Content versus Process

I recall a question I was once asked in a training session.  "Do you want to be know as a technical expert or a great consultant with sound technical knowledge?"  I certainly wanted to be known a great consultant.  I therefore had to learn alot about the consulting process. 

One of the most difficult lessons for me to learn was good consulting does not mean solving the clients problem for him but helping him solve the problem.  You see I am a smart guy and a great problem solver so resisting coming up with the answer is difficult for me. 

I have found that often the clients are just as good at problem solving as I am and a great question to ask is "What do you think?"   My role is to help them have confidence to take action and give them feedback. 

One of the problem is that it does not create the aura around you as the expert.  However I have learned that hero worship is a crock of ____.  The people are distancing themselves from you and really all that does is reduce their confidence to act.  However if it is their idea and you help them their confidence builds. 

So I must give you an example.  I have often been asked what should we do about our IT group who in underperforming.  I usually will spend some time assessing the situation and often conclude the head of IT is out of synch with the organization.  The difficulty then becomes what to do.  Do I go for the quick fix and suggest they replace the IT head or work to improve the situation?  Usually I know that the organization has created the problem, especially if the head of IT has been there for sometime.  I have taken both tacks.  However what I would prefer to do is help the organization come to its own conclusion and help the head of IT make changes.  Often there are opportunities to help the organization test whether the person is up to the job.  The most satisfying assignments are the ones where the head of IT makes the right changes and grows into the job.


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