Mad Scientist: Too Much Time in the Consulting Laboratory

Today I want to present you with an analogy. Think about a scientist in the laboratory trying to solve for a very particular, unique disease. Think about how committed that scientist is to developing the solution so he can eradicate the disease from the planet. I believe you are that scientist. I believe you have developed a cure for a disease currently weakening the marketplace. I also believe, in this same story, you are spending way too much time in the laboratory.

What I believe. I believe you overestimate the value of your knowledge when it comes to building your consulting business.

Why I believe it. I believe that, as a scientist, your desire is to run tests in your laboratory to perfect your solution. You’re too concerned about releasing a trial version of the medicine because you don’t want to hurt anyone. You don’t want to be proven wrong. You don’t want to be embarrassed. Out of fear of being embarrassed, you continue to work in the laboratory and you rob your potential cure of field testing. You rob yourself of getting more real-world insight about what you have to offer because you won’t make your services available.

That same fear disrupts your business. Because you believe you can figure it out, you try to figure everything out before anyone sees it. Your desire, or perhaps your fear, to know everything keeps you at your desk like a mad scientist. You might be more intelligent than most, but your business still remains underdeveloped. Because you’re working as a single scientist in the laboratory, your overall systems are poorly developed. Your team, if you even have one, is weak and provides little relief. Worst of all, you have no way to refuel.

For a scientist, testing your solution in live situations helps refuel your energy for continuous improvement. The same thing applies to your business. You run trials with different clients to see where the greatest value is. When you find something of value you use it to improve your current consulting method. However, if you’re too afraid to try it in the marketplace, you never get the feedback and you never get the refueling.

Relevance to you. I recognize the saying “knowledge is power” and completely disagree with it. I believe that applied knowledge is power. Knowledge doesn’t mean anything if you’ve done nothing with it. There’s also an ugly assumption amongst experts that if you know what to do, you can do it whenever you get ready. The truth is that any quality strategy has details and simply understanding the broad concepts is not enough. You have to execute those details in real world situations.

Having a different view on things is a wonderful ability that gives you the potential to make a difference. However potential is all it gives you. In order for things to translate into meaningful results you must take decisive and correct action, as well as follow a proper strategy that will move you forward in the real world.