In Part 1, we reviewed myths 1-5. In this Part 2, we review myths 6-10.
6. Myth That All Consultants See the Same Problem the Same Way
Each consultant brings his or her own particular view, or “lens,” through which they view organizations. Also each has his or her particular biases and assumptions about how organizations should operate. The unique nature of each consultant often results in a unique perspective on problems and the approaches to solving those problems, as well.
7. Myth That There Is One Way to Solve Each Problem
Organizational change is a complex and dynamic process. Each organization is highly unique, depending on the nature of its environment, products and services, leadership, age and size. That is why there are no “cookie cutter” or one-size-fits-all solutions that work for every problem in all organizations. Similarly, experts in organizational and management development have realized that there is no one perfect way to lead, manage or change organizations.
8. Myth of Best Practices
Best practices are activities associated with organizations that are recognized as high-performing. Performance is the achievement of results and best practices are activities that indicate a high likelihood of achieving those results. The practices often become standards by which we measure if an organization is effective or not. Many of the standard management practices that we mention as capacity building activities are forms of best practices. For example, to discern if an organization is high-performing, we investigate whether and how the organization is conducting Board development, strategic planning, financial management or marketing. However, research suggests that the presence of best practices alone is insufficient to guarantee organizational effectiveness. Of more importance is how those practices are applied. The application should be in accordance with the unique nature and needs of the organization and should maintain continued focus on successfully serving specific needs in the community.
9. Myth of the “Isolated Solution”
Many consulting projects focus on one aspect of an organization, for example, financial management, team building or marketing. It is not uncommon that shortly after a project is completed, the client realizes that another major and related problem has arisen in the organization. Your client might contact you to report that your first “solution” did not take care of all related problems in the organization. In this case, your client is displeased.
A familiar example of this problem occurs when an organization hires a financial analyst to somehow generate more revenue for the organization. However, if the organization does not have a strong Strategic Plan, the analysis might not be successful. The organization might end up hiring a strategic planning facilitator. However, if the Board of Directors and top leadership is not ready for strategic planning, the Strategic Plan might not be strategic or get implemented at all.
10. Myth of the “Final” Project Plan
Usually, after your first meeting with your client, you develop a written proposal that includes a project plan that specifies the goals of the project and the activities that must be conducted to achieve those goals. Often, you are hired based on your client’s perception of the quality of your project plan. However, in the vast majority of successful projects, the initial project plan is changed as you and your client work together to address the issues in your client’s organization. An experienced consultant learns to present the project plan as preliminary in nature and open to change. The consultant helps the client to realize that plans often change and that change is natural.
Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD – Authenticity Consulting, LLC – 800-971-2250
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