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Peter Block Flawless Consulting: A Guide To Getting Your Expertise Used, Second Edition

Book Description

The second edition of Peter Block's Flawless Consulting gracefully updates what many consider the best resource of its kind. New chapters on implementation, "whole-system" strategies, and ethics are included, but in general it simply fine-tunes Block's proven advice to match the transformations that business and society have undergone since initial publication two decades ago. "The days of long studies and expert-driven answers are passing," the author proclaims in his new preface. "The task of the consultant is increasingly to build the capacity of clients to make their own assessments and answer their own questions." He then subtly modifies his established recommendations accordingly for every step, from the initial client meeting and problem diagnosis through data collection and the execution of solutions. In the section on "Conducting a Group Feedback Meeting," for example, he advises: "Treat the group as a collection of individuals.... Ask each person what he or she wants from the meeting. This will surface differences and force the group to take responsibility for some of the difficulties that may arise." --Howard Rothman

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Preface to the Second Edition
  3. Preface to the First Edition
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. 1. A Consultant by Any Other Name . . .
    1. 1.1. Some Definitions and Distinctions
      1. 1.1.1. Technical Skills
      2. 1.1.2. Interpersonal Skills
      3. 1.1.3. Consulting Skills
    2. 1.2. Consulting Skills Preview
      1. 1.2.1. Phase 1. Entry and Contracting
      2. 1.2.2. Phase 2. Discovery and Dialogue
      3. 1.2.3. Phase 3. Feedback and the Decision to Act
      4. 1.2.4. Phase 4. Engagement and Implementation
      5. 1.2.5. Phase 5. Extension, Recycle, or Termination
    3. 1.3. The Promise of Flawless Consultation
  6. 2. Techniques Are Not Enough
    1. 2.1. Beyond Substance
      1. 2.1.1. Responsibility
      2. 2.1.2. Feelings
      3. 2.1.3. Trust
      4. 2.1.4. Your Own Needs
    2. 2.2. The Consultant's Assumptions
      1. 2.2.1. Problem Solving Requires Valid Data
      2. 2.2.2. Effective Decision Making Requires Free and Open Choice
      3. 2.2.3. Effective Implementation Requires Internal Commitment
    3. 2.3. The Consultant's Goals
      1. 2.3.1. Goal Number 1. To Establish a Collaborative Relationship
      2. 2.3.2. Goal Number 2. To Solve Problems So They Stay Solved
      3. 2.3.3. Goal Number 3. To Ensure Attention Is Given to Both the Technical/Business Problem and the Relationships
    4. 2.4. Developing Client Commitment—A Secondary Goal of Each Consulting Act
    5. 2.5. Roles Consultants Choose
      1. 2.5.1. Expert Role
        1. 2.5.1.1. Problems
      2. 2.5.2. Pair-of-Hands Role
        1. 2.5.2.1. Problems
      3. 2.5.3. Collaborative Role
        1. 2.5.3.1. Problems
    6. 2.6. Collaboration and the Fear of Holding Hands
    7. 2.7. Staging the Client's Involvement—Step by Step
      1. 2.7.1. Step 1. Defining the Initial Problem
        1. 2.7.1.1. Example
      2. 2.7.2. Step 2. Deciding to Proceed with the Project
        1. 2.7.2.1. Example
      3. 2.7.3. Step 3. Selecting Dimensions to Be Studied
        1. 2.7.3.1. Example
      4. 2.7.4. Step 4. Deciding Who Will Be Involved in the Project
        1. 2.7.4.1. Example
      5. 2.7.5. Step 5. Selecting the Method
        1. 2.7.5.1. Example
      6. 2.7.6. Step 6. Data Collection
        1. 2.7.6.1. Example
      7. 2.7.7. Steps 7, 8, 9. Funneling the Data, Data Summary, Data Analysis
        1. 2.7.7.1. Example
      8. 2.7.8. Step 10. Feedback of Results
        1. 2.7.8.1. Example
        2. 2.7.8.2. Step 11. Making Recommendations
        3. 2.7.8.3. Example
      9. 2.7.9. Step 12. Decision on Actions
        1. 2.7.9.1. Example
    8. 2.8. Checklist #1. Assessing the Balance of Responsibility
  7. 3. Flawless Consulting
    1. 3.1. Being Authentic
    2. 3.2. Completing the Requirements of Each Phase
      1. 3.2.1. Contracting
      2. 3.2.2. Discovery and Data Collection
      3. 3.2.3. Feedback and the Decision to Act
      4. 3.2.4. Engagement and Implementation
    3. 3.3. Results
      1. 3.3.1. Accountability
  8. 4. Contracting Overview
    1. 4.1. Contracting—The Concept and the Skill
      1. 4.1.1. The Word—Contract
      2. 4.1.2. Mutual Consent
      3. 4.1.3. Valid Consideration
    2. 4.2. Contracting Skills
    3. 4.3. Elements of a Contract
      1. 4.3.1. 1. The Boundaries of Your Analysis
        1. 4.3.1.1. Examples:
      2. 4.3.2. 2. Objectives of the Project
        1. 4.3.2.1. Examples: Business Objectives
        2. 4.3.2.2. Learning Objectives
        3. 4.3.2.3. Organizational Development Objectives
      3. 4.3.3. 3. The Kind of Information You Seek
        1. 4.3.3.1. Examples: Technical Data, Figures, Work Flow
        2. 4.3.3.2. Attitudes of People
        3. 4.3.3.3. Roles and Responsibilities
      4. 4.3.4. 4. Your Role in the Project
        1. 4.3.4.1. Example:
      5. 4.3.5. 5. The Product You Will Deliver
        1. 4.3.5.1. Example: A Promise for Specific Recommendations
        2. 4.3.5.2. Example: A Promise for General Recommendations
      6. 4.3.6. 6. What Support and Involvement You Need from the Client
        1. 4.3.6.1. Example:
      7. 4.3.7. 7. Time Schedule
        1. 4.3.7.1. Example:
      8. 4.3.8. 8. Confidentiality
        1. 4.3.8.1. Example: Easy Case
        2. 4.3.8.2. Example: Hard Case
      9. 4.3.9. 9. Feedback to You Later
        1. 4.3.9.1. Example:
    4. 4.4. Checklist #2. Analyzing One of Your Contracts
    5. 4.5. Ground Rules for Contracting
  9. 5. The Contracting Meeting
    1. 5.1. Who Is the Client?
    2. 5.2. Navigating the Contracting Meeting
      1. 5.2.1. Step 1. Personal Acknowledgement
        1. 5.2.1.1. Some Examples:
      2. 5.2.2. Step 2. Communicate Understanding of the Problem
        1. 5.2.2.1. Acknowledge the Unique Aspects of the Situation
        2. 5.2.2.2. Examples:
        3. 5.2.2.3. Restate, in Your Own Words, Your Perception of the Problem
        4. 5.2.2.4. Examples:
        5. 5.2.2.5. Reassure the Manager that There Are Solutions to This Unique and Complicated Problem and that You Can Be of Help
        6. 5.2.2.6. Examples:
      3. 5.2.3. Step 3. Client Wants and Offers
      4. 5.2.4. Step 4. Consultant Wants and Offers
        1. 5.2.4.1. Putting It into Words
        2. 5.2.4.2. The Want
        3. 5.2.4.3. Fogged Expression of Wants
        4. 5.2.4.4. Comment
        5. 5.2.4.5. Authentic Expression of Wants
        6. 5.2.4.6. Comment
        7. 5.2.4.7. Your Chance
        8. 5.2.4.8. Consultant Offers (Step 4 Continued)
      5. 5.2.5. Step 5. Reaching Agreement
      6. 5.2.6. Step 6. Asking for Feedback About Control and Commitment
        1. 5.2.6.1. Test No. 1
        2. 5.2.6.2. Test No. 2
      7. 5.2.7. Step 7. Give Support
      8. 5.2.8. Step 8. Restate Actions
      9. 5.2.9. Step 5–S. Getting Stuck on Wants and Offers
        1. 5.2.9.1. Knowing When You Are Stuck
      10. 5.2.10. Step 6–S. Think/Recess
      11. 5.2.11. Step 7-S. New Wants and Offers
      12. 5.2.12. Step 8–S. Stuck Again
      13. 5.2.13. Step 9–S. Process How We Are Handling This Discussion
      14. 5.2.14. Step 10–S. Rediscuss Wants and Offers
      15. 5.2.15. Step 11–S. If Still Stuck—Terminate/Minimize Your Investment
    3. 5.3. The Problem with Saying No
    4. 5.4. Checklist #3. Planning a Contracting Meeting
    5. 5.5. Selling Your Services—Good Selling Is Good Contracting
      1. 5.5.1. Reverse the Expression of Wants
      2. 5.5.2. Selling Is Removing Obstacles More than Lighting Fires
      3. 5.5.3. A Comment on Time and Money
    6. 5.6. The Meeting As a Model of How You Work
    7. 5.7. Closing the Contracting Meeting
      1. 5.7.1. How to Measure Success
      2. 5.7.2. Twenty Minutes Before the End of the Meeting
    8. 5.8. After the Contracting Meeting
    9. 5.9. Checklist #4. Reviewing the Contracting Meeting
  10. 6. The Agonies of Contracting
    1. 6.1. Dealing with Low Motivation
    2. 6.2. Ceaseless Negotiation—The Shifting Tide of Your Role
    3. 6.3. Some Other Specific Agonies
      1. 6.3.1. The Flirtatious Client
      2. 6.3.2. Credentials? Still . . . at Your Age!
      3. 6.3.3. Go-Betweens
      4. 6.3.4. Defining the Problem to Death—A Common Mistake
    4. 6.4. The Bonner Case
    5. 6.5. A Look into the Bonner Case
  11. 7. The Internal Consultant
    1. 7.1. Important Differences Between Internal and External Consultants
    2. 7.2. Triangles and Rectangles
      1. 7.2.1. Bosses
      2. 7.2.2. Your Boss's Expectations
      3. 7.2.3. Contracts with Your Boss
  12. 8. Understanding Resistance
    1. 8.1. The Faces of Resistance
      1. 8.1.1. Give Me More Detail
      2. 8.1.2. Flood You with Detail
      3. 8.1.3. Time
      4. 8.1.4. Impracticality
      5. 8.1.5. I'm Not Surprised
      6. 8.1.6. Attack
      7. 8.1.7. Confusion
      8. 8.1.8. Silence
      9. 8.1.9. Intellectualizing
      10. 8.1.10. Moralizing
      11. 8.1.11. Compliance
      12. 8.1.12. Methodology
      13. 8.1.13. Flight into Health
      14. 8.1.14. Pressing for Solutions
    2. 8.2. What Are Clients Resisting When They Are Resisting Us?
    3. 8.3. Underlying Concerns
      1. 8.3.1. Control
      2. 8.3.2. Vulnerability
    4. 8.4. Sometimes It Is Not Resistance
    5. 8.5. The Fear and the Wish
      1. 8.5.1. Being Dependent, Asking for Help
      2. 8.5.2. Wanting Confirmation, Not Change
    6. 8.6. Ogres and Angels
    7. 8.7. . . . and Heroics
  13. 9. Dealing with Resistance
    1. 9.1. Three Steps
      1. 9.1.1. Step 1. Picking Up the Cues
        1. 9.1.1.1. Trust What You See More Than What You Hear
        2. 9.1.1.2. Listen to Yourself
        3. 9.1.1.3. Repetition and Telltale Phrases
      2. 9.1.2. Step 2. Naming the Resistance
        1. 9.1.2.1. A Hint for Finding the Right Words
      3. 9.1.3. Step 3. Being Quiet, Letting the Client Respond
    2. 9.2. Don't Take It Personally
      1. 9.2.1. Good Faith Responses
      2. 9.2.2. Consulting with a Stone
  14. 10. From Diagnosis to Discovery
    1. 10.1. The Call to Action
    2. 10.2. Juggling the Presenting Problem
    3. 10.3. How the Problem Is Being Managed
    4. 10.4. A Reminder
  15. 11. Getting the Data
    1. 11.1. The Steps in Getting Data
      1. 11.1.1. A Word About Bias
    2. 11.2. Assessing How the Problem Is Being Managed
    3. 11.3. The Data Collection Interview
      1. 11.3.1. The Interview As a Joint Learning Event
      2. 11.3.2. Levels of Analysis
      3. 11.3.3. Try This Exercise
      4. 11.3.4. Some Responses to Use in the Interview
    4. 11.4. A Final Comment on What to Look For
      1. 11.4.1. Norms in Groups—Avoiding the Leadership Love Trap
      2. 11.4.2. Your Experience As Data
    5. 11.5. Checklist #5. Planning a Data Collection Meeting
    6. 11.6. Checklist #6. Reviewing the Data Collection Meeting
  16. 12. Whole-System Discovery
    1. 12.1. Third-Party Consulting
    2. 12.2. Taking a Whole-System Approach
      1. 12.2.1. Your Choice
      2. 12.2.2. Third Party
      3. 12.2.3. Whole System
    3. 12.3. Putting Whole-System Discovery to Work
      1. 12.3.1. Whole System
      2. 12.3.2. Having the Right Stuff
    4. 12.4. The Payoff
  17. 13. Preparing for Feedback
    1. 13.1. A Clear Picture May Be Enough
      1. 13.1.1. Condensing the Data
    2. 13.2. Some Do's and Don'ts
      1. 13.2.1. Don't Collude
      2. 13.2.2. Don't Project
      3. 13.2.3. Do Confirm Their Expectations
      4. 13.2.4. Do Confront
    3. 13.3. Language in Giving Feedback
      1. 13.3.1.
        1. 13.3.1.1. Assertive
        2. 13.3.1.2. Aggressive
        3. 13.3.1.3. Nonassertive
    4. 13.4. A Preview of the Feedback Meeting . . . As Courtroom Drama
      1. 13.4.1. Consultant As Judge
      2. 13.4.2. Consultant As Jury
      3. 13.4.3. Consultant As Prosecutor
      4. 13.4.4. Consultant As Defendant
      5. 13.4.5. Consultant As Witness
    5. 13.5. Support and Confrontation
  18. 14. Managing the Feedback Meeting
    1. 14.1. Feedback Concepts and Skills
    2. 14.2. How to Present Data
    3. 14.3. Structuring the Meeting
    4. 14.4. The Feedback Meeting—Step by Step
      1. 14.4.1. State the Structure of the Meeting
      2. 14.4.2. Present Findings and Recommendations
      3. 14.4.3. Ask for Client Rections
      4. 14.4.4. "Are You Getting What You Want?"
      5. 14.4.5. Decision to Proceed
      6. 14.4.6. Test for Client Concerns About Control and Commitment
      7. 14.4.7. Ask Yourself Whether There Is More You Want from the Meeting
        1. 14.4.7.1. Give Support
      8. 14.4.8. A Recap
    5. 14.5. Resistance in the Feedback Meeting
    6. 14.6. Checklist #7. Planning a Feedback Meeting
    7. 14.7. Conducting a Group Feedback Meeting
    8. 14.8. Checklist #8. Reviewing the Feedback Meeting
    9. 14.9. Feedback Skills Summary
  19. 15. Implementation
    1. 15.1. Choosing Engagement over Installation
    2. 15.2. Deciding Doesn't Get It Done
    3. 15.3. The Case Against Installation
      1. 15.3.1. Leadership by Lamination
      2. 15.3.2. We Need Higher Standards, and This Time We Mean Business
      3. 15.3.3. Matching the Reward System to the Desired Behaviors Won't Help
      4. 15.3.4. If Only We Had a Common Language and Common Training
      5. 15.3.5. If We Can't Measure It, It Doesn't Matter
    4. 15.4. Betting on Engagement
    5. 15.5. A Reminder
  20. 16. Strategies for Engagement
    1. 16.1. Feelings Are Facts
    2. 16.2. Supporting the Emotional Side
    3. 16.3. The Meeting Is the Message
    4. 16.4. Innovative Engagement in Five Easy Pieces
      1. 16.4.1. The Presentation-Participation Balance
      2. 16.4.2. Transparency and the Public Expression of Doubt
        1. 16.4.2.1. Sharing the Platform
        2. 16.4.2.2. The Straight Story
      3. 16.4.3. Placing Real Choice on the Table
      4. 16.4.4. Changing the Conversation
        1. 16.4.4.1. Away from Familiar Refrains
        2. 16.4.4.2. Toward a New Conversation
      5. 16.4.5. Caring About Place
        1. 16.4.5.1. The Auditorium, Cafeteria, Etc. and Other Places That Defy Engagement
        2. 16.4.5.2. The Circle
    5. 16.5. The Choice for Accountability
  21. 17. Some Tools for Engagement
    1. 17.1. Methods You Can Really Use
      1. 17.1.1. Structure 1. Open with Transparent Purpose and Level Playing Field
      2. 17.1.2. Structure 2. Renegotiate Expectations About Participation
        1. 17.1.2.1. The Activity
        2. 17.1.2.2. The Point
        3. 17.1.2.3. The Point
        4. 17.1.2.4. The Point
        5. 17.1.2.5. The Point
      3. 17.1.3. Structure 3. Rearrange the Room
        1. 17.1.3.1. The Theory
        2. 17.1.3.2. The Practice
      4. 17.1.4. The Point
      5. 17.1.5. Structure 4. Create a Platform for Doubt
        1. 17.1.5.1. The Practice
        2. 17.1.5.2. The Point
      6. 17.1.6. Structure 5. What Do We Want to Create Together?
        1. 17.1.6.1. The Practice
        2. 17.1.6.2. A Tip
      7. 17.1.7. Structure 6. Creating a New Conversation
        1. 17.1.7.1. The Activity
      8. 17.1.8. Structure 7. Choosing Commitment and Accountability
        1. 17.1.8.1. Peer Accountability
        2. 17.1.8.2. Commitment Without Negotiation
        3. 17.1.8.3. The Activity
      9. 17.1.9. Structure 8. Positive Feedback
        1. 17.1.9.1. The Activity
    2. 17.2. Checklist #9. Preparing for Implementation
    3. 17.3. Mixing Metaphor and Methodology
    4. 17.4. Checklist #10. Reviewing an Implementation Event
  22. 18. Ethics and the Shadow Side of Consulting
    1. 18.1. The Promise
    2. 18.2. The Commercialization of Service
    3. 18.3. Growth Diminishes Can Undermine Service
      1. 18.3.1. The Reengineering Wave . . . Promising Magic
      2. 18.3.2. Performance Management . . . Let Me Do It for You
      3. 18.3.3. Leadership Development . . . Entertainment Tonight
      4. 18.3.4. Change Management . . . Contrast Between Intention and Form
        1. 18.3.4.1. They Are the Problem; They Need to Change, We Don't
        2. 18.3.4.2. Using Assessment as a Way to Market Services
        3. 18.3.4.3. Colluding with Cosmetic Change
        4. 18.3.4.4. Who Takes Credit?
      5. 18.3.5. Seller Beware
    4. 18.4. Owning the Shadow—Some Thoughts on What to Do
      1. 18.4.1. Say No As Often As You Say Yes
      2. 18.4.2. Stay True to Your Worth
      3. 18.4.3. Grow on Your Own Terms
      4. 18.4.4. Show How Everybody Counts
      5. 18.4.5. Leave It All Behind
      6. 18.4.6. And, Finally, Forgive
  23. 19. The Heart of the Matter
    1. 19.1. Choosing Learning over Teaching
      1. 19.1.1. Learning As a Social Adventure
    2. 19.2. The Struggle Is the Solution
      1. 19.2.1. The Question Is More Important Than the Answer
      2. 19.2.2. Beyond How
    3. 19.3. Insight Resides in Moments of Tension
    4. 19.4. Capacities Bear More Fruit Than Deficiencies
    5. 19.5. We Are Responsible for One Another's Learning
    6. 19.6. Culture Changes in the Moment
    7. 19.7. If Change Is So Wonderful, Why Don't You Go First?
    8. 19.8. The Final Question Is One of Faith
  24. A. Another Checklist You Can Use
    1. A.1. To Get an Overview
    2. A.2. Before You Negotiate Your Next Contract, Remember . . .
    3. A.3. Before You Go into the Data Collection and Discovery Phase of Your Next Project, Remember . . .
    4. A.4. Before You Go into the Feedback Phase of Your Next Project, Remember . . .
    5. A.5. When You Encounter Resistance, Remember . . .
    6. A.6. Before You Go into the Implementation Phase of Your Next Project, Remember . . .
    7. A.7. To Create an Ethical Practice, Remember . . .
  25. Suggestions for Further Reading
  26. About the Author