Critical Insights (14) You Don't Need External Experts - Your Own Staff Have The Deep Smarts To Deliver Extraordinary Results”

Harness Their Deep Smarts® And You Can Deliver Extraordinary Results

The past 20 years has seen the rise of the ‘expert’ — for example, expert project managers, business analysts, architects and six sigma folk. These ‘experts’ all help to move the project away from the business and its staff. “They” will deliver the project, becomes the business’ view.

But this does not have to be the norm.

You don't need external experts - your own staff, equipped with tools, techniques, and processes can do what the imported experts do and better. TOP has proven over the past 15 years that you can take previously inexperienced staff and teach them step-by-step how to deliver a project while they do it, and deliver extraordinary results.

What your staff has over everyone else is their knowledge of the current business, how it works, and how it fits together. Now they may not be conscious of much of this knowledge, but it is there, buried in their non-conscious. This is their ‘deep smarts’.

When you tap into this 'deep smarts' knowledge and provide your staff with the tools to, for example, simplify their processes or define the business case or plan and execute a change program; they can do it.

And, once they have a bit of confidence they get their ‘tails up’ and really get going. As the facilitator - I have learned - you then just have to get out of their way!

This is not to say the ‘experts’ are not needed at all, but simply that you can deliver quite complex and sizeable projects with just a few ‘experts’ facilitating existing staff. One major SAP implementation was managed/facilitated by one non-IT project manager and a complete cast of non-project experts. The project came in on-time, 10% under budget, and realized all of the benefits. Not many ‘experts’ can claim that.

Give your people a lever and they can move the world.

It’s not that your people can’t do it, it is just that they don’t know how to do it.

So you have to teach them one step at a time. Try two steps, and they’ll fail. Train, use, practice, learn, apply; train, use, practice, learn, apply. It’s simple.

When you get your staff to do it themselves, their understanding and commitment increase and resistance to change dissipates. You can get more done in less time.

What I’ve spent the past 15 years doing is breaking the end-to-end project delivery process into steps that can be taught. We’re almost at the stage where we don’t need any ‘experts’.

This raises the question of the value of the experts. If a progressively trained previously inexperienced staff member can be trained and facilitated to deliver results four times that of an experience, expensive ‘black belt’ — why would you bother with the ‘expert’?

What’s stopping you from harnessing the deep smarts of your staff?

Post your comments below.

Topics: Fifteen Critical Insights


[1] ...

Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Apr 2009) as "Critical Insights (14) - Your Staff Are Experts"

Updated: Chapman, A. (March 2020), Revisions and Corrections