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Published:September 27th, 2007 16:13 EST
Originality is a Virtue

Originality is a Virtue

By Joel G. Block (Mentor/Columnist)

Recently, I attempted to hire a consultant to do some work for me. I had clearly defined the problem at hand as well as the specific outcomes that I required, and I posted a solicitation for bids on one of my favorite resources, As a result of the posting, I received quotes from a number of prospective service providers, and I identified two people, both of whom indicated that he or she had the ability to solve my problem in a creative and effective way.

I initiated telephone conversations with both of these people to get a better idea of what they had to offer. The first gave me a very good "song and dance" about how she could help me solve my problem and address the issues that I`d identified in the solicitation. Her credentials looked good, and she was very enthusiastic, but I wasn`t getting specific information from her as to how her background and credentials would allow her to address the problem that I had posted in the solicitation.

I asked for more detail.

She responded by referring me to a web page that belonged to a marketing guru with whom I happen to be acquainted. I told her that I didn`t want to know about the process that she would use " I happened to be well-acquainted with the guru who wrote the process " rather, I wanted to know what she was going to do for me.

The answer she gave me came straight from the writings of the marketing guru. Using his words, she told me that she would perform X number of procedures and apply X systems exactly as the guru she had identified would.

Her answer troubled me. Although this marketing guru has an outstanding approach, I had no idea how well this woman could implement it. I didn`t know if she would mechanically apply the steps of his process " or if she even understood the steps that need to be applied.

The bottom line: I was unable to hire this person because she didn`t succeed in communicating to me that she had the competence necessary to take on my project. She didn`t demonstrate to me how she would apply the marketing guru`s techniques, nor did she explain how her personality and style would enhance the use of a methodology with which I was already familiar.

So, as you are working hard every day to build your company, or as you`re building your career, take ownership of the approaches that you embrace. If you wish to use an approach, style or methodology that has been put out by a guru in your field - that`s great. Just make sure that your audience, prospective clients or your boss knows what you bring to the table, too. Otherwise, anyone who has taken a course, read a book or studied a process will be able to say that they can do the job. Buyers, whether they are prospective clients or your employer, buy your ability to solve the problems that they have, not the process that solves the problems. In the personal services business, it`s not the process " it`s the person who applies the process " that makes the difference.

About Joel G. Block, President of Growth-Logic, Inc.

Often dubbed a "Growth Architect" by his clients, Joel Block advises companies on explosive growth strategies by driving revenue and sales. Well known in the capital markets, Joel is a successful entrepreneur, speaker and advisor. To bring Joel into your company, please visit or