Be the Consultant Your Clients Want to Mirror
Over the last several years buzz words like authenticity, compassion, courage, empathy, and kindness have all made their way into thought leadership blogs and articles. The premise is that leaders who demonstrate these characteristics are more likely to be successful and have better team and organizational outcomes. At the foundation of these ideas is the fact that none of us want to work for or with people who do not demonstrate these and other basic characteristics for effective human interaction. There is something that draws us to others who engage with us in the same way that we would want to ideally engage with others. This is one of the underlying components of Flawless Consulting. As an internal or external consultant, we have to engage with our clients in an authentic, courageous, wholehearted way. This, in turn, creates the environment for our clients to engage with us in that same way.
Ruminations on Influence
The heart of consulting, as Peter Block has so succinctly put it, is “influencing without direct authority.” That holds for those of us who work as external consultants as well as anyone in a staff role working internally. Therefore, it seems worth thinking about the source and process of influence.
Delivering Consulting and Implementation
We are good at more than implementing solutions that require our specific technical or business expertise. We also know a lot about helping design optimal solutions, based upon thoughtful analysis of situation-specific problem sets and desired outcomes. We’ve seen plenty of well implemented solutions that work in one place, but not in another. With this experienced insight, we can help folks figure out the best solutions that fit their particular situations. In short, we offer consulting expertise in addition to implementation expertise, and we focus on helping our clients/stakeholders get the results they want—not just getting a solution “done” according to the specifications.
How Does Flawless Consulting Apply To You and Your Organization?
When explaining Flawless Consulting to a friend outside of my regular consulting world, I like to highlight building authenticity and awareness in relationships. I want to highlight how work projects can be approached differently, using the Flawless consulting structured framework, that allows people to enter into projects more consciously. I appreciate these elements because they lead to a more effective project with the opportunity for greater impact, by building the relationship along with technical expertise.
Consulting Complexities: Some Thoughts on What to Do
The promise of consulting is a commitment to care and to serve. We promise to act in the interest of another, the client. This series of blog posts explored some of the complexities consultants face that interfere with our capacity to serve, even in the face of our best intentions. In this post, we begin to wind up with some thoughts on what to do.
Telling It Like It Is
Many years ago, I was introduced to what is now one of my favorite books, Leadership and Self-Deception by the Arbinger Institute. I was intrigued by the title and mostly curious about the term self-deception. What is it—and do I have it?
In simplest terms, self-deception means that we do not see ourselves and the people around us as they really are. The authors of the book explain: “It blinds us to the true cause of problems, and once blind, all the ‘solutions’ we can think of will actually make matters worse.” As a Flawless consultant, it’s a truth I’ve seen played out all too often.
Fast Training is like Fast Food
How often have I been asked, “We can’t take 3 days away from work for a workshop, so can you cut it to two days?”
There’s a lot of pressure to “cut the time AND cover all the material AND include practical exercises to build their skills”. If it’s a three-day workshop, people want it in two. If you reduce it to two days, they want it in one!
Consulting Complexities: Promising Magic
This post on how giving our clients what’s popular instead of what works ultimately undermines consulting effectiveness continues our series that looks at what interferes with our capacity to serve, even in the face of our best intentions. It speaks to both internal and external consultants––and to their clients––about the tensions between doing what is fashionable and providing genuine service.
It Takes Courage to be a Flawless Consultant
Flawless Consulting Skills offer a different approach to consulting conversations! When participants learn about some of those skills, they tell me that “You can’t do or say that in our culture; you can do that in your organization, but here, it’s just not acceptable.” I hear the same thing from people in Barcelona, Chicago, Dublin, Istanbul, Tokyo, or Vienna – all across the planet.
Decision-Making: Getting Your Clients to Take Action with Jeff Evans
Learn more about how you can influence your clients to take action on your recommendations, producing stronger organizational outcomes with this webinar from Designed Learning’s Managing Partner, Jeff Evans.