The knowledge trap

It’s not usually required that you share everything you know with a client. They don’t need access to every aspect of your expertise to get value from your services.

When we first encounter a client’s problem, it’s so exciting to view it from the perspective of all the things you could do to elevate their situation. If they just get with your program, follow it from start to finish, never skipping a step or going off on tangents, the change could be astronomical.

It’s true that clients may view you as the silver bullet for whatever their situation. They want everything you know. The challenge then is knowing which knowledge they need to know and when they need to know it. And when they don’t respond in predictable ways, knowing how to guide them.

It’s not what you know. it’s knowing what to share and when.

Here's something we can agree on

If you’re having trouble convincing someone of the best way forward, perhaps you are going about it the hard way.

Humans all have the same needs - safety, shelter, food and water, belonging, love and connection, to be respected by others, to feel fulfilled. There’s a reason Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has endured for decades.

Yet we all have different ways of getting our needs met. Our beliefs determine our actions and getting others to agree with our beliefs is hard. But what if instead, you find the need you share? What if agreeing on the outcome is all it takes?

Taj James, found and Executive Director of the Movement Strategy Centre talks about how much time we spend wanting people to believe what we believe as opposed to working towards the same outcomes. Say for example, you want to establish a new community garden in your neighbourhood because of your belief that eating home grown produce is healthier than eating conventionally farmed produce. Your neighbour also wants to see a new community garden in her neighbourhood because she believes kids can benefit from learning how to garden. You don’t have to share the same beliefs but you both want the same outcome.

We are always going to have different needs to our clients. We need to work within our process. Our process might be too arduous or take too long for our clients. An emergency to our client is a just another step towards their goal to us. Your process might be evolving while some of your clients will want to work with you the way they always have.

Your job is not to convince them that your way is the best way. It’s to find the outcome you both agree on and work back from there.