I remember my first onsite meeting with my first consulting client who was not a doctor. I had been a medical management consultant and transition analyst for more than ten years, and a medical manager for five years before that, but most of my experience with computers came from crawling around under a desk, phone clamped between my shoulder and my ear, while some exasperated help desk staffer tried to talk me though plugging a printer cable into the right port. So being introduced to a room of IT professionals as “our new consultant” was terrifying.
All I could think in that moment was, “I know NOTHING about what these people do all day.”
Then I remembered what Dr. Wiklund said about why he hired me, in spite of my lack of medical experience; “You knew business, you knew systems, and you knew people. I figured you’d see my practice with that experience and intelligence, but with a beginner’s mind.”
So I looked around the conference table, at people who were not doctors, nurses, or medical managers — people who did work I couldn’t even imagine and spoke a language I couldn’t understand, and I said something like this; “I don’t know much about what you do here, so I’m going to start by asking questions about what you do that will help you discover possibilities for you to do it more effectively, efficiently, and profitably than you’re doing it now. Some of those questions are going to be stupid, and go nowhere. And some of them are going to be stupid and go somewhere you never thought you could go. Are you game?”
The truth is, I don’t remember what I said. I’m sure it wasn’t eloquent. It’s hard to be eloquent when you’re shaking in your high-heeled pumps. But whatever I said to them that day, asking “stupid” questions is still a large part of what I challenge my clients to do.
As entrepreneurs, we love new ideas. But as human beings, we shy away from the unknown. We’d like to believe there are some immutable truths about business, about our industry, about our lives. Read more…