The world – and LinkedIn in particular – seems to be full of business experts.
People who have the ultimate solution to your problem, whether about leadership, coaching, sales, hiring, AI and technology, and countless other issues we all face as business owners, employees and individuals.
Some of them, no doubt, have earned their expert status: they have a visible track record of succeeding, including in difficult times and situations. They have been there and done it and they have good stories and advice to offer.
But many, it seems, are only especially good at one thing: self-promotion. My LinkedIn and social media field is full of pithy slogans, quotations, advice and instant solutions from gurus and experts. Undoubtedly, some of it has merit. A well-timed quotation or story might help to change your thinking on a sticky problem. But a lot of it is as useful as a chocolate teapot – and a good deal of the “I once…” stories from some influencers likely never happened and are written by ghost writers. And yet, some of this stuff gets thousands of reactions and the producers hailed as masterminds.
The actual work I do every day with clients is never as simple as trotting out some well-worn one liners: it’s not as easy as getting a company to focus on its “why”, or hiring someone who didn’t fit the job requirement, or just telling a Chief Executive not to give a f*!$!
Don’t get me wrong. I use quotations, stories, theories and models in my work as much as the next consultant. They are helpful in demonstrating ideas, focusing thinking and illustrating the points I want to make to the people I’m working with. But I try to make sure that they are sourced well, researched and practical – and most importantly framed in the context of the work I’m engaged to do.
The unfortunate truth is that there is no such thing as a quick fix, a fool proof system or any guaranteed method for success – personally or organisationally. What I, and most hard-working consultants do, takes time, experience and, dare I say it, some expertise. Because every client and every individual we work with is different, with unique backgrounds, ambitions, and views of the world. And even with all of that it doesn’t always work.
I don’t want to stand in the way of anyone making a living or generating an audience, but there has to be some substance behind the stuff people put out.
Perhaps I’m just a little jealous of the gurus. Perhaps it’s just the end of a long week and a LinkedIn message I just got has niggled me. Or do I have a point? Are there too many business experts? Let me know your thoughts.