Watch the following situation occur in conversations among consultants.
Many consultants place extreme value on people’s feelings, beliefs and perceptions. That’s their natural “lens” on organizations. Many of them are from fields of psychology, human resources and coaching. In my experience, they often conclude their clients have problems primarily with, for example, interpersonal conflicts, emotional intelligence and authenticity. It seems this group has grown substantially. Maybe because of the many consultant trainings that focus almost exclusively on the “human” side of things, with very little, if any, attention to the “business” topics. Also, because we’re all human — maybe many of us believe we’re already experts at consulting in this area, too.
In contrast, are the consultants who highly value strategies, structures, plans and policies. That’s their natural lens. Many of them have extensive experience in management. They might conclude that their clients have problems primarily with, for example, strategic planning, organizational design and workflow. (Unfortunately, this is the “business” side of things that seems so lifeless and icky to the other type of consultants.)
Very seasoned consultants have learned to look at organizations through both lens. One of the most useful resources to explain these perspectives is the book, Reframing Organizations by Bolman and Deal. The authors explain how there can be very different perspectives among researchers, writers, educators, consultants and members of organizations.
I highly encourage consultants, especially those who have complete disregard of either lens, to read the book. We consultants – and especially our clients – will be much better off.
Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD – Authenticity Consulting, LLC – 800-971-2250
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