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Smoke And Mirrors - The Strategy Specialist

Smoke And Mirrors

By December 28, 2017 No Comments

I hope the photo attached to this post makes you laugh… I have to laugh at myself often…
This is a tribute to the amazing Celeste Barber in direct honor of the title “Smoke And Mirrors”.

So before we begin… Yes… this is me at the top… Yes I was thin and young… Yes, I know it doesn’t look like me (I refer to good lighting and angles below) Yes this was a desperate attempt at marketing a rim shop… Yes this is my so called friend LOL mocking me (It is a brilliant photo though)!

I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for some time but was apprehensive as I did not want the content to be offensive or taken out of context – I will do my best to share my observations in a humble, respectful, and truthful manner, in hopes that it inspires anyone reading this to take note and have the confidence to make educated decisions when aligning themselves with professionals who have a skill set outside of their immediate area(s) of expertise or comfort zone(s).

Let’s start with a personal antidote so lighten the mood before we dive deep into some of my professional snafu’s.

So… this past May I was having horrible foot pain (tailors bunion) – In the past, I had treated it with a cortisone shot but this time I was advised by the ‘professional’ that my foot was ulcerating and needed surgery.  Because I had a birthday trip in July, I decided to pay cash for a surgery outside of my network to speed things along so I would be fully healed by July.  Long story short…. A simple outpatient surgery turned into a 3 month disaster with a grand finale’ July 27th – Me in the hospital signing off on a toe amputation and IV Antibiotics for 10 days for MRSA.

I’m not a Dr – I’m not a Nurse – And to be truthful…. medical professional after medical professional… all had a different thought and diagnosis – In my heart I knew something was off and it wasn’t until I read everything possible and consulted colleagues with knowledge in this area that I was able to honestly diagnose myself and demand proper care.

In the past week I have had three separate random dealings with professionals in the accounting, attorney (legal) and marketing fields (all related to separate projects) that I discovered were NOT delivering as advertised.  Accounting… yes – I can usually detect any variances/discrepancies pretty easily… Attorney (legal) and Marketing…. those are specialized fields that I am not well versed in….

So imagine my surprise when I discover that I have’t been ‘represented’ to the best of their ability… or even more frightening…. to discover that it WAS to the best of their ability… and now I have to admit to myself that I made a poor choice in retaining their services!

And that’s where this all becomes so complicated…. In the land of filters/angles LOL, impressive resumes/bios, credentials, and even referrals… how do you even determine if someone is obscuring or embellishing the truth of a situation or is presenting misleading or irrelevant information knowing damn well you won’t  be able to detect it without either a) experiencing it first hand or b) taking the time to educate yourself in an area that is unfamiliar.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending how you look at it…. I have become quite a discerning customer, which is very unnatural for me, as I don’t like conflict and truly want to take people at their word.

My eyes started to open up about 5 years ago when I was having a conversation with a ‘professional’ who had been providing services to our organization along with others in the industry for many years.  A situation occurred that demanded a great deal of explanation and troubleshooting, which forced me to educate myself and micromanage the process, as it was becoming costly and the scope of the project was changing dramatically.  Several weeks in, after discovering that my findings were not in alignment with the services/recommendations being provided… I asked the VERY NAIVE question –

‘Wait.. wait… You’re not an expert in this?  You’ve been relying on outsourcing and outside recommendations this entire time from one source without going above and beyond to do your due diligence to confirm all of the facts and protect the investment?’ (insert shocked and frazzled emoji here)

And  …. When I received the honest response that I was correct – You might as well just told me there was no Santa Clause and cancelled Christmas…. I was stunned… shocked… and disappointed… Frightened actually…. Mad at myself that I had allowed this to occur under my watch….

I know it sounds silly… but that was a REAL TURNING POINT FOR ME.  I discovered that everything that glitters isn’t gold… AND… most don’t cherish authenticity unless it has mastered the magical illusion of smoke and mirrors….

So for now…. as annoying as it may be to my colleagues and clients…. I will challenge everything… I will research on my own time.  I will work hard to prove you wrong…. I work hard to prove myself wrong. so please don’t take it personal.  I will challenge you to defend your beliefs and recommendations.

And though most won’t understand, primarily because they can’t set aside their own ego, it’s coming from a place of love and protection… So that you and/or I can stand behind something knowing we have given it our very best!

Humans are fallible, of course.  And human error is inevitable –

But for me… I have too much pride to be ignorant and vulnerable due to laziness or complacency….

Especially when my future depends on it!

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