Anymore I can usually tell how good a consultant is in the first few minutes of our conversation. How?
By how much they listen.
By how much they want to learn, no matter how much they already know.
By how much they ask questions instead of talking about themselves.
By how much it’s not about them, but about the change they can create in the world.
As part of this week’s immersion course in Pollyanna Principled Consulting, I was blessed to be able to speak with each of the attendees by phone, prior to our gathering together. I asked each of them the same question: “What difference do you want this week to make for you?”
Their answers will show you why some consultants always seem to be way ahead of the pack:
“I want to help organizations do what they really want to do for their communities. I want to be able to guide them when they’re struggling for direction – when they don’t know what they don’t know about what is possible.”
“I want to be better at asking questions.”
“I want to understand how to bring along those individuals who have been at this for 20 years, who have so much vested in approaches that simply are not creating community change.”
“I want to be able to pull our whole community together, to think of themselves as a team with a common purpose – making our community more livable. I want to understand how to broaden who is involved in this work.”
“I want to be more effective at translating / reframing the principles into language boards and organizations will recognize and not be intimidated by (or feel is irrelevant: ‘Vision and values? We don’t need that!’).”
“I want the Pollyanna Principles to be second nature to the way I do my work. I want to be conversant in them. I want to own the principles.”
It’s easy to teach “tools and techniques.” That is why we see so many workshops with titles like, “Methods for X” or “Ten Ways to Y.” How many of those trainings have you been to? And how many have resulted in transformative change in your clients’ communities?
Untill we reconsider the assumptions, views, belief systems, personal values and expectations that undergird our work, we will continue to bemoan that “No matter what I do with clients, their communities are not seeing much difference.”
The folks with whom we are spending this week are not looking for tools and techniques. They are instead seeking to transform how they think and be in their work – how they respond, how they reason things through, the questions they ask.
And that is the answer to why some consultants seem to always be ahead of the pack.
It is not because they know the methods or have the tricks. It is not because they are better at marketing themselves.
It is because they are open to seeing their consulting practice as ever-evolving, as they seek to integrate their life and their work with their community and their world. It is because they want their consulting practice to be a catalyst for social change.
And most of all, it is because they realize that change begins inside each of us as people first, before we even start talking with clients.
After just one day together, I am so energized by what I am learning from these amazing consultants. To know we have four more days where we are all teaching and all learning is a blessing. And who could ask for more than that?!
To follow what happened throughout this week-long course, click here for the next installment.
Learn more about Pollyanna Principled / Community-Driven Consulting. Perhaps you will be in our next Immersion Class June 8-12!
And if you have not yet read the Pollyanna Principles, go now and get the book!