I spend a lot of time at professional meetings. Often there ends being a conversation at some point about “client control.” This is where professionals sit around a debate who should control the client relationship and what profession is best positioned to do so.
Every time I listen to one of these conversations I’m first annoyed and then repulsed. I don’t know about you, but having anyone talk about how they’re going to control someone makes no sense to me. Our job in the advisory business is to not control you, but help you discover what you want and then develop strategies with you to get an outcome you desire.
You need to be the expert at your life.
You might decide to bring in outside advice. You might decide to use advice you have within your company. Under both circumstances the advice you bring in should be about you and not about what your experts think you should do. This means you have to be willing to take personal responsibility for your own life.
Every once in a while I run across someone who wants me to decide what they should do. In the past, I would provide them with an answer. When I did this I often found I was making suggestions that would work for me, and not necessarily my client.
When I worked in this way, implementation was low. I finally figured out why. I was providing my solution and not my client’s solution. Once I started helping people figure out what they wanted to do and why it was important, implementation became much higher.
It’s all about you.
Never forget that any planning or strategic work that you do is all about you. It’s not about what I think you should do, it’s only about what you want in your life. Ask yourself some of the following:
- Will what you’re about to do make your life better?
- Are you willing to take actions that will get you a result you want?
- Are you clear on why you want to do what you’re about to embark on?
- Does the program that you’ve agreed to make sense to you?
- Do you understand what you’re about to do?
If the answer to any of these questions is I don’t know or I don’t want to do these things, then it’s up to you to say, “Stop.” Any planning you do, any advice you get, and any strategic activities you start are all about you. It’s not about your advisor, and it’s not about a key employee. It has to fit in with what you want and you must be the expert in what you want. Otherwise, you might get something you really don’t want.
Keep it simple
I find the more complicated a project becomes, the harder it is to understand. If your project is becoming too complicated it’s OK to say stop, I want to do this in pieces. If you can’t figure out how to do it in pieces and the people helping you can’t do so, then it’s probably best to call time-out until you can find a way to simplify things.
We all have lots of things going on in our life. The project that makes the most noise isn’t always the one we should do. It’s the project that’s the most important with the least amount of effort. That’s the project you want to pay attention to. That’s the one that will likely provide you with the best value. The only way this happens is if you are willing to be the expert and take control about what goes in your life. Your advisors are here to help, not control.
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