A person walks into the doctor’s office with a series of symptoms. He is not feeling well at all. After several visits, and no marked improvement, his doctor sends him to a specialist. The specialist charges a premium for his services, only half of his fee is covered by insurance. The person is in so much pain, all he cares about is being healed by the specialist… at almost any cost. When the doctor orders a couple of lifestyle changes, along with a short-term medication, the man looks at the specialist in amazement. “How could you come up with such an easy solution to such excrutiating pain?” the man asks. The doctor shares with him that his education, experience and overall background has given him the ability to make simple and straightforward diagnoses and recommendations. “Most people don’t pay attention and follow the doctor’s orders,” the good doctor shares with his patient. “Too often, they think they know how to best handle the situation,” he adds. The man leaves his doctor’s office wondering what to do next. The simple prescription to solve all of his pain just sounded too good to be true. “I will have to figure out how to use this recommendation in my overall treatment plan,” the man concludes.
When a business leader brings in the specialist to solve a problem or to implement a technology solution, why is this same story repeated? The client believes the path to follow must fit within a certain set of predetermined boundaries. Perhaps the specialist is not able to communicate effectively. Or in the unregulated arena of business and technology specialists, there have been one too many negative experiences.
As a leader, we must assess situations and understand the expected results of decisions made. Especially when taking a different path than is recommended by the specialist. Once a specialist is selected to help with a problem or implement a solution, heed their advice. Understand why a particular path is chosen. Ask questions and watch the reactions. The real specialist who knows what they are doing will gladly walk you through an explanation. At that point you should get to the point of thinking the “doctor knows best”.
What are some effective ways leaders can assess the proposed solutions and projected results?