Would you buy a cookbook from someone who hadn’t been near a kitchen in anger for decades? Or learn to drive from an instructor who last saw a car when they had someone walking in front with a red flag?
How about someone teaching you to shoot, who only had a track record in making bullets? Or have your house built by a plumber?
How about a mountain guide that had never been outside of Holland?
I’m sounding ridiculous, right?
When you’re looking for advice, when you’re looking for someone to help, when you’re looking for a friendly hand to guide, when you want expertise…..when you NEED expertise. Then, you want someone who has been there, taken the blows, dodged the bullets and made it out the other end. You want someone who, themselves, has done the hard miles.
So why in the world of work do we take advice from people who have come no closer to running a business than I have to running a marathon? I could tell you how to run after a bus…but that would be the limit of my experience. And you’d be foolish to listen to me on anything further.
On a daily basis, I hear lawyers telling me how to run a business. Now anyone who has ever provided HR support for a legal department will tell you that lawyers are amongst the worse people managers since Attila the Hun hung up his axe. They are great at providing legal advice, but after that….not so much.
And how about the consultants that have “worked” in HR. The ones that when you check their Linkedin profiles haven’t actually been in any organisation of any size since Margaret Thatcher was in power.
Or they just had a sucky job in a sucky company.
I don’t want to beat up on consultants, or lawyers, or anyone. Well maybe a few people, but I’m going to shelve that now and focus on my professional persona.
For the best part of 20 years, I’ve been slogging my butt in to organisations and trying to make them a better place to be for the people who work there. From the CEO to the cleaner. For everyone. And I do it because I honestly believe it makes the world of work a better place.
So I completely resent being told how to do my job better, by people who have no idea of the realities of an organization, of my daily life, of business in the 21st century.
I don’t mind thoughts, I don’t mind suggestions, I don’t mind specific points of knowledge. I am not against collaborative working. That is all good.
I’m an HR Director, I have skills, I have experience, I have knowledge, I have expertise. Every day I hone these as I work to do the right thing for my company and my employees. I bring something to the party.
And if you work in HR, so do you.
So next time someone is telling you that you should be doing this, that or the other. Ask them….when did you do that? When was the last time that you succeeded in deploying that in an organisation? What was the result?
What experience do you have that can complement MY experience?
And if they can’t answer that question to your satisfaction, then show them the door. They add no value.
And I tell you now, I won’t be listening to them. And nor should you.