The best solutions are customer made

As a spiritual agnostic, believing in my ‘god’ of positive realism, I had the opportunity to join some 20 catholics to attend a lecture by a former Belgian minister. The main topic was the link between faith and politics.

What charmed me was his constant reference to doubt, to keep on wondering. I ‘dig’ that, being a ¬†researcher myself.

In organisations you could distinguish all kinds of experts (remember situational leadership,¬†everybody being considered experts in some tasks – and in my view we can become experts in nearly everything). And looking through categorising spectacles for a sec, you could say that there are answer-experts, and question-experts. The first will put themselves in a one-up position, providing the answers that they think fit their internal or external clients best. The latter will sometimes do that as well, but will also go one-down like a good coach does. Knowing that frequently the best solutions are not even customised, but customer made. Or nicely made together with the customer…

I think it’s useful to keep the question-expert stance: like two players on the tennis court (an image from Steve de Shazer), you look in the same direction together and find out what’s best for your client. You keep a stance of not knowing and not judging too quickly and through reading, reflecting, training, dialoguing and exchanging you yourself get even better in your field of expertise.

Nothing beats useful interaction, even being the expert of experts: just hearing yourself talk and explain, will make you grow even further. Showing the way, instructing, telling, indicating has a multiplying effect for all.

PS: Always take something to read with you, wherever you are. Even a ripped article from the newspaper from the previous weekend.

Visual: ‘Of course I talk to myself. Sometimes I need the opinion of an expert.’