Risk Topics

an interesting take on consulting


I've started reading Peter Block's "Flawless Consulting". In the introduction, he makes the assertion that there's a lot more to the game than the technical matter at hand, and I think he's right. He believes that the early "discovery and dialogue" phase is the most important part of a project. That part when you determine if the two of you will be able to work to productively work together, and determine the desirable outcomes for both parties.

This is something that's always struck me about the teachings of the PMI, by counter-example. They stress mid-project "communication, communication, and communication". But I agree with Block: if the initial engagement phase is mis-handled, all the stake-holder management during the life of a gig can't help you.

And then there's interesting insight, which appears on page 10. "..each act that expresses trust in ourselves and belief in the validity of our own experience is always the right path to follow. Each act that is manipulative or filled with pretense is always self-destructive." Seems obvious on the face of it, but how many relationships in a corporate setting are in fact artificial in the sense of "insincere or affected"? Think of relationships you've seen: yourself with a boss's boss, for instance: expressing of trust in yourself, or stilted and full of artifice? Or yourself and the board. Or with the Managing Director of some other business or functional unit. Trusting, or manipulative?

It's the latter that have caused me to leave jobs, that's for sure. It's also jammed up more than a few potential contracts.

I think I'll like this book.

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