Brilliant And is superior to Brilliant But

Note: This was original published in February of 2012 on my Kreative Knowledge website but has been moved as part of a content consolidation.


Brilliant and is Superior Than Brilliant ButThe last few weeks were interesting. I’m consulting for a few new companies. With no less than 4 of them, a variation of this idea was made evident.

A trip down memory lane

Several years ago I made a sales call on a company that was in the same building as a current client.

Hint: This is a good idea of you are a consultant. If you have one client in a building, might as well pick up a couple more in the same place.

As I spoke to one of the principals, he said, “We already have a computer guy.”

Note: another hint: I never want to be the “computer guy” because that is usually all they are good for.

I asked, “and everything runs as smoothly as you would like?”

To which he replied, “Well.. mostly.. I mean, he’s a genius.. but.”

And that but looms large. For me, it means both opportunity and sadly a common refrain.

He continued, “but.. we can’t ever get a hold of him and he keeps weird hours so he can’t ever get here before 10:30 or 11:00 in the morning.”

So I asked the next logical question..

“How did you determine he is a genius?”

“Well.. I don’t understand what he is talking about.”

And there  it is!!!

A genius but is often hard to get a hold of and even more difficult to understand.

I won this business as a client.. I did not become their “computer guy” but more of a CIO. I spoke to their “Genius But” computer guy and after determining he was both arrogant and mostly technically inept, I found them a new “computer guy” who was happy to document what he did and was routinely there before anyone else when he was needed.

Genius But Strikes Again

This past month, I’ve had clients whose “computer genius” has withheld information, failed to provide basic documentation, kidnapped data and domain names, etc.

In all cases as I spoke to the client, there was a variation of “They are a genius but…” In all cases, as I unraveled the situation, I concluded that they were not only NOT geniuses – but were in fact, withholding information or confusing the client in order to protect their lack of knowledge.

I was having this discussion with one of my new clients – and we spoke about the term, “Genius But”. They said to me, “You actually are brilliant and you can communicate with me.”

To which I replied, “Brilliant and, not brilliant but.”

And is the value-add.

The “And” represents the functional piece of brilliant or genius. As a cartoon I saw in a writing book once said, “You have to be a genius at something, Arnold.”

Be known as a genius and, not a genius but.

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