Giving advice

This is from Phil Runkel on 3 September 98 in reply to posting from Kenny
Kitzke on same date.

        What can you do instead of giving advice to clients?

        When I did organizational consulting, I said explicitly to
clients that I would not tell them the answer to their
difficulties. I would not tell them actions to take that would
take away their difficulties. I would not give advice; I would
never say, "Do this." Some prospective clients, it is true, were
astonished that I was offering to help but was saying that I
could not solve their problems for them. And it is true that I
did not have to capture clients to make a living. My salary came
from other sources. But I think the number of clients,
especially corporate clients, is increasing who understand that
consultants can only help them to help themselves.

        What I could do for clients was to make opportunities for
them (1) to discover what co-workers wanted and how ready they
were to join in cooperative problem-solving, (2) to organize to
start reducing difficulties, and (3) to build their own
home-grown, continuing consulting group. Consultants can break
out time and occasions more easily than the clients, because they
work outside the clients' everyday rules.

        Notice here that I am not giving advice to you. I am not saying
that you should do what I did. It may be that you will see in what I say
an opening or opportunity you had not seen earlier. Or that may not
happen; it may be that my way of thinking cannot fit you or your clients.
I cannot predict what sallies, proposals, concepts, and so on can enable
you to take the new direction. But other things than merely imitating can
happen. It may be that what I say enables you to see new meaning in what
someone else said. And so on. So if there is anything useful to you
here, good. If not, I can only wish you better luck next time.

        But aside from all that, I like to think that the best help to a
consultant often comes from clients.

        I wish you well.

        --Phil Runkel

Phil Runkel said:

<So if there is anything useful to you here, good. If not, I can only wish
you better luck next time.>

Your ideas are so good Phil, I'd like to give you a big {{{{HUG}}}. Thanks
for this no-advice advice! It is a different way to think. I'm going to
play with it on a case or two and see whether our interaction turns more
cooperative and mutually beneficial than previously.

I respect my elders, but when they share their time-proven wisdom, I am
delighted. Muchos gracious. As I recall from the conference, we might
still need some advice on juggling. :sunglasses:

Peace (no conflict at all),