Steve Roesler: Tom, This is one of my favorite topics. (using experts wisely)
Tom: Thanks for stopping by. It's a favorite of mine also.
Steve: I've always thought of my role as an orchestra leader who, at some point in the concert, joins the band. By the end of the program--if I've done my job well--I'm sitting in the audience applauding.
Tom: That's a great metaphor for anyone providing useful information. When we experts "end up in audience", we have shared power, seen viewpoints outside our own and valued the "total production" after the end users joined in.
Steve: One of the most lethal dynamics in consulting/facilitating takes place when the "expert" views the others as "patients" who have "problems." These kinds of "experts" see their clients as "sick" in some way...and the clients pick up on that very quickly and with understandable resentment.
Tom: Excellent insights! I've seen the same dynamic with product designers/tech salespeople who find the customer to be "too stupid to appreciate a good product". Likewise with college professors who think the students' failing the course is no reflection of them, their teaching methods or their approach to providing useful information. In every case, fingers are getting pointed at "sick patients with problems" by experts with some kind of immunity from responsibility and involvement. So much for making music together with the end users.
Steve: Experts walking into any situation would serve themselves well by asking, "What am I going to learn by being with these folks today?" They will be pleasantly surprised.
Tom: The folks will be surprised by the seeming authenticity, emotional availability and integrity of the expert. They will inspired by the know-it-all actually learning something from them. They will be amazed at how much more confident they will feel when joined in making music together. Thanks for harmonizing!