Not Inside - Outside
Slide Rule of Building Blocks Inc., the head architect for the
Castle. Slide was having breakfast, and Igor, from Moat Designs
Ltd., the general contractor for the Castle, was sitting next to
"It's nice to see you caught up on your work," said the King. A
three-legged stool was immediately provided for the King by a
Squire who always traveled with him.
"What a wonderful surprise," said Slide. "May I offer you and
your Squire breakfast? We're having biscuits and gravy with
sausage, bacon and ham on the side. We have plenty."
"That actually sounds good. Thank you." The King's Squire took a
seat at the table, and Slide got up and served them both. The King
started to eat his breakfast. "Why aren't the two of you out on job
"Well, we do have some pending work to do on the Castle, but
we're waiting for the granite blocks to arrive from the
"Usually when you don't have work to do here, you're both busy
doing other projects. What's going on?"
Slide thought for a second, and then responded. "We're waiting
for work to come in the front door."
"I have to admit one thing-you do sound just like an
"Why do you say that, your Majesty?" asked Igor.
"Many architects market by sitting in their offices and waiting
for the phone to ring."
"A future thing. Don't worry about it. I don't think you would
use it. However, let me ask you a question. If you want more work,
where is it?" Slide and Igor looked at each other. They realized
another Master Class was now is session. Slide took the bait. "Your
Majesty, the work is located outside the office."
"Very well put, Slide," replied the King.
A sheepish smile broke out on Slide's face; he looked at Igor to
flaunt his pride of getting the answer right. He went back to his
biscuits and gravy.
"Now, I have another question. Igor, why don't you take this
one? If the work is located outside of the office, why are you
sitting inside the office?" Igor looked at Slide knowing it was a
"Your Majesty, the reason that Slide and I are sitting here-at
Slide's invitation by the way-is that we feel the best way to get
work is to be ready for it when it walks in the door."
"Good answer," said the King.
Igor looked very proud.
"But the absolutely wrong answer. You're both idiots."
Slide and Igor slumped down on their threelegged stools, and put
down their spoons.
"It's a lot of work to go out and talk to people," reasoned
"So, are you saying you have a free ride here?"
"Oh, no, no, no," said Igor in total fear.
"What's interesting is, it seems sometimes when firms get to a
certain level, unless they're managed by people with real business
sense, the tendency is to let their architectural work speak for
themselves. Design a beautiful building and the work will just
slide into the office without any effort. No pun intended,
"Are you saying that even firms that have several principals
have the same problem?"
"Yes. It's actually worse for them because they don't even know
they have a problem."
"So, what should we do?"
"It's real easy. If you don't have work, get out of the office.
Start with past clients. They're the easiest to get business from.
Then move on to your prospect list. Next, look at the associations
that your prospects belong to, and join them and start attending
meetings and joining committees. Make some speeches. You must
market, market and market. Step out of your comfort zone and go to
"You know, I just realized something, you're so right. I'm so
far behind in my marketing, I could spend the next month visiting
my past projects and clients."
"You're right," said Igor.
"You're both going to spend at least the next month doing
exactly that. Maybe longer."
"How's that going to happen, your Majesty?"
The King turned around and hailed a Knight in shining armor.
"Sir Knight, please notify the quarry to delay the shipment of
stone blocks for three months."
"Very well, you're Majesty." The Knight respectfully bowed, and
turned to leave. Another Knight took his place.
The King turned back toward Slide and Igor.
They were nowhere to be seen. They were both out of the
With the exception of an occasional guest appearance by the
author, any similarity to actual events or people living or dead is
Ronald A. McKenzie is president of COMPASS
Consultants Corp., a strategic planning and marketing company
specializing in developing business growth. He is a published
author and has made nationwide presentations on the subject of
strategic planning and marketing. He resides in Las Vegas and can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and