The hardest lesson I ever learned in consulting was how to say “I don’t know.” Here I was, hired on for big bucks, and I didn’t know the answer. But I quickly learned that bluffing gets you nowhere fast. But we’ll come back to that…
In the mean time, I must say how completely impressed I am by Chuck Hollis’ blog postings. Employing guys like him is one of the reasons why EMC continues to dominate the storage market even as challenger after challenger takes them on. Sure, they’re not always right. And sure, Chuck’s as guilty of anyone of a little blogketing. But who isn’t?
Anyway, let’s take these two recent posts:
“As we look at our portfolio of services going forward, where are we going to need help getting good? And who can help us get good without keeping us dependent?
And, finally, who are you going to trust to do this for you?”
So asked Chuck yesterday in his piece about outsourcing and services. The emphasis is his, and I left it because I think it’s very relevant. As I’ve often said, people hire consultants for two reasons: Either they lack time and focus or they lack experience and knowledge. It makes sense to hire a consultant from EMC (or HDS or HP or whoever made it) to help you through the thickets and learn to really utilize a piece of equipment. Anyone can use a piece of hardware, but utilizing it (putting it to a practical purpose) takes knowledge, and an insider or expert is best.
Now for Chuck’s piece from today on information governance:
“Bottom line: these questions of “how do we manage information at a corporate level?” are all over the place if you look around, and more are coming every day.
And, rather than try and address them individually in an ad-hoc manner — with limited participation, measurement and evolution, the idea is to create a role of information governance function within the organization.”
This is the kind of work I do every day at Contoural. It’s difficult – but that’s why we get hired. Once again, companies lack the knowledge and focus to set up good data management policies. But of course, Chuck’s right that the primary effort and input comes from inside – I’m a coach, not a player when it comes to governance work.
We in IT like to try to pretend we know everything because we would never want the rest of the business to see the emperors clothes as it were. Everyone comes to us as the end-all knowledge guys, and we hate to disappoint them. But maybe it’s time we admitted that we don’t always have all the answers and that we could use some help.
So there we are – admitting that we don’t know the answer and that we need help. It’s hard for IT to do it, and harder for consultants. But we’re all people, and if we’re brave enough to admit our limitations we usually find out that the rest of the world respects that.