Those as old as I am will remember Bob Barker’s first game show, Truth or Consequences. This article is not about Bob or his game show. However, the title of that famous show is a catalyst to the message.
Recently I had the opportunity to speak with a business consultant or business coach as he called himself. This consultant worked in a different industry than the industry I call home. It’s always interesting to explore the thoughts of others too many become static as they live in the atmosphere of sameness. The conversation was intriguing and disturbing. This consultant believed that the truth was not his deliverable he believed that whatever his client wanted to hear he would deliver as truth, and he hoped his client would pay the consequences after he cashed their check.
Either outside my industry or inside I find the weakness of experts, in telling the truth, deplorable to say the least.
Today the industry I call home, and many others must modify as their deliverables become less important to their customers desired outcomes or the fact that some desired outcomes are quickly becoming irrelevant in today’s innovative world. As things modify causing pain to the way it was. It’s a natural reaction to avoid or dismiss thoughts of impending doom. Many will seek the comfort of those they agree with hoping sameness will somehow circumvent the demands of newness, and some will seek help to improve. They will seek the experts in hopes that the investment will allow them to continue winning. Those who hire consultants are looking for a coach to teach and train them to overcome the struggles or obstacles which impede their growth. They're looking for someone to help guide and coach them through the required tough decisions and needed actions.
I remember as a child in school who attempted to participate in basketball. As I dribbled the ball regardless how bad. Those third-grade cheerleaders made me feel great as they cheered at my obvious incoordination or lack of any skills to the game. Well, the coach he wasn’t about to cheer he thought a discussion of why I should practice harder, and how improvement will only come through the application of my willingness to improve. The coach told me what I needed to hear not what I wanted to hear.
It may have taken a few years after the third grade for me to learn that no one should ever pay for cheerleaders they are free. However, coaching comes at a cost. The pain of improvement will always conflict with the temporary comfort in ignoring the truth. Coaches don’t cheer you on to make you feel good when they know you're not trying, Coaches, don’t tolerate one’s lack of fortitude in improving. Coaches don’t change statistics, so your deficiencies look better, coaches will fire those who won’t listen. Coaches want their clients to win, and when the client doesn’t have the desire, and the coach can’t motivate their desire the good coach will always tell them the truth; the good coach will say “this game, is not for you.”
Insecure consultants attract insecure clients. They will sell their clients smiles and take from them the opportunity to truly improve. The consequences caused by these smiling jackasses can be devastating. Instead of helping you clear out the debris on an old path, or lead you in forging a new path. The insecure consultants at the first sign of your unwillingness to do what’s needed they back off and allow you to go on a path of your choice one they know you shouldn't travel. But won't jeopardize their payday by telling you something they’ve determined is too painful for you to hear.
“The pasture of least resistance is where the insecure graze together; this pasture is adjacent to the field of opportunity.”
So next time you meet with or hire a consultant, remember this. If you are seeking the truth in how to improve look for those who challenge you more than agree with you, look for those who tell you what you need to hear not what they think you want to hear. “The pain of the tough decision needed for improvement is only appreciated by those willing to improve.”
The consequences of prolonged stagnation will cripple a company. So, make sure the truth you’re getting is the truth you need not a distorted story of the facts disguised as truth to make you feel good.
Remember the truth is always better than the consequences of denying it.