How Can I Help?
A simple question, and one that is asked in passing every day, usually by sales clerks in department stores or somebody else who’s job it is to try to get you to part with your hard earned dollars (or yen, or pounds, or shekels, or… “Alms for the poor? Alms for the poor?”).
And then there are those who claim to want to help you but are really looking to help themselves — again, usually by getting their hands on your money. Oh, they’ll provide the services they’re being paid for — sometimes provide it very well indeed — but there’s no… no soul to the relationship, none of the back and forth, the give and take that a real professional relationship between a consultant and their client or between an employer and a trusted employee really need to maximise the benefit to both — no “value add”.
(I swore to myself when I began writing this that I wasn’t going to use any business clichés, but there’s no other way I can find to express exactly what I mean — oh well, que sera sera.)
But what about those of us who genuinely are interested in helping our clients or our employers; who want to add that something “special” to the deal — that “something” that is so hard to put into words but which everyone recognises when they see it; when they experience it. How often are we drowned out or lost in the crowd of those who don’t provide that something “special”?
Take myself, for example: I know its a cliché but I get a genuine kick out of solving an organisation’s ICT issues; of helping an organisation cut through the ICT sales and technical jargon and come up with the right solution for that organisation, whatever the right solution happens to be; of providing my years of experience, knowledge, and learning in my own specialised area to my colleges in other area of business so as to help them achieve their goals, their objectives, their ambitions; of building that relationship and providing that something “special” (and even I can’t define it better than that, and I’m writing about it!); of, in short, leaving a place better than I found it.
And I’m no saint; I’ll admit it freely: I enjoy getting paid for what I do too.
And how do you, as a leader or a manager, find those rare individuals or companies that I’m talking about? Most, no all, automated recruitment systems — the “black holes” that the recruiters and the HR bloggers talk about so much on LinkedIn and other, similar places — those systems can’t capture that indefinable “something”; a large number of the recruitment agencies and agents don’t know how to express that special “something” that their candidate may have (when they even know their candidate well enough to identify it in the first place); and the candidates themselves don’t know how to express it; and so those individuals don’t make it through to the interview stage, or those companies never progress past the initial vetting stage, and so the trees with the sweetest fruit are lost among the forests of the mediocre.
And it’s particularly acute in my area of ICT, mainly because (I believe) there are so few ICT people who are any good at all in communicating with people outside their field, let alone the industry itself being around long enough to produce the number of Senior Executives that we need who understand and can interact with the other areas of business. That’s one reason so many ICT Projects fail (we’re still talking in the realm of a 70% failure rate, even after 35+ years of running ICT projects. Why?).
And because most business leaders and managers have no idea about ICT (and be honest with yourself here: how much do you really know about ICT — or, more importantly, about how ICT can help your organisation reach its goals and be a “value add” instead of a “cost centre” to your business — sorry, more business clichés) – because they know so little about ICT they end up taking the mediocre fruit (or worse yet, the sour fruit) while the sweet fruit withers on the tree or rots on the ground — and the saddest part about all of this is that people never know what they’ve missed out on, and that’s a real, real tragedy!
So, with all that said and done… how can I help?
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