No need for daylight knobbery

July 5, 2020

How do you affect other people? What impact would you like to have?

What impact do others have on you? Is it the impact you would like them to have?

Is the affect you have on others the impact they would like you to have on them?

Some years ago, professional services businesses thought they had this stuff nailed. All hail the tech, training and process redesign that was CRM – Client Relationship Management.  Management consultants and business gurus, like sweaty chimps in the banana aisle at ASDA, were falling over themselves to sell their own trade-marked “system”, all beating their chests to the CRM beat.

And a little bit of me died inside.

If you fancy a cheese sandwich, the essential elements are the bread and the cheese plus your knowledge of where to locate these elements in your house. I put it to you, that you do not need a Cheese Relationship Management system. You do not need a process map, or to roll-out train-the-trainer academies, or an on-line multi-choice learning experience program. What you need is just to make a cheese sandwich.

I say professional services businesses do not need Client Relationship Management. We just need people to care about each other, and for business not to make us afraid to care.

Business has a habit of first making people fearful of making a mistake, then getting grumpy when people don’t do things because of their fear of making a mistake. To overcome the fear that the business created, it will invest in expensive programs to train people to overcome the fear the business gave them. The training message is: “Don’t be afraid to be yourself, unless being yourself is not good enough”. However, this just creates a whole new level of fear. Business, then frustrated with the limited impact of the training, will ignore what it said the training was about, and promote the people who show no fear, while punishing the people who are still fearful.

Showing no fear in these circumstances is a lead indicator of daylight knobbery. It is the cleverest and surest way I know to ensure your arseholes rise to the top.

But surely, we need our people to have the right behaviours? The sort of behaviours that guarantee our success? Surely we need to tell them how to do this?

What I am about to say may sound harsh. I mean it to sound harsh. Professional services businesses for generations have secured the wealth of their owners by putting fees before behaviours. Expediency is the key value that unlocks success.

For too many businesses, leadership has become an oversimplified ambition to secure the wealth of the owners. The only judgement then applied to how this happens is based on one six-word question, “Does he bring the fees in?” The only time this gets even more chilling is when it becomes an eight-word question, “Yes but, does he bring the fees in?”.

The world is changing, but we need to accelerate the pace of change. We do not need a process map to make a cheese sandwich and we do not need any Client Relationship Management systematic bollocks to be human.

The questions I posed at the start have their answers in the people we are.

  • How do you affect other people? Ask them. Listen to them.
  • What impact would you like to have? Be kind, and care, and see what happens.
  • What impact do others have on you? Tell them. Ask them to listen to you.
  • Is it the impact you would like them to have? Tell them. Ask them to keep listening to you.
  • Is the affect you have on others the impact they would like you to have on them? Ask them and keep listening to them.

You have wonderful gifts. A talent to learn, an intellect to admire, and skills that give you an opportunity to make the world a rather better place, one person at a time. Above all you are human. I think it might be a winning combination on planet Earth.

Take care.

Paul x

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