Imagine walking the streets of London with three teenage boys. You pass Scotland Yard. You think about Sherlock Holmes. You talk about crime in the old city. Now envision a 2 year-old walking around in an orange construction vest. He's got a bushel of red hair and he’s wearing sunglasses. A bug detective, serious about finding and cluing into the insect world. A child who looks for bugs at night, wearing shades.
For a child, storytelling begins simply. Curiosity turns into adventure. Adventure leads to conflict. Conflict demands resolution. Resolution falls into respite. And then it starts all over again. Through time though, complexity creeps in and things change. The young investigator is learning. Besides sunglasses, the bug detective now needs binoculars, a hard hat, and a whistle. Every new thing gets added to the outfit. The more the better. Until being a bug detective loses its luster, and he turns into a dump truck driver or a street sweeper instead.
Back on the streets of London, recall the stories of Sherlock Holmes. He often used a phrase indicative of simplicity: “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Elementary. Holmes tended to the details, trained and circumspect. He understood what others missed. He observed. Options decreased during his investigations through deductive reasoning.
Both the bug detective and Holmes are curious. Both investigate. Both find clues and draw conclusions. Both solve problems. Both gain knowledge and experience. The basic difference is how they manage complexity. A child rifles through learning, acquiring more and more. Over time, he or she determines what to keep, what to file away, and what to disregard. Experienced detectives know things. They understand what's important. And they use this to their advantage. They don't have to learn, add gear, explore options. They know.
In the world of business, there are myriad bug detectives. People with a few ideas here and there, searching the dark with sunglasses on, eager to find a prize. They tend to add tools, capabilities, and new ideas to work, without much thought, making it more complex and harder to navigate. At the same time, they lack the elementary skills to do their tasks. There may be a lot of enthusiasm. They may find some bugs. The whole process teems with dedication and concentration. Then, something else comes up, requiring a new set of toys and outfits and stories.
The trained detectives were bug hunters at one time. They maintained their curiosity and energy, but refined their approach. They learned about insects and became experts. They can identify bugs and categorize them. They can talk about features. They can articulate the advantages on one species over another. This has all become second nature. Now they use knowledge to deduce and analyze and talk about and highlight. Their curiosity benefits from years of experience, a sense of purpose, knowledge, direction. Discovery and infatuation, through rigorous inspection, have become knowledge and admiration.
So, what's the difference? Famous detective from London versus bug detective from toddler land? One is astute, while the other is amusing. One deduces while the other discovers. One resolves questions while the other reacts to their surroundings.
I love children. I recently took my older nephews to London. And I adore my younger nephew, who has taken to being a bug detective in the last couple of months. But knowledgeable Londoners and real-life exterminators enhance their understanding.
We need some of this wonder and humor and experimentation in business. Further, we need the rigor, resilience, and intelligence of Sherlock Holmes. Be curious, but be smart. Do your homework. Study. Know your work. Know your clients. Know the best ways to produce the most useful content, and then use it.
Get real. Get smart. And stay young.
If you need help getting on top of your game in the world of proposals and marketing, give Qocreate a call. We'd love to introduce you to the wonder of smart and successful business development.