy. Why organizations can’t change their strategies without changing their structures.

Why the best educated senior executives in history continue to make serious blunders and what we can do about it.

The real difference between the most successful organizations and the rest comes down to how well their people can think. Effectively using the right analytical, creative and systems thinking processes is the single most important factor in any organizations success.

Consulting and Consultants

Consulting is a calling, not a career choice.

Conceptual thinking is at the core of solving problems, creating great strategies and innovations, and getting everyone to implement a plan with enthusiasm. First Concepts name grew out of recognition that everything starts with a concept and so that should be the foundation of the firms practice.

The most frustrating thing about consulting is when clients love the recommendations but either won’t implement them or don’t know how to implement them effectively.


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