Monday, August 24, 2009

Little Boxes

We live in a world of specialization.

The person with a doctorate may well be eloquent but ignorant when speaking outside of his or her field of study. Graduate schools contain some of the brightest and dumbest of our citizens and, depending on the subject, those qualities may be found in the same person.

When it comes to advice, we are not far from the days where we bought thread in one shop and needles in another. Our consulting firm often gets referrals from attorneys with clients whose problems stem more from management fumbles than from legal ones. We, in turn, send people to law firms or to mental health professionals and other specialists.

I've seen some cases where the best strategy is to get the experts together in the same room in order to work out a comprehensive approach rather than bounce from source to source for six months or more. Doctors are ahead of other professionals in adopting that technique.

This simply recognizes how various subjects connect. It is difficult to grasp certain situations without some knowledge of law, psychology, history, economics, language, management, and more mixed in with a bunch of street smarts. Even then, we may be reaching in the dark.

Learning the potential connections is a marvelous way to foster humility.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Humility is the operative word, I agree 100%.
Referring somebody may the best for the customer but is it the best for you? The customer generally doesn't want to pay you for the advice to see a specialist, it just shows you don't know what you are doing, even with the benefit of your vast amount of experience and knowledge. Will the specialist see this as an opportunity to suggest the customer no longer uses your services but use another company they are involved with. In a world where people are quite happy to brag how they shafted somebody or stabbed them in the back, in the name of 'it's just business'. Logical honest advice is hard to come by, and even undervalued. When it comes to consultant advice you don't always 'get what you pay for', just because it was expensive or voluminous doesn't make it good. Ironically, I just took a call from a potential client, I could have done what they asked and I would have made money, but they weren't quite on the right train. I choose to refer them, to give them the best advice, for which I get nothing. Am I a winner or a loser, I guess it depends on who you talk too. At least I am happy.