Once in a while, I reflect on what it takes to build a following among clients and peers. What kind of behavior on my part will draw people to want to work with me, or for that matter, any professional person. Sometimes, we do great things. Develop creative solutions, find an answer where no one though one existed. Most of the time, however, we try to be consistently helpful and positive. That is why I am suggesting that when you are choosing a professional for any task, you concentrate of making sure the person involved demonstrates the following qualities:
1. Competence What really is competence? For people venturing into uncharted waters, it is really difficult to determine whether the person you have selected really knows his or her stuff. My suggestion would be to ask as many questions as you can of the person before making your choice. Ask some questions which you think you already know the answer. Be ready to appreciate the fact that your professional is taking a slightly different approach than what you expected. Be careful of people who fire off answers too quickly. A probing mind is really what you are looking for. A person who considers all the possible answers and is willing to choose one answer and defend it is a person you are looking for.
2. Communication We live in a world where we are almost always “in contact”. A lot of us long for the good old days, where you could take a ride in your car and not need to be solving a client’s problems via cell phones. Most professionals have cell phones where they can send and receive emails. Documents are now easily transmitted by email, in mille-seconds. The point is “this is today’s reality”, and you really need to work with a professional who has embraced the ability to communicate electronically, and quickly, as the person you select. You have questions and concerns; your professional needs to be able to address them effectively in a short period of time, and let you know what to do. The world is moving that quickly.
3. Honesty. You need to work with professionals who will tell you the truth, every time!! Sometimes the truth is not what you are really looking for. What you want is something that works to your advantage, even if is not workable. Avoid a “polyanna”. The true answer may not be what you want to hear, but you are better off dealing with the true answer than having your professional develop a set of solutions which is not based on reality. Sometimes when you do not hear exactly what you want to hear from your professional, the two of you are able to “shift gears” and develop a different way to solve the problem at hand. Work with people who tell you the facts, not what you “want to hear”
It is my belief that interviewing a professional is an important aspect of finding the right person to work with. See if you can find people who are competent, communicate with today’s tools and are honest. They are out there, I am sure of that.