Jevon Macdonald‘s been thinking about the future in particular of consulting, as Euan‘s picked up. (I worked with Jevon this year – it was great fun.) I like the idea of thinking about how to do a kind of consulting 2.0, and please take that title lightly.
I wrote this in Jevon’s comments and thought it bore repetition.
So, reflecting on my year, I think the theme that’s coming out strongest for me is to challenge the notion of separation, in which we think of the other person as the problem, to be either dismissed as stupid or difficult, or solved/cured etc. I know Rob didn’t warm to the Senge book on Presence, but I did enjoy its notion of experiencing ourselves and the other as parts of the same system, and act from that sense of connectedness. Seems to me that’s a similar notion to the one you’re evoking here.
It’s easier said than done, as it means foregoing the slightly masturbatory pleasure of a good rant against those who, by my own lights, dont “get it”. But fun to try, even as experiment.
Going forward, I think I’d like to generalise less about big organisations (including big consulting firms) not getting it. It seems to me that in doing so, I instantly turn thousands of individuals into 1) a lumpen mass and 2) a *stupid* lumpen mass. So it’s easy to cheer you on the “people, not the brand” theme, and recognising the person who’s hiring. Organisations can be changed by anyone within them, I find there’s less magic than I hoped in the CEO’s office.
(Actually, organisations are constantly changing as the individuals change. Maybe we need to think of organisations as verbs, not nouns.)
I suppose I should elaborate on the verb/noun thing. We often talk about a big company, say Shell or Coke as if it’s a thing, like a table. Actually, it’s a really way more fluid than a table, it’s really a dance of all sorts of constantly changing people in action. If we called it an organising, would that help? (I realise that at an atomic level the table is all moving parts too, but let’s not go there just now.)
This might change our perspective on how we relate to this organisation, and our sense of its capacity for change. It might make us more optimistic about how we might be able to engage with it, and suitably less pie-eyed about the ease of implementing a vast change programme.