A participant in the most recent Million Dollar Consulting™ College asked me what I have seen most often in my OD consulting work. This was in response to my statement that I had reduced that work because I was getting bored seeing mostly the same things over and over, and I ran the risk of resolving the issues in 12 seconds, thereby totally annoying the client.
I told him there were probably 11 things, he dared me to list them, so here they are. Ask yourself how many times you’ve seen these or variations. In no particular order:
1. Someone really should be fired, but the client refuses to do so “on my watch” and insists on ridiculous coaching and training which won’t help at all.
2. A survey turned up “communications issues” or a “morale problem” or some other sort of generic ambiguity.
3. The client is turned on to some fad or academic’s book, and wants to move the organization “from good to great” or become “shareholder value-driven” or “world class.”
4. Strategy isn’t being supported because no one has bothered to communicate it, and/or gain the commitment of managers, and/or provide the skills to implement it.
5. Succession planning and career development are not at all related, as if they are different languages operating in different climates.
6. There is no common process or rational basis for decision making, or innovation, or problem solving, etc.
7. Planning and strategy are all bollixed up, one killing the other.
8. Strategy and tactics are constantly confused, causing people to trip over each other without leaving their seats.
9. Things aren’t getting done because accountabilities haven’t been established and/or there are inappropriate rewards and punishments in place.
10. The organization is trying to build teams when it actually has committees, an entirely different species.
11. The leader is not serving as the exemplar.
You don’t need complex models or convoluted processes to resolve these issues. You need a large stick and a megaphone, metaphorically speaking.
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