Making Change Stick
A good friend of mine is an excellent consultant with a very assertive personal style. He can be very bold with clients. For example, he can say to a group of senior executives, “The problem here is that everyone in this room is full of [garbage],” and the client will say, “You’re right. We haven’t been very explicit about our assumptions; thanks for helping us see the problem.”
One of our young associates trained with my friend for several months on a large project. The associate was able to learn by watching the expert in action. Later, the associate tried to use the same approach with a group he was facilitating. But it was an absolute disaster. The people in the group were insulted and disappointed by what he did. What the young man said was essentially the same thing he had observed the senior consultant say, but he could not pull it off in the same way as my friend could. In my opinion, this young associate will never learn this particular skill through practice, no matter how many times he tries.
Similar Ends, Different Means
Luckily, the young associate was astute enough to recognize that he could succeed without having to use the same approach as my friend. After some time, the associate (who was very good with facts and details) developed his own approach to influencing groups. His approach involved presenting the facts in a very organized and logical fashion. He found that he worked best by presenting the facts, and then discussing the ...