Home > Uncategorized > Maybe when you grow up and get bigger!

Maybe when you grow up and get bigger!


Have you ever had a meeting with someone who drew such a response from you (be it emotional, mental, or physical) that you had no other choice but to respond in some way?  I had the pleasure (said with dripping sarcasm) of this experience last week.  I’ll change the names to protect the guilty, but I think this event is a great chance to educate and clarify some important points. 

I had a meeting with a potential strategic partner over the last week, and during this meeting I was told that I, and my organization, was too new to be offering my services to anyone and that I had a lot of cohones for talking with some of the potential clients that I have been and expecting them to do business with us.  Truthfully, I took the better part of that as a compliment.  I trust in my ability and I know that as a new business owner that I have proving to do, but I will certainly not be ashamed or scared to talk with anyone.  That being said, there was more of the conversation that ensued and eventually I received an email response explaining why he didn’t want to work with, or partner with, me.  One point in particular sparked a deep emotion for me, especially as a performance consultant focusing on the human element.

The major point that was stated was that small businesses don’t really need to have a performance consultant come in because they already know what their people think and do, and don’t want an outsider coming in to tell them what they already know.  This is a huge mistake for any business owner/leader to believe!  In most cases business owners have started their business because they are really great at doing whatever it is they do, but a great doer does not a great leader/manager/owner make.  Obviously I fall in to the category of a small business owner who started a business based off of what they do well; it just so happens that what I do well is analyzing business and helping to make it stronger.  With that being said, I am NOT a financial person and couldn’t tell you the first thing about accounting.  I know that I need someone to take care of that for me.  I’m also not an advertising or graphic design person and, again, I need someone else to take care of that for me.  No one should ever expect to be an expert in everything within their business, no matter how big or small, which includes the people, processes, change management, communications, etc.  It can be easy to trick yourself in to thinking that you can be the “do-it-all” but the truth is that you can do serious damage to yourself and your organization attempting this.  Even in organizations with 5-15 people, there are areas that can be improved and help to take the organization to the next level.  Is that to say that there is always the opportunity for a performance consultant, or any other type of consultant to come in and help?  No.  That is where the leader(s) of an organization must make the truly tough decisions, and humble themselves enough to say, “Maybe we need some help.”

One of the greatest pieces of advice that I received from a leader that I greatly respect, Joan Garyantes, was that a great leader will not always have the answer but will surround themselves with people who do and seek and trust their council when necessary.  No matter the size of your organization, you can always benefit from professional council in areas that you may not have the most experience.  Don’t wait until things get to be too big and out of control before you seek that council.  Businesses that grow big have great support systems; make sure that your organization has that.

As always your time is appreciated for reading the Provative Biz Blog, and we hope that you will visit us at Provative.com as well.  Definitely let us know what you would like to hear about, and hopefully we can get it posted here!  Take care, until next time!

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  1. June 15, 2010 at 6:54 AM

    As I’m sure you’ll agree, it can be difficult for people to ask for help. There needs to be a level of trust before the relationship can truly be effective. That’s why I like this blog. Your expertise, focus and ideas are clearly articulated.
    Regarding your conversation, looks to me like you dodged a bullet. 🙂

    • June 15, 2010 at 4:15 PM

      As always, a pleasure to hear your weigh-in Dr. Loyd, and thank you for your kind words! Likewise, I genuinely enjoy reading your blog.

      Yes it certainly can be difficult to let go and ask for help, and sometimes the manifestation of that comes in really strange (and sometimes destructive) ways. Today I spoke with my colleague that referred me, just to give an update on this meeting and others, and expressed my feelings on the situation. To use the analogy that I utilized then, it felt as though I was dealing with an angry king cobra who was standing up tall with his hood fully extended, staring me down. I manuevered many different ways, and every direction that I moved there was a strike from the cobra as if defending a nest. Fortunately I didn’t engage and allowed for the situation to essentially fizzle out and calm down on it’s own, although believe me when I say that it was certainly a thought to retaliate. It was certainly a valuable lesson, that if nothing else there will always be people who are leaders by title (and/or by assumed entitlement) and yet by actions are so far away. I certainly was fortunate to discover this now, rather than connecting as a strategic partner and finding out later to both of our detriment.

  2. June 16, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    I really enjoyed reading this post, Christopher. It seems you and I are at a similar place in our professional lives. I, too, am a new entreprenuer in the same line of work as you. Thus far, I am happy to say all of the feedback I have received about my endeavors thus far has been positive. For us, I think it boils down to using discretion when taking on projects. I will not accept a project I am not confident I could handle, nor will I diminish the needs of a client simply so I can convince them I’m up for the task. Better to have a reputation for honesty and sincerity than to be known as someone that got in over his head.

    I also agree with Dr. Loyd that are you are better off for the conversation going the way it did.

    You have yourself a new follower for your blog. I look forward to reading future posts. Feel free to check out my blog if you are so inclined.

    Matt Waddell
    M. Waddell Consulting

    • June 17, 2010 at 8:21 AM

      Thanks for the kind words Matt! And a big congratulations on striking out and starting your own business. I definitely know and understand the challenges that you face. I agree about not taking on any jobs that aren’t a good fit. All too often consultants get tied up with the “I can’t let any business go” mentality, and then cause themselves great damage to their professional reputation because the project that they take on doesn’t produce the way that it could had it been the right fit.

      I think the thing that really disturbed me about the situation that I experienced was that I was not looking for this person and their organization to be a client; I was looking to partner with them and utilize them to provide a dimension of service that I have very little experience in! In any event, yes, it was for the best and I just found a different company to partner with yesterday to provide the services that I was looking for. Everything certainly does have a way of working out, and I am a firm believer in the saying “When God closes a door, He opens up a window.”

      I will certainly check out your blog, and I hope that you continue to enjoy the information that I post here. I’m still fairly new to writing blogs, and welcome any suggestions, critiques, or requests. I look forward to talking with you more in the future, and best of luck in all of your endeavors!

  1. June 14, 2010 at 10:14 PM

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