This is Howard C. Park's blog. Interests: live music, simulations and modeling, languages, iPod, social and business networking, systems thinking, history of science, management, BBQ, trivia, good coffee, organizational learning, traveling, personal histories.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
I know where the bathrooms are
Early in my consulting career, I worked a client who was very impressive. He wore very nice conservative suits, had an impressive sounding title, spoke with an executive tone, and--most importantly--seemed to know the right stuff. He knew about the industry, his company, the people in the company, how to get handouts ready for meetings, etc. These are all very important things in corporate america.
Then in a series of meetings, I saw him become less impressive in my eyes. He remained rather quiet in meetings with his superiors. Listening carefully to what he was saying, I realized that he offered very little original insight. His opinions, when voiced, were usually dismissed or ignored. I realized that what I had been impressed with was what I now call the "I know where the bathrooms are" knowledge. You expect someone to know certain things after a certain amount of time at a place. BUT, knowing where the bathrooms are is NOT the same thing as actually being able to provide business value.