CHAPTER 19Implementation

WHEN I WROTE the first edition of this book, I devoted exactly two pages to implementation. Over the years, though, I have become increasingly aware of how many consulting efforts, including change management processes, have been aimed at doing the right thing but have resulted in little change. It is frustrating, to say the least, to contract well, develop an accurate picture of the current reality, give feedback, and make a good decision, and yet see few concrete results from the effort.

Implementation is, in theory, the point of the consultation, the fruit of our labor. Unfortunately, knowing what to do (the product of the discovery phase) and finding the right way to do it (the focus of implementation) are two different worlds. Consultants have traditionally given too much attention to analysis and recommendations and too little attention to the complexity of translating those answers into action.

Our mistake is treating implementation as a fundamentally rational process. We believe that logical, step‐by‐step problem‐solving can bring the fulfillment of our plans. Our love of lists, milestones, and electronic calendar living is an example of this. If we can keep a list of what we need to do in one place, these things will get done. Although it is hard to argue against being organized, we tend to oversimplify what it takes to act on what we know to be true. At a personal level, it is the gap between having a vision and living it out. The more serious ...

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