A colleague told me yesterday that a mutual client has called him by mistake, when they were trying to get hold of me. As the client launched into a detailed explanation of their challenges and voicing their ideas, he hadn’t been able to explain that they had dialled a wrong number until after a few minutes.
The thought crossed my colleague’s mind that the problem the client was describing might be something he could help them with. But on reflection he knew he had to stop the conversation and direct the call to the right person.
My colleague and I chatted about how important it was that the right person helps at the right time. The “presenting problem” is rarely the real issue. As a business consultant/coach, my role is to find the heart of the real issue, and to help suggest and implement some solutions. Sometimes it’s gut instinct, sometimes it’s noticing particular words, sometimes it’s just about asking the right questions.
Consultants are sometimes accused of borrowing your watch and then charging you to tell you the time. But if your problem is that you don’t know how to tell the time, then asking a consultant for help seems like a good idea to me.
Life is difficult, and there are enough challenges for each of us without having to feel like we must do everything on our own. Asking for help from the right person at the right time can sometimes be the difference between success and failure.
None of us knows what is going to happen in the future. And yet we are constantly making decisions that are based on what we think is going to happen in the future.
I was talking to a client today about how they should structure their companies (they operate a charity and a trading company). The answer lies in what they want to achieve, and to work backwards from there. The answer may be wrong, but the premise they base the decision on will be right.
When faced with a difficult decision, I learnt a long time ago that the best way of deciding was to toss a coin, having decided what to do if the coin lands heads up (it works best if there are only two possible solutions!). The hard bit is to listen to the little voice in your head that tells you whether you are glad, or sorry, with the result. Rather than go with the coin, always trust your gut reaction to the result.
This would suggest that we know what to do all along; it’s just that too often other factors crowd our thinking, making decisions harder to reach.
Even in business, unless there are compelling reasons to take one course of action over another, there seems to be a lot of sense in going back to the reasons why you are in business, remembering what you want to achieve, and start from there.
If there is one radio show guaranteed to make me change channels, it’s the Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2. Not because I have anything against Jeremy, it’s because, generally, the views of the public aired in response to the issues raised infuriate me. A couple of days ago, Jeremy conducted an excellent interview with a BBC correspondent about the Afghanistan non-election – a well informed, concise, detailed explanation of the issues. This was then ruined (for me) by uninformed points of view that added little or nothing.
Much has been written about the “demise” of the Birmingham Post, and the genuine concern at what will happen to the journalists who are losing their jobs. I sincerely hope that those skilled at writing will find new employment, albeit in a different market. I would far rather read, or listen, to someone who knows their subject and can present it well, than someone who writes and broadcasts just because they can.
The proliferation of Blogs, and the ability for anyone to write when, and on whatever subject they choose, has been cited as the end of quality reporting. I would disagree. I have more faith in readers and listeners exercising their choice to read and listen to what they like, and to switch off what they don’t like.
I also believe that there is a duty for those who know what is going on to share their knowledge and expertise.
Interesting business breakfast this morning. Good pitch by a local authority strategic director.
Raised a chicken and egg question: which come first, the housing or the jobs? This is made particularly tough by the fact that each is “managed” by a different body. How quickly can a local authority react to a change in business needs? Would you locate to where the staff are, or base yourself in a place you like to live? Which can be changed quicker: the skills, or the availability of staff?
Must be a tough job predicting what we will need in 10 years time when most folk don’t know what they will have in 10 weeks time.
Attended the launch of Creative Republic last night in Coventry. Having lived and worked in and around the city for many years, it never ceases to amaze me how much there is going on and to see here. And yet…
How is it the city still has an air of despondency, why can’t it find the key to successfully promoting itself, what will it take for outsiders to take it seriously?
It struck me that there is a comparison with our economy at the moment. On the surface, it’s all doom, gloom and despair, and yet underneath there is a vibrant and enthusiastic marketplace.
What will it take to change the perception? Maybe those who exist to make money at other people’s expense need to visit Coventry.