Your Boss Is Not Your Parent

Peter Block has never been one to avoid confrontation and denounce current business practices. In this year’s edition of the Visionary Leaders Summit, a yearly installation of interviews with the world’s top innovators, thinkers, and educators, Peter Block had the honor of joining host Nicole Farkouh for an insightful interview. Peter concisely dismantles the age-old business practice of bosses treating their employees like children. The mindset that it is the boss’s responsibility to boost morale and maintain well-being is outdated and inherently detrimental to the progression of an employee. The simple reason for this is that the parent-child relationship in business diverts responsibility from the employee when in reality, the employee should ask themselves “What are you doing to contribute to the very thing that upsets you?” To learn more about why this and other popular business practices are lacking, watch Peter’s Visionary Leaders Summit interview here:


Let’s be honest. We all appreciate receiving honest feedback, but we dread being the bearer of bad news. It’s easy to leave things unspoken with someone to avoid an uncomfortable situation. However, providing honest feedback earns the trust of the people around us. Consulting is a helping profession: an act of service, love and care. When we fail to be authentic when offering feedback, we fail as consultants and business partners.


When an architect designs a new house, a construction team must follow an organized blueprint to make sure that the house is built to the exact specifications of the architect. While blueprints are effective when building a house, following a strict blueprint does not work when changing the culture within an organization. In this video, Peter Block argues that human beings respond better to being free with organic thinking as opposed to sequential action steps to institute a positive shift in culture. Changing the culture of an organization involves engaging with employees so that employees feel as though they are providing value to the company. Collaborating with employees, as opposed to forcing change from top management, will promote support for the new company culture.

“I’m Fine”

Are You Sure Things are Just Fine?

Have you ever asked someone how are they doing and they respond, “I’m fine.” If so, you probably didn’t believe everything was just fine.

As a consultant, you are able to recognize when there might be an issue hiding within a company’s culture. In this video, Peter explains why he always asks a person three times how they are doing. Peter believes that by the third time you ask someone how they feel about something, they finally open up and give their honest opinion.

Urgency of Answers

A slow internet connection, rush hour traffic or a long wait at your favorite restaurant. Let’s face it, you have a tough time being patient when you expect things to go your way and something goes wrong. As a consultant, you have probably heard a client demand a quick answer to solve a problem. Clients want an easy fix, a solution that will enable the client to get back on track in a hurry. However, you know that the right answer does not come right away. Take time to let your client practice the art of patience when you are consulting. In this video, Peter explains why the urgency for answers creates a problem every time. When you let yourself be controlled by a client’s urgency, you set yourself up for failure.

Some Jobs Aren’t Meant to Be

So you’ve made the personal acknowledgements, expressed wants and given support, but you can’t help but think, “this isn’t working”. Some jobs just aren’t meant to be, and anyone who promises you a particular outcome is trying to sell you something. In this video, Peter explains why a critical point in the contracting process is to consider whether it is really in our best interest to move ahead with a project. In the end, you lost only one client, and it is just not good for business to take on low-chance-of-success projects.


Are You the Problem?

In this short clip, Peter Block shares some tips on how to recognize and deal with personal resistance.

“If I’m a participant in the world I’m helping to create it,” says Block.

What does this mean? Block explains that if there is a dilemma amongst group members, internal customers or clients, you are a contributing factor to the problem. You must ask yourself, “How am I adding to the difficulty?” The cause of your inclusion could be due to a variety of things; your wish to please others, to have control, or even your self-doubt.

When directly addressing a problem with your client produces no results, Block suggests briefly stepping away from the meeting. This time apart will allow you to reassess the problem at hand and determine how you can individually help to fix it.

By taking time for self-reflection, recognition of your own personal resistance can be achieved.

Your Boss’ Boss

Are you intimidated by your boss? Many of us are since we believe our future lies in their hands. It would be nice to break down the barriers that perpetuate this fear when getting an agreement about how we can work together. This is known as the contracting phase in Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting model.

In this short clip, Peter Block encourages us to be communicative and engaging in conversations between employees and bosses. When we are willing to take chances, there is much to gain – including less fear and more confidence. Not only in dealing with our boss, but with others above us in the organization. Remember, you are also dealing with your boss’s boss.

Touchy Feely Crap

Goals, quotas and deadlines. In our results driven world, what else do you have time to think of? The problem with focusing on an end result is that you miss the point of what your organization is trying to accomplish. If you are unable to connect with your team and come to a mutual understanding of your mission, nothing will ever get accomplished.

In this video, Peter talks about the importance of the “touchy feely crap” that can make some people roll their eyes, but why everyone needs to understand the purpose of a job beyond the end result. When you are working in a group, take time to make sure everyone recognizes the overarching “Why” in everything you do. Creating meaning for employees will inspire team members since they realize their work is creating value.