Businesses and exec leaders strive to seek out their internal subject matter experts for advice but are they the ones you need to talk to when it’s time to change ?
Subject Matter Experts. They are the ones we immediately look for and to when trying to understand a business problem, when we need to identify those in the business who can help with change we seek them out.
Creatures of comfort ?
The trouble with SMEs is that they are invariably as stuck in their ways as any of us are. They know their part of business inside out for sure, to the letter in fact sometimes, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Because it invites constraint, lack of creative thinking, rigidity. Comfort.
They are in tune with the here and now.
The screen is perceived to be the window to their business world and their responsibilities are 1028 x 624 in size. For some that’s all they want. Have you ever seen the sci-fi film “Cube” ? It’s a bit like that, if you want to get out you’ll die trying, and that’s why people don’t want to know what’s beyond their borders. Responsibility and accountability is scary as hell. Better the Devil you know, and he’s in the cubicle with you handing you the next application form to process.
It’s a cynical view maybe, but having worked through the ranks that’s sometimes how life is on the coal face.
Rebel with a cause
The trick has always been to spot the ones bending and breaking the rules or process. They’re the ones that will champion the business to change. Not SMEs. I’m not referring to the Nick Leesons (although they can still teach us a thing or three about lack of control) but we always ask for SMEs “because we’ve always done it this way” when looking to change……it harks back to the monkey analogy I painted earlier.
Rebels are rule-benders and rule-breakers who are more tuned into the art of the possible.
Those that spot workarounds and back doors in systems and processes to make them work better in a mundane role. Those who challenge their supervisors because they know how the process works better than they do. Those who are told they can’t do something because the company structure says so but still push forward and ask for forgiveness later.
They challenge business conceptions. They defy hierarchical boundaries. They force change to happen. If you’ll let them.
Seek them out as the real catalysts of change and leave the experts in their comfort zone.
This article was written by Theo Priestley from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.