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December 23, 2013 How To

Challenge the status quo with a trusted expert

Running and growing a business takes a lot of work and smarts. Success, whether personal or professional, often requires reaching out to trusted experts to help you. Whether it's a financial planner to ensure your family is taken care of, an attorney to protect your assets, or a consultant to improve the performance of your company — you know you can't do it alone. But letting go, not doing it yourself, and depending upon someone else, requires both trust and knowledge that you have found the right expert to count on.

Finding one and knowing they really are what they claim to be is never easy. Mistakes can be costly. Here's how to do it.

To begin, get referrals. When a trusted colleague can share a personal experience in working with an individual, you have the gold standard. But while referrals may be the ideal way to find an industry expert, that does not always mean this person can help you. You still need to do the hard work of vetting. Check them out. Google them. Interview them thoroughly. Find out what they've done, what they've accomplished. And lastly, be comfortable that you'll be able to work with them. Never minimize fit.

Before you make a decision, make sure you have the real thing. Here's what trusted experts look and act like:

  • Credentials: Experts write books, articles and blogs. They speak before professional groups. They take positions, write op-eds, and never simply regurgitate the same old stuff and espouse the latest fads. They are sought after by the media and they command a presence.
  • Produce results: They have a long track record of results. They have a history of providing value to their clients and have a strong reputation within their industry or discipline. Their reputation is sterling and testimonials are in abundance.
  • Set the standard: Experts don't just fix things. They help you and your organization move forward. They provide different perspectives and innovative thinking. They're always formulating new ideas and concepts. They set new standards. They help to grow your company, not just by doing the things you are doing better, but by providing you a broader perspective.
  • Command attention: They dress, speak and present themselves well. They command attention, exuding well-earned confidence. And it goes beyond personal appearance. Their website, collateral materials and office scream professional. They're different. They're impactful.
  • Responsive: They show up early and leave late. They return phone calls and emails within hours, not days. They deliver what they promise.
  • Provocative: Experts challenge you. They question what you want and only provide what you need. They often make you feel uncomfortable, challenge established beliefs and practices, but their focus is always to improve your position and business. They are in your corner.
  • Passionate: They believe in what you do, and most importantly, they get excited about helping you.

Finding an expert can be the difference between success and failure. Having someone with the smarts to help you grow your business — someone who can challenge, encourage and inspire you to move your business to the next level — defines a trusted expert.

Rick Dacri, a member of the Association of Consulting Expertise, is a work force expert, management consultant and author of the book “Uncomplicating Management: Focus On Your Stars & Your Company Will Soar.” He can be reached at

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