It’s Not What’s In Your Toolbox, It’s What You Build With It

Imagine you’re doing a renovation on your house and you meet with contractor to see if he’s the right person for the job.  He shows off his toolbox – that he has wrenches, hammers, saws, pliers, and a full set of ratchets.  He tells you that he knows how to use every tool in that box.  Do you think you’d give him the business?  Of course not – you don’t care about his toolbox.  In fact, you assume that all contractors have the same tools.  You want to know what he thinks about your project, how he’d go about working on it, and whether he has done anything similar before.

So why do so many firms advertise the contents of the toolbox rather than their approach to problem solving?  Research firms list that they do surveys, focus groups, interviews, and any form of data collection imaginable.  Training firms can offer curriculum development, workshops, coaching, and e-learning.  Clients don’t care about the tools you use, they want to know what you can build for them.  What are the problems you solve?  What’s your approach?  What’s your expertise?  Answer those questions adequately, and they’ll take it as given that you have the right tools for the job.  Talk about your tools and they’ll show you the door.



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