Our world today tends to be a selfish one and that doesn’t differ when it comes to business either. When you meet with a consultant, everyone wants to know: “What’s in it for me?” In a nutshell, that’s actually the cornerstone of what I do for an organization. I help someone mitigate their pain. Even if my client is just the one person experiencing some sort of pain or challenge, my end goal is to satisfy them– to help them understand what can be done to relieve that suffering. If I do that first, help them understand how to relieve pain, then the understanding keeps giving, often linking to other, unexpected areas. The gift that keeps on giving…
It’s Not Me, It’s You
It’s pretty common for senior-most executives to identify a problem they’re having with team members or issues they’d like help resolving…within the hierarchy beneath them. They’re sure it’s due to something in particular, but as it turns out, it’s as likely to be them as anything else. I once had a client ask me for help because he was frustrated with his team of managers. He wanted me to train them because they were forever asking a million questions and he’d had enough. As I looked into the situation and started investigating, I realized it wasn’t because he had idiots working for him, but because the guy was never available. He gave shaky information, he was all over the charts in conversation, he rambled and his objectives were a joke. He presented really dumb objectives like “We need to grow,” “We need to get better and move forward,” and related crap that he read from some silly book.
As it turned out, it wasn’t the managers, but my client who needed some help. He was lousy at giving direction and failed at setting clear and reasonable expectations. The leadership team beneath him was peddling as fast as they could in different directions and if they actually did something right, it was only out of sheer luck and nothing else (the “blind squirrel” syndrome). I tell people all the time, we sometimes have trouble with employees doing what we want them to do when we’re crystal clear with expectations. Adding mind-reading to the mix is simply not fair.