I recently saw this video clip on Twitter of a young Steve Jobs talking to a room full of people.
Steve Jobs had a very good understanding of @nntaleb‘s crucial concept of “skin in the game.” pic.twitter.com/gybIDPWEPC
— The Stoic Emperor (@TheStoicEmperor) March 20, 2018
Here’s an excerpt from the video:
How many of you are from manufacturing companies? Oh, excellent… Where are the rest of you from?
How many from consulting? Oh, that’s bad. You should do something.
No seriously, I don’t think there’s anything inherently evil in consulting. I think that… I think that without owning something over an extended period of time, like a few years, where one has a chance to take responsibility for one’s recommendations… where one has to see one’s recommendations through all action stages and accumulate scar tissue for the mistakes and pick oneself up off the ground and dust oneself off… one learns a fraction of what one can… coming in and making recommendations and not owning the results, not owning the implementation, I think is… is a fraction of the value and a fraction of the opportunity to learn and get better.
I love what Jobs says about taking responsibility for one’s recommendations and seeing a process through all the way to the end. It’s definitely apropos within the field of education. Consultants are helpful when they enter a school or district, share their point-of-view, explain how to make their recommendation work within the organization, and then stay until their implementation succeeds. Effective consultants sweat and bleed with administrators and teachers. They own what they preach.
Consultants who arrive, share a bit of what they know, and then leave aren’t inherently evil (as Jobs says), but they have no skin in the game when it comes to your organization. A consultant who becomes your partner and suffers the same scars as you is a sister or brother in the quest for improving student learning. And both of you learn an incredible amount of information together.
As always, it’s all about skin in the game.