This little blog is inspired by two ladies I work with who I’d take clothes shopping any day, my mum, a bad day in the office and a young bride in a full-skirted, navy dress with a sailor collar in the 1990s…

HR, Finance, Project professionals, myself and the team I work with I feel are often bereft of clear deciphering about options for expert help. I refer to our context of HR technology specialism but suspecting that the same is true in associated industries. An analogy like this is one way in which we at Phase 3 can play games to translate the realities of our real, working lives for one another and for you.

So, here is why you can have a think about the choices you’d make setting off to the shops and approaching the professional tech market too:

Beyond a certain age I am sorry to say that I ceased to regard it as a leisure activity to cruise around the high streets, gorgeously told by a girl-friend that I looked simply fabulous in anything and everything. I realise that over time I’ve whittled the number of girl-friends endorsed for this specialist business with me to those few prepared to say “Nope, not for you”.

Shopping with my mum can be brutal, but it’s rather effective. We set an objective. We march forth. We have good days where everything fits and bad days where I am [insert your body hang-up here] and she is [insert your mum’s here]. We retreat to a John Lewis café and we talk about something else. She knows just what advice to give me and it’s not at all the same as that she’d apply to herself, which is important. At the next occasion, I call upon her expert advice and each time we’re a touch more efficient between us, as understandings grow.
In my student days I was fiercely loyal to a lovely retailer of beautiful floral fabrics, both on big bolts (I couldn’t lift the fabric) and in pretty dresses. On changing room duty, I distinctly remember a young bride and her own mother. She looked hideous in far too much navy fabric for her large frame and this collar was terrible. Representing my brand, I really felt that silence was the best approach.

Certain insights, the shop assistants are great for! “Yes, we sell lots of those!… I recommend you try this with that…. I’ve got one of those and I wear mine like this…. That skirt can be shoved in the machine too.”

The point is on a bad day in the office as a consultant I do my best job when I give clear advice, which on some days does not immediately please. I focus on the customer’s own organisational needs, not on my own brand representation. It’s not about giving yes or no binary verdict but it is about adding a value of informed advice.

In HR technology, appreciate the differences between your own team or individuals with lesser confidence and experience and the differing and complementary value that great consultants both from your product suppliers and from the independent world can bring.

For a related article which reminds you how you can have confidence as a client in making your choices, read “I’m the client and I know how I like my coffee”. For would-be consultants, look out on LinkedIn for an article from me about different career choices you can make.

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