Consulting for Tomorrow: HSD and Patterns of Success

First, consultants were supposed to give answers.

Then, they were supposed to give frameworks and methodologies to deliver answers.

Now, neither seems to work so well. Either the truth is more complex, or we can no longer afford to deny the truth. Clients, in every sector and around the world, need more than cookie cutters to thrive in the uncertain future.

“My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions” – Peter Drucker

If you are a consultant, you know this is what your clients need. If you are a leader, you know this is the kind of consulting you need. You also know it is rare. You know you need it because:

  • Turnover rate is through the roof
  • Employees are irritated because things move too slowly or panicked because they move too fast
  • The ground beneath the competitive market seems to be constantly shifting
  • Supply chains are limping, and your costs are skyrocketing
  • Technologies, processes, and practices are obsolete (or soon will be)
  • Strategic planning feels like a waste of time and energy
  • Past may have been glorious, but your future is hazy
  • Surprises demanding swift responses pop out of nowhere
  • You find yourself in the tyranny or urgency: there’s never enough time to get all the necessary work done, so focus is almost always on the urgent
  • Teamwork suffers

Clients don’t need a consultant who makes them “sit in the fire.” Instead, they need one who asks great questions and walks through the fire with them as they find answers. In the future, successful consultants will:

  • Arrive with insightful questions
  • Dislodge dominant culture of historical power and privilege to help clients leverage the energy in difference
  • Abandon pre-packaged programs
  • Respond to every client’s unique needs and opportunities
  • Inspire a future that emerges, as if today and yesterday were raw materials
  • Help client systems move beyond coordination and collaboration to co-creation
  • Assume systems thinking, and set the stage for systems acting

This is consulting for the 21st century. This is consulting based on Pattern Logic, Inquiry, and Adaptive Action.

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