Probably like many of you, I hustle to deliver the best possible outcome I can for my clients. I do my due diligence in advance of each engagement, sufficient homework and preparation of their nuances or preferences, show up early, stay late, and bring the full force of my education, knowledge, experience and talent to bear in improving their condition. I’ve long believed: expert first – speaker, consultant, or author second! As such, I’m blessed to be able to deliver some 50-60 global speaking and a dozen or so consulting and coaching engagements each year.

In the course of the last decade, I’ve met some incredible clients. They’ve been kind, considerate, smart, tough, astute, polished, and personable. Many have become friends and we’ve stayed in touch. I’ve helped others in times of transition or introductions to influential relationships to help support their personal or professional growth.

So it bugs me to no end when I come across the exact opposites: bureaucratic control freaks who care more about the damn input than the desired outcomes. I’m reminded of what a mentor told me once: power doesn’t corrupt; powerlessness corrupts! These people exude little to no presence and they can’t say yes, so they find ways to say no.

Here are some common traits:

  • They’re often the doers and not the thinkers! Low level pencil pushers who sweat the small, unnecessary stuff that few will notice or care about!
  • They’re never happy! You can bend over backwards to help and they have a knack for finding the cloud in midst of the silver lining! You could do 10 things right; they’re the first to point out the 1-2 things that didn’t go as well.
  • They’re defenders of the status quo. In an effort to offend no one, they engage no one! They can recite the rules back to you but can’t remember the last time anyone actually thought and executed an idea outside the box.
  • They throw the baby out with the bathwater. They nitpick and throw out entire ideas (that many have worked hard to create) because of a single issue.
  • They often confuse vibration with forward motion. They’re so busy with the minutia that they can’t pick up their heads and focus on the outcome.
  • When things go bad, they blame everyone else but themselves! If you continue to have multiple problems, maybe the only constant is you?

So here is my advice in working with these dimwits: Don’t!

I believe relationships go bad with misaligned expectations. So work really hard with your economic buyer (senior executive responsible for the evolution of the organization) on the strategic desired outcomes. “What’s the business outcome that we’re after because of this session, event, or engagement?” Very few people I know, put on events or engage outside advisers because they get bored! They’re looking to improve their condition. As such, they hire professionals, build a trusting relationship with them, and then let them bring their expertise toward that desired outcome.

It doesn’t matter how good I am. It only matters how good your people will be when we’re done working together! So, please, from brain surgeons to drivers, accountants to broad spectrum of experts and advisers – hire professionals and let them help you deliver the desired strategic outcome. The input matters far less!

Make it a great week.


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