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.
What is it that we can’t do because of their culture?
We would like to talk about our wants, raise tough issues, offer alternatives, or deal with resistance but the risk feels too great. We feel that neither certain individuals nor the culture is ready for a different conversation. Our desire is to have Clients that see us as valuable, competent, and relevant.
We worry that using some of the Flawless Consulting Skills may disrupt the organization. Our experiences bias our thinking. So, we keep it safe. We do what the Client wants us to do. We don’t raise tough issues. We say “Yes” when we want to say “No.” Better to keep things comfortable. We “live with it”, blaming the culture and hoping that things change in the future.
Yet, we created the culture we complain about through the conversations we have with each other. If we want a different culture, we need to change our thinking, and change our conversations!
What does it take to do that? Courage!
Courage is about owning the choices we make and owning the results of those choices. It means taking a risk to deepen a relationship. It means tough conversations about unspoken issues.
Courage–the foundation of Flawless Consulting–is being authentic. It is about talking in simple, direct words with compassionate, respectful tones. It means having tough conversations, listening to others’ concerns, and being slow to give advice. Courage is offering choice and freedom. It is a precious gift to give others.
So, what do you do to act with courage?
1. Ask yourself, “What’s keeping me from trying these skills?”
What are others doing that makes me cautious or concerned?
When they do that how do I respond, what do I do?
What response do I need to choose to change the conversation?
2. Practice! This will build your confidence.
Even if you think you already use the skill or think the skill is inappropriate, take advantage of the time to practice in a safe environment–especially during the workshop.
Have a colleague practice with you.
Video yourself using your cell phone.
3. Start with friendlies!
Talk to a couple of Clients that you have a good relationship with and tell them you want to start using the skills and ask for patience as you try them.
Until you’ve had some practice and built your confidence, avoid trying them on your toughest Clients
4. Start using the skills with everyone.
…And if you choose not to use the skills, own your choice. Don’t blame the culture or others!
I’d love to hear about your acts of courage. Drop me a note. Let me know how it’s going.
Charles L. Fields
Charles L Fields, Senior Consultant at Designed Learning, has traveled the world by car, rail, plane and ship, watched the sun rise on Croagh Patrick, and sat on Victoria Peak, weathered a perfect storm in the Pacific, bartered for a darbuka in the Grand Bazaar, prayed at Lord Nelson’s Sarcophagus, eaten lunch in the oldest restaurant in the world, and presented Flawless Consulting and Empowerment workshops in over 25 countries. Contact him at email@example.com
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