Obviously obvious

How often do we talk about obvious things? In case of business consulting obvious statements are obvious for both advisor and customer so why to communicate obvious ideas? And why to pay for obviously obvious advices? Is it rude to expect to get paid for obvious reports? Well, in some cases – yes. But maybe not always. I will try to analyse this slight difference.

Example 1. An advisor gets through a reporting system. He reads customer’s documents and prepares an analytical report full of obvious statements: how many documents are defined in the system, how many employees work on it, who reads those reports, how data is collected and so on. It is possible that a customer has no idea about it and such information might be valuable for him. But it is more probable that such information is worthless. As well as  work of an  advisor.

Example 2. An advisor gets through a reporting system. He reads customer’s documents and prepares an analytical report full of obvious statements: reports are full of serious mistakes, are worthless, even rubbish, no one should base decisions on those reports, the process costs about 20.000 euro a month and a recommendation is to switch this process off immediately and to start building a new reporting system as soon as possible from the very beginning. Well, all of this is obviously obvious, isn’t it? But why an enterprise spends 20.000 euro for something completely worthless? Is there a point in buying such recommendation for moderate fee of… 60.000 euro, which is a 3-month savings? (BEP = 3m) Is not an answer obvious?

Well, it looks like there are different obviously obvious things. The valuable statements are only these that become obvious only after someone expresses them. Or when someone writes them down and proves. Those things were not obvious before, because no one wants to have obvious problems. Is it correct? Is it obvious? Was it obvious before you read this article, or is it obvious now?

And how people react when they are told obvious things? In different ways. Some listen, some start to act, most get irritated. This is nothing wrong, it is obvious, that telling obvious things may be irritating. In the beginning, at least.

So why to point obvious facts? Because obvious mistakes are the most serious ones. Because an enterprise has already acquired them, stopped to notice them. Probably everyone can point mistakes in a service at a post office, a shop, someone’s carrier. But not in his own corporation. It is not that simple, obviously.  Our perception is not an only problem, the other one is an interrelationship in an organisation.

But it is possible to solve this problem, e.g. by involving someone from outside. It is not only about work for advisor, you could ask for help  even your customer. If you know how to ask for such help.

An advisor saying obviously obvious things is highly irritating. Especially when he expects to get paid for describing obvious problems you know about (you have always known?). But maybe it makes sense if such an advisor gives you simple and cheap solutions? But be careful, he can suggest irritatingly obvious solutions…


Comments are closed.