No One Knows What They Are Doing

I’m a bit rattled. I read a rattling read by TheHRD titled The Disposable Consultant. Briefly, he compares the role of consultant to that of the expendable cannon fodder of war before going on to say that when a consultant is appointed to deliver a difficult project, it will fail because neither side knows what they are doing. The appointer will kick the appointee out, blame them and watch as they ride off to fleece work with the next client. I recommend you read the post for yourself (the beautifully crafted swear at the conclusion is great and worth a look in itself).

My first reaction was one of anger, then I laughed it off. I guess he’s had some bad experiences, and we’ve all had some of those eh?

A couple of hours later I re-read the post.

Then when it all goes badly, as it inevitably will (because you don’t know what you’re doing and neither do they), you blame it on them, turf them out and move on to the next one.

This time, something different happened. This time, I felt surprise. It will inevitably all go badly because:

you don’t know what you’re doing and neither do they

And what, exactly, is so wrong with that? Maybe I’m just lucky but I am often asked to get involved in projects with uncertain, even unknown outcomes. Watching something evolve and being able to help co-create it and learn from it is exciting. If you really know what you are doing and where you are going, and so do they – then a) how dull is that and b) do you even need each other in the first place?

I don’t know what I’m doing and neither do they. And so long as we both know it, that’s just how I (and apparently they) like it. How about you?

4 thoughts on “No One Knows What They Are Doing

  1. Alison Ashford

    Nicely put Doug. There’s a lot to be said for being comfortable with ‘not knowing’. For me, not knowing is about having the confidence as well as the competence to allow things to unfold. To not head straight for the apparent comfort of formulaic solutions, and instead to be open-minded and curious. Discoveries come from exploring, allowing a bit of uncertainty and risk to be there along the way. It’s how we learn and grow and that suits me just fine 😉 Alison

    Reply
    1. Doug Shaw Post author

      Thanks Alison – I wish I’d written what you wrote. But then – I didn’t know about it so I couldn’t 🙂 Seriously, thanks for the lovely way you have described how I was feeling.

      Reply
  2. David

    Spot on Doug. Creative problem solving in the face of uncertainty or even adversity is the lifeblood of business. Without this work is just work.

    Reply
    1. Doug Shaw Post author

      David, yes to creativity in the face of uncertainty. It happens all too rarely in my experience. Cheers!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *