As consultants, we often need to create perspective. That’s because if we simply and uncritically compare issues and performance around us, we may find we’re on the fast track to the lowest common denominator.
The media fill the air with bad news because that attracts higher ratings than good news. (Do you know that Apple just had a phenomenal quarter, but when results were announced the stock declined?) We become inured to volatility (the market hit a record yesterday). We lack the knowledge to make sound comparisons (compare the US and Canadian health systems or anything else all day long, but Canada is less than one tenth the population of the US, less pluralistic, and with far fewer global accountabilities).
The social media exacerbate the problem, because anyone with a keyboard and an opinion is suddenly an “expert.” (If I hear one more person describe themselves as an “internet marketing expert” I’m going to fall down laughing.) We have people running for school boards, state legislatures, even Congress who have no idea what they’re doing or supposed to do, and we have too many voters choosing candidates on a single position on a single issue (“Do you believe in grass feeling pain or not?”).
With our clients, we have to disabuse them of lack of perspective and false comparisons. What does “good to great” mean? Why would you think the customer is always right? Do you really need “world class” accountants? Why can’t you abandon a market?
Of course, this presupposes that you have an accurate and evolving perspective. That requires continual learning, the courage to voice an opinion, and intellectual firepower. Those traits will place you well in the front of the pack.
At least, that’s my perspective.
© Alan Weiss 2013