Over the years I’ve had some really great bosses and some real clunkers. The stories I could tell about the supreme clunker could entertain you for days. Just one quick example, “We don’t need to pay a video production company. All you need is software. My 12 year old son can do it.” So my expertise at managing a professional video project was useless because any monkey could do it.

The best boss I ever had was very clear on this: stick with that which you are an expert. The worst boss I ever had subscribed to the theory that any monkey could sit in my chair and do my job. Why I stayed in that chair as long as I did is still a mystery to me.

My worst client experiences have been those where I’ve taken on something I didn’t know enough about and thought I could muddle through. I learned that muddling is not a good solution. Recommending the right person for the job is a far better way to handle it.

I just did that. I got a solicitation from a couple in the Carolinas who are starting a business consulting on the transition to assisted living. The subject matter is perfect for a public relations campaign. What I recognized is that I have no knowledge or relationship with the target media in North and South Carolina. Could I build a list? Sure. But local knowledge is what will be key to the success of their program.

I referred them to the Public Relations Society of America local chapters and told them I was certain they could find someone with the local knowledge they need. I feel good about that.

So, if you have the monkey mentality, dump it. Find the right monkey and put the energy into helping that person be successful in the job.

Right now, I have a craving for a banana!

BTW, if you follow me you know how I’ve ranted about the situation at the Chicago Tribune. Monkey mentality all the way. The extremely talented managing editor (who should have been heir apparent to the editor-in-chief job) quit.

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