A quote that is widely attributed to Henry Ford is the focus of today’s blog post. The quote is as follows, “If I were to ask my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse” –Henry Ford. Whether this is actually a quote from Henry Ford is not my point, the point is that oftentimes self diagnosis and prescription does not return the proper results.
Let’s walk through this. Two brothers own an ice cave and deliver ice to everyone in the town. They have a horse and cart to deliver the ice. The cart can hold enough ice for three deliveries, at which point they have to return to the cave to get more ice. Seeing that there is only so much they can do with their slow horse and cart, they determine that a faster horse is the solution, and go out shopping for a faster horse.
This example is overly simplified, but it is repeated thousands of times every day. People look at their problem, ask one question, and make a determination as to what will best solve the problem.
It may be that the brothers even brainstormed other possible resolutions:
- Get a bigger cart (and return to the cave less often)
- Get another horse and cart (and double their delivery capacity)
- Offer discounts for those customers that wish to pick up their ice.
However, it is highly unlikely that either of the brothers in the ice business would have thought about inventing a truck.
Our solution to the problem is based upon our knowledge and we limit all resolutions to what we know. Often we force a resolution to work because we cannot see any other possible solution. This is where a consultant comes in. A consultant adds to your knowledge and helps you to expand the possible resolutions to the problem. Hopefully, a consultant will blow you away with their creative response to the situation. The true value of a consultant lies in not just offering the solution that the customer is looking for, but in digging to the heart of the issue and providing the most effective resolution.