ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Issue Highlight — A Sign Of Hope
- Peter Block addresses the importance for corporations to work in the public interest as well as the interest of shareholders, building strong communities and promoting social equity.


Online Edition - November/December 2000

 In This Issue...
Tackling Leadership
Generation X And The Baby Boomers At Work
Heeding The Call
A Sticky Situation: Creating Innovative Climates

Motivation Made Easy

Peter Block Column
Views for a Change
Heard on the Street

Return to NFC Index

Views For A Change

Consultant Q&A

Vincent Ventresca Responds:

Your question represents a frustration that we all struggle with as consultants. However, there are several contributing factors that can be controlled that will help satiate our desire to impact lasting change.

  First and foremost, be sure you are affecting the root cause. In many instances, consultants apply efforts to a symptom. This misfire can at times be driven by a lack of due diligence, but usually it is a combination of unintentional mis-description by the client and mis-diagnosis by the consultant. Without a plan to impact the causal element, optimum results cannot be achieved. Therefore, lasting adherence to the recommendations is unlikely.

Avoiding Common Misfires

  In order to avoid this common misfire, I always focus additional time on assessment with the client. The additional effort in this area serves two purposes. One, the client becomes more involved with the change and therefore owns part of the results. Two, the efficiency of execution is less distracting to the content of your solution. This results in a tighter focal range and supports the attributes of number one. I handle all client engagements with the same robust first step and planning process.

  Be certain to establish plans that are realistically going to work. Building on the data extracted in my first recommendation, create a road map that has an imbedded strategy to build the infrastructure your plan will need in order to survive. Please do not misconstrue this as a recommendation to be manipulative. You are, in fact, working in the best interest of your client. During the planning process, help them establish a vision that will clearly illustrate roadblocks. The obvious next step is to deepen your change plan to contain contingencies against the probability of negative reaction. Once again, this is a proactive method to help your recommendations survive when you leave.

Impacting Lasting Results

  Finally, in a pure training environment, the aforementioned strategies can be deployed but require a slight modification. In order to allow for the outcomes as described above, you must perform both needs and competency assessments. These two tools will help you identify the norms from an environmental and personal level. Once again, this up-front data will enable you to offer a plan that will contain solutions to unseen roadblocks.

  Obviously every consulting engagement offers unique challenges. I believe, and have proven through experience, that lasting results can be significantly impacted by formalizing and consistently executing the strategy described in this response.
In essence, our role as consultants is to provide workable solutions built in a creative environment. Translated, we take an objective view enabling us to see beyond the trees and in turn offer long-term recommendations that will be embraced. I recommend that you hold that concept closely throughout your career, for it alone is the best gauge to measure your success.

  You may want to read Peter Block's book, "Flawless Consulting." Many of these concepts are built out and presented in a very understandable fashion.

VINCENT VENTRESCA, PMP is a project consultant at Advanced Management Services, Inc. His firm consults and trains in continuous improvement, project management and management development. He focuses on integrating quality principles into project and organizational development practices and the synergy of people, process and technology. He can be reached at

H. James Harrington Responds

Question for Consultants

November-December 2000 Homepage

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