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 The mindset that it is the boss’s responsibility to boost morale and maintain well-being is outdated and inherently detrimental to the progression of an employee.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.


Fear in the Workplace

Fear is something not everyone grows accustomed to. As Peter Block puts it, “people want to live in a high trust environment.” So how does fear, which generally has a negative connotation, benefit an office setting? In his video, “Fear in the Workplace,” Peter discusses his thoughts on fear and its implications in a working environment. “Some people think having trust in the workplace means driving fear out. I like fear,” Peter says. “Fear is a natural state.”

According to Peter, if you’re not nervous or anxious you’re not paying attention. However, Peter makes it clear that instead of fearing your boss or the institution, you should be anxious about more meaningful things.

Peter suggests one should be anxious over things like keeping your integrity, or about whether you are using power in the right way. “To be anxious is to be a human being,” says Peter.

“The idea that fear can be driven out of the workplace, I’d let go of that. Fear in the workplace is perfect. I would keep it there.”


In this short clip, Peter Block discusses how to restore a sense of aliveness in the workplace. Block says that materials such as books and movies are brought into this world to help restore aliveness. The modern world and electronic information age revolve around speed and efficiency. The cost of this speed and perfection is what Block considers to be our humanity.

When consulting, it is imperative to bring a sense of aliveness into every moment you are working, no matter what your job may entail. Block emphasizes that it is the quality of aliveness that restores our society. The purpose of each consulting project is to care for the humanness of whatever you may be doing, to restore a sense of aliveness and finally, to have faith that you will reach the goal that you set out to achieve.


What are you naturally good at? Not a strength, but an admirable quality or trait that you were born with. In Peter’s eyes, a gift is an unearned blessing and something that you do not have to work to improve. He suggests that individually, we must discover our gifts.

In many of the Flawless Consulting workshops, participants are videotaped. Individuals are told to analyze the film and to determine only what they liked about what they saw themselves do. Nearly every participant finds the negatives about how they sounded, their body language and so on but hardly any seem to find what they admired about their actions. The cause of this? Being blind to your gifts.

Before you start to work on your strengths, consider taking a step back and determining what gifts you were born with. Simply ask yourself, “What am I good at? What are the gifts that I can bring into the world?” Perhaps this is a way to discover your own unique gifts. By doing this, we can also be aware of the gifts in our business partners as well. Peter describes this as a much softer conversation than one in which you determine your strengths.