As a consultant, too often, I feel I’m telling my clients the obvious. After all, it doesn’t take me long to figure out what they should do next. I forget how immersed I am in my professional career and how much it has become second nature to me. In my years of consulting I have learned that there are three key components to helping a person or organization: expertise, experience and perspective.
I tell my clients that they are not paying for my time, but for my expertise. If you’re going to be helpful you have to understand your professional arena well, and expertise that’s paired with experience is a powerful combination. Expertise tells you that A + B = C , but experience knows that if you don’t start with B first and then add A, your C will not be good. Experience gives context to expertise and produces real-life applications.
While most people agree with expertise and experience being cornerstones of good counsel, some forget how important perspective is. Perspective is what helps you see the forest and not just the trees, and it’s perspective that helps you see the big obvious problem, while your client only sees the broken pieces caused by the real issue. Perspective brings fresh eyes to a tired situation and helps people see the elusive obvious.
I was reminded of that last week when getting a hair cut. I told the new hair stylist, “I have this callick and I can’t get my hair to lay down. What product do you recommend?” He looked at it for a minute and said, “have you ever combed it the opposite direction?” That was the most obvious of all questions. And the answer was “no. I’ve never even considered it.”
When was the last time someone brought fresh perspective in your life or business? What happened?