Understand this… Because You CARE!

Jan 17, 2022

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be UNDERSTOOD”. – Marie Curie…

…a quote for today from a hundred years ago!

There are a lot of thoughts about the art of UNDERSTANDING. Two of the best quotes from others are….

“Listening is not understanding the words of the question asked, listening is understanding WHY the question was asked in the first place” – Simon Sinek

“Any fool can KNOW. The point is to UNDERSTAND!” – Albert Einstein

And there is another aspect in the art of understanding that is summarized by the following quote that seems to come from various sources. “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”

Moving back to where we ended last week. Surely you recall the statement from last week…

Next week we will dig into a specific UNDERSTANDING process that will demonstrate the power of the SME (Subject Matter Expert) in the process of serving a client. There is a direct correlation between the amount of SME time that you spend with a client (or teammate, or anyone you serve) and the success of the outcome. PROCESS of SME utilization! And we all have them at our disposal for co-creating excellence.

Well, next week is here, or thereabouts. So, let’s dig in. As a baseline, we are going to assume that we are all involved in the world of a complex solution provider space and that requires a TEAM of people to execute a client engagement that matters to the client and ourselves. In other words, it takes a TEAM to win! If this is not the case, then perhaps your challenge is how much SME time can you create and deliver on your very own. That’s a pretty big challenge.

Assuming our baseline dynamic of, it takes a team to win, let’s jump into what we know to be factual about the use of SMEs. In our own direct studies of our client engagement team serving over 8000 clients globally directly, we constantly learn what really great client service and success look like. We know because we CARE enough to ask our clients.

Great conversations with many other folks in our leadership role at other companies tell us that this data holds true regardless of industry, country, or economic cycle.

Simply stated, the higher the number of SME’s that a team utilizes in a client engagement the higher the success rate and the higher the measurable outcome becomes.

Let’s stop and look at what an SME can be. A Subject Matter Expert is normally folks of the product or technical specialist persuasion. They can be application-based, market segment-focused, or specific technology gurus. They can also be financial specialists, supply chain experts, quality experts, or resources specifically knowledgeable in any unique way that a client needs to help them understand THEIR world more. SME’s can be within your local team, your regional, national or global team. They may even be SMEs that you provide from outside of your own company. Legal and regulatory SMEs are in that vein.

Today, more than ever, we ALL need people that help us understand more about what we DON’T know. Your role is to understand what knowledge is missing and find ways to bring those resources to aid the client, or whoever you are serving.

We have found that good teams bring 2-4 SME’s into the aid of their clients. GREAT teams bring 8-12 SME’s into the journey. And GREAT teams bring in 4-6 times the quantifiable outcome vs the good teams.

Well planned and utilized SME’s are the key differentiator between good and GREAT client engagements! It is the singular, most powerful, controllable variable in a client engagement that makes a difference in the outcome.

Next week we will journey into the impact that this process has on time to money for client new products as well as other benefits of the SME UTILIZATION process, such as “in process control of outcomes”!

Process above all else!




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