I can’t be an expert in everything. In fact I’m not sure I am an expert in anything other than perhaps helping people to take a step back from their issues and helping them to put forward a solution. At least that is what I like to do and I am convinced that people are good at what they like to do.
Sometimes though I struggle to get my head around a problem. It is not that I can’t see what the component parts are or what needs to be done but rather it swirls around in front of me like a child’s playground roundabout (I used to know them as a teapot lid). I don’t know where to get on. This is when talking to others helps.
This has been the case with me regarding a geographical information system (GIS) project I am trying to shape. Meeting up with people who live and breath this kind of stuff helps enormously, especially when the first words that come out of their mouth is to forget GIS as it will only cloud the picture.
They were right. Within seconds the clouds had parted and I was able to see much more clearly. The GIS application is only a way of representing the underlying data around land and property. If the data isn’t right then it doesn’t matter what tool you buy, it isn’t going to work.
Henceforward the project is no longer one of presentation but one of data. Indeed when I look back that is what it said on the tin, geographical information and not maps or pictures.
Like so many things that we try and fix within our businesses they are not process or presentation issues but are data issues. I can see that now and have been able to re-frame the opportunity in this context. All that from a five minute conversation with people who know. The irony is that they have been telling this to my client for many years.
I guess it takes both someone to tell and someone who is prepared to listen.