Beware of Gurus Bearing Gifts

experts_thumb“Sir, you look even more lost in thought than usual,” I ventured, starting off the weekly conversation between myself and The Effective Detective.

The Detective turned to me slowly, and glared balefully at me before replying, “Watson, have I told you recently that your powers of sarcasm seem to be increasing weekly?”

“Perhaps, sir,” I answered.

“No matter Watson, you are correct, I am thinking about a situation recently, and I am still amazed that I needed to catch myself to avoid making an investment that would not have paid off for me,” the Detective recovered.

“Sir?”

“On a recent webinar on list building, Watson. I was so engaged by the gentleman’s content, I found myself totally prepared to invest in his program,” The Detective paused, always a signal to me to jump in with some witticism or sarcastic remark.

“There is a problem with investing in a program that you find well presented sir?”

“No Watson, there is a problem with investing in a program that while well presented is absolutely useless to our efforts at this point in time. This program, no matter how good, does not fit our current marketing efforts, and would most likely ended up as shelfware, or Google Drive ware, for all the use we would have gotten out of it. We business people love our gurus Watson. We slavishly follow them, hanging on their every word and investing in their programs as long as the budget allows. The problem is, we do not think about how this or any other program offered may fit into our strategic plan. We simply know this person is smart and successful, the very image of a ‘guru’ so to speak, and because of our ‘knowledge’ of this, we are blindly willing to follow.”

“What can be done for this – what sounds like a universal – affliction sir?” I asked, now genuinely curious.

“The answer is simple Watson, simply keep your head on. Remember what your strategy is, and evaluate every tool against your goals, and the path you have chosen to follow to reach said goals. It is easy, whilst we are in the early stages of our business or new business area, to become frustrated and begin flailing around looking for that silver bullet…”

“The silver bullet does seem to be a recurring theme, sir,” I interjected.

“Indeed, Watson. Only because it is so prevalent in so many business people’s minds. We dearly desire to be told the path to success, unfortunately, there are as many paths as there are business people following them. There truly is no right or wrong way to success, there is only your own way. The trick is to find coaches and aides that come close to your way as possible, because they can help you avoid at least some of the pitfalls that lay along your path.” The Detective finished, and looked satisfied that we had taken this subject to its logical conclusion.

“So we are free to discuss another subject sir?” I inquired carefully.

“Indeed, Watson, but we shall save that for another week,” The Detective answered, and turned back to his computer.

 

Helping Hands

helping_hands“Sir, have you ever noticed the tendency of people to immediately find fault with ideas you might have rather than offering support? ” I began our weekly conversation.

“Watson, that is a tiresome point. Surely you have a more worthy complaint? ” The Effective Detective answered with what sounded like a bit more irritation in his voice than usual.

“Perhaps I am thinking more of the roadblocks people set up for you once you start down the path, especially when you ask for assistance,” I replied.

“Ah, now there are two sides of the same coin. You know of course of the Maryland Crab Barrel Principle, Watson? ” The Detective responded sounding more animated by the minute.

“Of course, sir, that the other crabs in a barrel will pull down one who is starting to climb above the others,” I answered.

“Precisely Watson, whether it is to drag them back down to their level or to try to climb over them after they have started the job, the effect is the same, the crab trying to escape is brought down. The roadblock problem you speak of is similar. You will hear people are busy or offer the same type of discouragement that was as offered before. Two sides of the same coin,” The Detective paused looking at me expectantly.

“Yes sir, but I was hoping for an answer to the problem rather than an explanation! ” I exclaimed, perhaps a bit more sarcastically than I intended.

If the Detective was perturbed by my outburst, he did not show it. Rather he gave me that half-smile that I knew meant I had fallen into one of his traps, and began quietly, “Just so Watson. For the first, I have no solution other than the obvious: ignore them. You will rarely find support from fearful people who think it best to bring you down rather than try to better themselves. Better to keep your mouth shut, if you wish to continue to associate with such people – or you have no choice, as with family, or abandon them for more like-minded acquaintances.

“But for the second there are multiple choices that one can proceed with; for brevity I will discuss only two. The first and most obvious is also the most painful. Do not ask for assistance, or ask for only the most minimal amount. This goes against all time management teachings and restricts the amount of work you can accomplish, but it is very controllable and the only person you can disappoint is yourself,” The Detective paused, allowing me to interject.

“That seems a stupid way to work!” I exclaimed.

“I did not indicate the wisdom or stupidity of such a choice, Watson, merely that it exists, and some would say there is wisdom in learning some of the pitfalls and choices to a path before asking others to join. However there is another way. That is to lay every thing out in excruciating detail, leave nothing to chance. Detail the way. Then, if someone objects, you can be fairly certain they are merely trying to pull the lead crab down, no matter what their reasoning is. At that point you can move away from them and do that part yourself or find another.” The Detective finished.

That seems to be putting the burden on yourself no matter which path you choose,” I said, feeling a little put off.

“Who is benefitting from the effort after all is said and done, Watson? “

“Ah, well-played sir, ” I answered knowing the answer.

“Let us move on Watson ” The Detective smiled, ending today’s discussion.