1 CORINTHIANS 8:2
“And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.
An Essay on Criticism
Alexander Pope 1709
Alexander Pope's famous quote is often restated as "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." The reality is that no one knows everything about anything. One simply has to think of the absolute facts of the universe - as considered facts through time. From a flat Earth at the center of the universe (the geocentric view still embraced through the mid 1700's), through maps by those who had explored showing California as an island (up through at least 1748 - Anson's sea chart), history is littered with confirmations that whatever we think we know - we don't.
The wisdom in Corinthians remains unchanged as the absolute, positively known and established "facts" during the same ensuing years have been proved untrue.
Therein lies the Great Barrier, Omniscience, to resolving virtually every problem - every challenge - including the ones we resolve for our clients. Time has proved to us that the greatest obstacle our firm must overcome to resolve a client's challenges is the belief by a prospective client that "someone" knows everything about something (and that particular someone is an employee of the prospective client or a favorite consultant). For if we are not given the opportunity to resolve the problem, it will not get resolved - and if that "someone" is in a decision-making or decision-influencing position, our engagement will never happen.
Our area of expertise is unique and highly specialized. We know of no other firm that has our capabilities and embraces our approach and philosophy based in research and analysis, and expressed and explained through Raison D'état and Raison D'être. But even we know that we don't know everything about anything - and are always open and inviting, always seeking new information and new perspectives.
So should you contact us, we will understand that you understand that it is only reasonable to assume that others outside your organization's universe (your organization and its consultants) may know something unknown to those within your organization's universe.
CAPABILITIES & EXPERIENCE
Frederick Taylor is often cited as the founder of Scientific Management. One of its guiding principles is: "The right person for the right job." That sentiment is echoed in the quotes above - from both Jack Welch and Henry Ford.
When confronted with a mountain range, would you hire surfers, clowns, magicians, professors, scientists or Sherpa? That is not a trick question. Obviously, engaging any except the Sherpa dooms the objective to failure.
A surfer is highly skilled, athletic, but certainly lacks the knowledge of both mountain climbing and most important - the knowledge of the mountains - which ridge hides more mountains, and which ridge hides the promised land. In short, if you are planning an expedition to climb a mountain - and equally important to find the hidden valley - it is unlikely you would hire a surfer to lead and protect you.
Similarly, clowns, magicians, professors and scientists all have their own niche. It is just that each lacks the skill set and the knowledge requisite to conquer the mountain - to lead the expedition to Shangri-La. They can try. And you probably will die.
So, too, there are CPA firms, tax firms and other specialists who have skills and knowledge that when applied against the right objective are the right persons for the right jobs and will provide value to a client. But none of those have the skills and knowledge requisite to create, develop and capture the significant discretionary benefits that are the hallmark for Governance. So they can try. And you will fail to optimize what could have been gained.
So, failing to engage the right firm for the right job also self-imposes a barrier to success - another Great Barrier.