The over-used phrase “teach them to fish” is stale beyond words. The moment you teach someone to fish, the river changes, the species that inhabit the water you are in change, the gear you have is defunct and if you are smart, you realize it. If not, you use outmoded methods but are probably convinced that you just need to use them more to get the desired results.

A recent example: I received an email from a recruiter for Right Management. I can’t bring myself to call them consultants. The recruiter couldn’t be bothered to call me, she sent a ridiculous email instead. She hasn’t a clue, not one. Her message was canned and it is probably redundant to say that it lacked any understanding of what she is doing or whom she is approaching.

This person, who as two unrecognizable “credentials” behind her name, but failed to acknowledge mine (a universally recognized doctorate), is hunting for talent for her client organization. She is unarmed. Worse, she believes she is armed. Will she catch some fish? Yep, she will. The starving, desperate ones.

This recruiter believes that because technology is available, it should be employed as often as possible. This is a ridiculous assumption. Indeed, as technology advances, personal connections become more valuable. For everything? Of course not. Routine transactions are perfect for technology. I order all sorts of stuff from Amazon and other places on-line. When I wanted to send flowers to someone very important to me, I located a local florist and called them! Really? Yes, I did. I told them about why I was sending the flowers and what I was looking for. The person receiving the flowers and the florist are in the same town. Do you think there is an increased motivation to do a good job? Yep.

Most organizations are focused on automating as much as possible, on using data analytics to their benefit. Good, carry on. Smart.

The truly exceptional organizations use judgment to decide when to do what. They hire me to help them do that. Right Management does need to hire me, but not for the reasons they think.

This is why I detest the phrase “best practice.” Do not emulate the best, create a breakthrough. Stop training people to fish. Teach them to think.

Discover Your Inner Meta-Leader

Download your free Meta-Leadership self-assessment


You have Successfully Subscribed!