The business writing and consulting industry is built on two faulty premises: 1) we always have a problem in one of their areas of expertise and 2) we can successfully copy their solutions into our specific situations. Both lead to a never-ending "Fluff Cycle" of trying to implement pre-packaged solutions, failing to solve our real problems, and then seeking the next silver bullet. We end up propagating a similar cycle with our customers because our unsolved problems are still impeding the creation and delivery of real value. To break the cycle and evolve faster, we need to identify and solve our own problems. Given our central and constant interaction with customers, strategic planning, product development, and operations, Sales & Marketing is in the ideal organizational position to lead this.

But first we need to understand why problems exist, and that starts with the incredibly powerful, yet often fallible, human brain. Because of the way the brain evolved, it acts like 3 interconnected brains that constantly change our thought and behavior patterns based on stimuli, needs, and memory. Despite the way it feels, the vast majority of our thinking and decisions occur unconsciously through a series of mental shortcuts that favor speed and efficiency over accuracy and thoroughness. As a result, we are very biased and easily influenced by others and our surroundings - leading to complex problems that just cannot be solved with gut feel or conscious logic. To solve these types of problems, we need to be more scientific and experimental than we typically have been trained. But when we do solve our problems properly, we will produce far better business results with significantly less waste and frustration (and our work might even become enjoyable again).
"This is a must read for anyone who has ever engaged a consultant or is thinking of engaging a consultant to solve their marketing and sales problems. Too often business leaders are looking for that silver bullet and turn to consultants to deliver the tried and true formula for success - and are disillusioned when they don't realize the promised results. What these canned solutions don't do, is replace the actual root cause analysis, strategic planning , project execution and other basics necessary to develop real, lasting , and dynamic solutions to the challenges specific to that business and the changing competitive landscape."

"The Fluff Cycle is a “must read” for all business professionals, not just those in Sales and Marketing. As a CFO it enabled me to not only better understand (and support) the challenges our Sales and Marketing organizations face, but equipped me with the tools and thought processes necessary to identify and solve business problems within finance. The humorous and conversational writing style of the author kept me engaged throughout the book, and the relevant concepts left me energized to influence change in my own organization. The “bottom line” takeaway – we CAN all make a difference and positively affect the change we all desire, but we need to assume the ownership to bring it to fruition."
"The Emperor's New Clothes is one of the most important business books written. The Fluff Cycle is another. We have all seen, or had forced on us, books about "leapfrogging" or other easy steps to success. Like diets, they are not effective, or "fluff" as Mr. Wahba says. The issue is that running a business is a complicated, changing process that requires a careful process, even to make modest improvements. This book is a roadmap that provides two important insights: 1) Gaining success is not easy but requires careful effort 2) The task is best done by those working for the firm; not some outsider. If you want to dance around the edges of the problem, read something else. If you really want to make improvements, get The Fluff Cycle"
"This is a very good reference for data-driven problem solving methodologies. It's helpful for both those who are not very experienced with problem solving methods and those who want to advance their undertanding in this arena. The author very skillfully incoporates roles and understanding of company culture in problem creation and resolution. This makes the book a very practical guide to understanding the origins of business problems and a hands on, data driven approach to problem resolution. As someone who works in product development, it was very refreshing to read a book that makes complex problems and issues easy to understand and objectively breaks them down for everyday work situations."
About the Author:
After overcoming the childhood stigma of his last name, Brent Wahba spent over 20 years in the automotive industry where he saw the world, led many teams and functional groups, and learned all about office politics and dysfunctional organizations. Though quite anxious to leave, when a former boss called and asked him to consult, he promptly said $@#% NO!!! Not deterred, this gentleman convinced Brent that there really was a different model of consulting - one that helps clients uncover and solve their own problems and it actually works.

Brent went on to start Strategy Science Inc. ( ) an "anti-consulting" network that does just that in Adaptive Strategic Planning & Execution, Product Development Process and Culture Change, and Sales & Marketing Problem Solving. Today he helps start-up through Fortune 500 companies in R&D, healthcare, pharmaceutical, power generation, architecture, engineering, construction, production, controls, software & IT, military, consumer products, agriculture, materials, legal, banking, investment, and transportation industries (to name a few). He also gives talks, teaches classes, participates on professional group boards, and is a volunteer small business mentor with SCORE.

When not living in airport terminals, Brent spends his time cooking, travelling, and shoe shopping with his lovely, intelligent, and very tolerant wife, Patty; teaching their snarky yet adorable cat, Sophie, tricks; and having meaningful business theory debates with his sheep, Jesús (hay-seus).

Copyright 2012, Brent Wahba