What happens when consultants decide they know best?

A recent zoom conversation with an established “Corporate Communications Specialist”, highlighted so many of the problems in conventional approaches to business.

I’ve never worked on a project or with a management team in which the technical challenges caused a serious problem.
The problems were always relational. This is where I work to enable groups to overcome business challenges. We … (interrupted) …

(interrupting me) … I’m practical. I just focus on the problem. Clients don’t want the fluffy stuff. They want solutions.

There are two things here … Firstly, focus. Secondly, the misconception that business relationships are ‘fluffy’.

I’ve learned that when you get a group of experts in the room, generally, they actually all want to take ownership and overcome the challenge they’re facing. The reason they are unable to do so is more often than not, some combination of … lack of orientation, perceived different interests, inappropriate focus, poor personal relationships, fragmented leadership, politics, and perhaps more. It happens. We’re all human.

The approach I use is to open a space for them in which all are able to focus on the key issues (which they define together). This space encompasses countless informal conversations which simply arise from the situation, as do the formal conversations on specific aspects of the business issues. Here too, they self-organise into the groups that they decide can best work on the details.

I don’t direct. I facilitate.

This approach is highly practical, not in the least fluffy, quick, economical and absolutely effective. The quality of life is about the quality of relationships, and business is merely one aspect of life, albeit a very important one.

If we were to work on cultivating relationships … using the business as the focus … at the start of an initiative, corporations would save themselves a great deal of money and people would avoid a great deal of unnecessary stress.

I understand. But clients appreciate the way in which I can solve their problems.

I can recall countless conversations in which clients have told me about the problems they have clearing up the mess after “consultants” have left. Do organisations really need a hero consultant?

… trust your people … they know …