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Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used, Third Edition

Book Description

When the landmark best-seller Flawless Consulting was first published more than three decades ago, it was quickly adopted as the “consultant's bible.” With his legendary warmth and passion, Peter Block explained how to deal effectively with clients, peers, and others. The book continues to speak to people in a support function inside organizations as well as to external consultants.

This thoroughly revised and updated third edition of Peter Block's groundbreaking book explores the latest thinking on consultation. It includes new insights about how we can organize our consulting around discovering the strengths, positive examples, and gifts of the client organization or community. The book remains a practical and specific guide for anyone who needs to develop a capacity for deeper relatedness and partnership — which means it is for all who wish to make a real difference in the world.

This new edition covers the consulting challenges that have arisen from the way we routinely communicate electronically and live in the virtual world. Block suggests ways to overcome the distancing and isolating effects inherent in electronic connects. The book also includes practical guidance on how to ask better questions, gives suggestions for dealing with difficult clients, and contains expanded guidelines on more engaging forms of implementation.

Flawless Consulting includes two new examples, taken from health care and educational reform efforts, to show how consulting skills can be useful (and often transformative) in a broader context. These illustrative examples point the way for achieving changes for leadership in business, government, religion, human services, and more.

Like the first two editions, Flawless Consulting affirms the notion that authentic behavior and personal relationships are the key to technical and business success. By demonstrating their ability to be truly authentic at each step in the process, consultants can aim toward creating workplaces that are more collaborative and ultimately more successful.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Contents
  3. Emdorsements
  4. Title
  5. Copyright
  6. Dedication
  7. Also by Peter Block
  8. What’s New?
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Chapter 1: A Consultant by Any Other Name . . .
    1. Some Definitions and Distinctions
    2. Consulting Skills Preview
    3. The Promise of Flawless Consultation
  11. Chapter 2: Techniques are Not Enough
    1. Beyond Content
    2. The Consultant’s Assumptions
    3. The Consultant’s Goals
    4. Developing Client Commitment—A Secondary Goal of Each Consulting Act
    5. Roles Consultants Choose
    6. Collaboration and the Fear of Holding Hands
    7. Staging the Client’s Involvement, Step by Step
  12. Chapter 3: Flawless Consulting
    1. Being Authentic
    2. Completing the Requirements of Each Phase
    3. Results
    4. Accountability
    5. The Right to Fail
  13. Chapter 4: Contracting Overview
    1. Contracting: The Concept and the Skill
    2. Elements of a Contract
    3. Ground Rules for Contracting
  14. Chapter 5: The Contracting Meeting
    1. Who Is the Client?
    2. Navigating the Contracting Meeting
    3. When You Get Stuck
    4. The Problem with Saying No
    5. Contracting Checkpoint
    6. Selling Your Services: Good Selling Is Good Contracting
    7. The Meeting as a Model of How You Work
    8. Closing the Contracting Meeting
    9. After the Contracting Meeting
  15. Chapter 6: The Agonies of Contracting
    1. Dealing with Low Motivation
    2. Ceaseless Negotiation: The Shifting Tide of Your Role
    3. Some Other Specific Agonies
    4. The Virtual World
  16. Chapter 7: The Internal Consultant
    1. Important Differences Between Internal and External Consultants
    2. Triangles and Rectangles
  17. Chapter 8: Understanding Resistance
    1. The Faces of Resistance
    2. What are Clients Resisting When They are Resisting Us?
    3. Underlying Concerns
    4. Sometimes It Is Not Resistance
    5. The Fear and the Wish
    6. Ogres and Angels
    7. . . . And Heroics
  18. Chapter 9: Dealing with Resistance
    1. Three Steps for Handling Resistance
    2. Don’t Take It Personally
    3. Good-Faith Responses
    4. Consulting with a Stone
  19. Chapter 10: From Diagnosis to Discovery
    1. It Is Still the Relationship That Counts
    2. The Call to Action
    3. The Problem Is Not the Problem
    4. How the Problem Is Being Managed
    5. Flawless Discovery
  20. Chapter 11: Whole-System Discovery
    1. Third-Party Consulting
    2. Taking a Whole-System Approach
    3. Your Choice
    4. Putting Whole-System Discovery to Work
    5. The Payoff
  21. Chapter 12: Discovering Gifts, Capacities, and Possibilities
    1. When All Else Fails
    2. The Power of Positive Deviance
    3. The Implications of Positive Deviance for Consulting
    4. An Example of What Is Working
  22. Chapter 13: Get the Picture
    1. The Steps in Getting the Picture
    2. A Word About Bias
    3. Assessing How the Situation Is Being Managed
    4. The Discovery Interview
    5. Levels of Analysis
    6. Your Experience as Data
  23. Chapter 14: Preparing for Feedback
    1. A Clear Picture May Be Enough
    2. Condensing the Data
    3. Some Do’s and Don’ts
    4. Language in Giving the Picture
    5. Presenting the Picture . . . As Courtroom Drama
    6. Support and Confront
  24. Chapter 15: Managing the Meeting for Action
    1. How to Present the Picture
    2. Structuring the Meeting
    3. The Meeting for Action, Step by Step
    4. A Recap
    5. Resistance in the Meeting
    6. When Group Members are at Odds Among Themselves
    7. Modeling the Meeting
  25. Chapter 16: Implementation
    1. Choosing Engagement over Installation
    2. Deciding Doesn’t Get It Done
    3. The Limits of Installation
    4. Betting on Engagement
  26. Chapter 17: The Elements of Engagement
    1. The Meeting Is the Message
    2. Eight Ways to Engage
    3. The Point
  27. Chapter 18: Teacher as Consultant
    1. The Story
    2. Assumptions About Motivating Students
    3. The Reality
    4. Taking a Consultant’s Stance
    5. The Trip to Washington, D.C.
    6. The Choice in the Matter
  28. Chapter 19: The Heart of the Matter
    1. Choosing Learning over Teaching
    2. Learning as a Social Adventure
    3. The Struggle Is the Solution
    4. The Question Is More Important Than the Answer
    5. Beyond How
    6. Insight Resides in Moments of Tension
    7. Capacities Bear More Fruit Than Deficiencies
    8. We are Responsible for One Another’s Learning
    9. Culture Changes in the Moment
    10. If Change Is So Wonderful, Why Don’t You Go First?
    11. The Final Question Is One of Faith
  29. Online Appendix: Handy Checklists You Can Use
  30. Further Reading
  31. About the Author