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Danger! Don't ignore the experts...

Danger! Don't ignore the experts...

Nicola Hopes

7 June 2022

So, I managed to get a fishbone jammed through my tonsil whilst enjoying a delicious lunch with a coaching colleague… #nomoreredmullet 

I’m fine now, thank you. You’re a peach for asking. 

But I wasn’t fine for a while. 

And I had various wonderful people from our fantastic NHS looking after me – and assuring me I wasn’t an idiot for getting skewered in the first place!  

They all played their part in the several hour process of getting me triaged, x-rayed, scanned, checked and fixed. 

And once the trauma of a Friday night in A&E had calmed down, it reminded me of a phrase my old boss always used to say: 

“Let the experts be expert” 

Simple as that. 

The beauty of the mild chaos that surrounded my Friday night was that everybody knew their role, and nobody tried to do anyone else’s. 

It didn’t occur to me to ask Dave the porter to perform my endoscopy. 

And it certainly didn’t occur to me to ask my Ear, Nose and Throat consultant to do Dave’s job and direct me to the ward (she didn’t even know where the patient bathroom was!). 

Surprisingly (for those who know me well), I did exactly what I was told. Because they knew how to fix it.  

And the reason it’s stuck with me is that there are some conversations I’ve had with clients recently where they’re not listening to the experts.  

And it’s costing them time and money. 

Especially in delivering change. 

  • “I know the data architect has told us the platform won’t do what we need, but we’re going to see how it goes” 
  • “I know HR don’t think we’re ready to announce the new operating model, but we’ve committed to the deadline so we’re doing it anyway” 

Cut to a while later. And, in the middle of the carnage, you might be feeling that tinge of regret that you didn’t listen. 

Sound familiar?  

In the end, it’s a risk-based decision and it’s your call. 

But before you make that call, ask yourself: 

  • Are you paying for expertise you’re not listening to? 
  • Have you read a book / listened to a podcast and now have some misplaced confidence that you’re an expert in something complex? 
  • Do you find it hard to rely on others because you think you shouldn’t have to? 

Remember where you’re the expert and make room for others to use their magic to help you.  

After all, you don’t have to be great at everything, right?  

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