6 thoughts on “An expert is …

  1. Hi Karl,

    And when it comes to consultants… the BEST ones are known more so for the QUESTIONS they ask than for the ANSWERS that they provide.

    1. Hi Jay,

      Great comment. There is an age-old conflict at play here.

      In order for the client to maintain complete ownership, the consultant will want to avoid bringing any content.

      In order for the consultant to maintain credibility, they will want to bring content to the client.

      A successful client/consultant relationship requires client ownership and credibility of the consultant.

      Bring content or not bring content?

      As you rightly point out, the real art to maintaining credibility as a consultant is to ask more questions. Guiding client’s through Goldratt’s thinking processes is an excellent way to ask great questions, maintain client ownership and deliver credible results. Bringing lots of answers – less so.

      1. Hi Karl,
        Agreed… The key to the most successful consulting lies in using the questions to guide the client’s THINKING AND BEHAVING patterns toward a more viable/sustainable alternative to what currently exists. And there are multiple ways for doing so. HOWEVER, much depends on how big the gap happens to between a client’s current set of paradigms and those that are required in the context of facilitating/enabling the transformation of an organization form the state-of-being it’s currently in to the state-of-being it needs/wants to be in. Some transformation journeys are longer than other and some are never-ending.

        Accordingly, the first set of questions that often need to be asked are:

        1) In what direction does the organization intend to be headed (toward what destination/target) and why?

        2) What indicators/milestones will it use to guide/determine its progress?

        2) When does it need to get there… ideally speaking?

        3) How (by what means/mechanisms) does it intend to get there?

        4) What impediments might be expected/anticipated along the way?

      2. These are all good questions, Jay.

        When would you ask what thinking and behaviour patterns are causing a problem?

      3. Hi Karl,

        Relative to when might be the right time to ask a client what sort of THINKING AND BEHAVING patterns he/she/they believe are underlying the problems that the organization is now facing,..

        I believe that it’s essential to begin by getting the client to describe the nature of problems/difficulties/issues that their organization is being confronted with. And depending on how many of what type and magnitude they happen to be, the next step would involve exploring what the client believes could/might be the root cause(s) associated with each. And as is customary in such an exploratory conversation, using the 5-WHY approach is likely to reveal some interesting results.

        With these insights on the table, it’s often possible to translate those real or suspected causes into patterns that are reflected in patterns of thinking and behaving that are readily recognizable throughout the organization. So, it’s during such a conversation that asking about observed patterns would be appropriate.

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