When we ask for advice, why don't we listen?

When we ask for advice, why don’t we listen?
When the experts, whom you ask for advice, tell you how you might solve your problem, your head becomes overrun with all the reasons why the experts don’t know what they are talking about. It isn’t that they aren’t smart; it’s just that they don’t really understand your situation or your special circumstances or how things really work in your business. Sound familiar?

It is on my mind today because two examples crossed my path in the last few days. I just got off the phone with a colleague and we were discussing a long time client of hers (a smart business woman) that does everything she can except fire the employees who aren’t doing their job. This has been going on for years, one employee after another gets hired and apparently has a lifelong position with the company because the owner refuses (yes, refuses!) to let anyone go. She sends them to trainings, hires coaches, rewrites job descriptions, meets with them, you name it, she has tried it! My colleague, the trusted business advisor, has been telling this client for years what she needs to do and her advice falls flat. Think about all the wasted resources (time, money and energy) that get used up in this scenario. Why would this be the choice a smart business a owner would make?

The second example I’ll share with you is about a client of mine, another savvy businesswoman. I had the opportunity to attend an event where my client was showcasing her products. In the course of the afternoon, she was asking me for my opinion about some of her products. She had some worries about pricing and about inventory that wasn’t moving. I was quick to understand her concerns and immediately made several suggestions about what she could do, right then, to test out some ideas. Not only was that NOT going to happen, my impression was she wasn’t willing to do anything different even though she longed for a different result. What is stopping her from getting out of her own way and trying something new that the expert suggested?

I recognize this behavior in myself and look back at decisions I made and recall that I, too, ignored the experts. I had the good fortune to stay in business in spite of myself, but I paid a price, over and over when I chose my way over the expert’s way. We can save ourselves a lot of grief by changing this behavior early on. If you have the good sense and the resources to hire the expert, let the expert help you help yourself.