Two Tales of Consulting



This is a story about two similar consulting engagements handled in dramatically different ways. In both, the consultant was professional and capable, dealing with executive teams within major companies. In both cases, circumstances had raised questions about the leadership of the teams.


The first engagement involved eleven persons plus the leader. Each of them held a significant position in the organization. The consultant interviewed each of these executives to understand their individual perspectives of the situation, followed by a series of interviews with the leader. Reviewing the notes from these interviews, the consultant used their experience and ability to assemble a picture of how the team fit together, sorting through each individual’s opinions and observations. Once that was done, it became possible to see some of the disconnects and key areas of disagreement within the team. This helped to focus the second series of interviews, which probed targeted points to fill in the picture the consultant was building. After dozens of hours of interviews and reviewing information, the consultant was able to propose an intervention and program to resolve the leadership problem.


The second engagement occurred a few years later. In this case, the CEO had an executive team of ten. He had been brought in the lead a series of major changes in the organization, all of which were welcome and positive for everyone. Despite an enthusiastic reception and agreement with the changes, the team had made no progress after several months. Both the CEO and the team were frustrated with each doubting the competency of the other. The consultant was called in but rather than beginning a series of interviews, the team and the CEO were asked to participate in a 25-minute online experience to inventory the strengths of the group. Once this DATA was in hand, the consultant had a map of the topology of the group. This showed the hard-wired behaviors that defined the interaction and communication within the group. This chart was then projected on the screen for everyone to see with the CEO’s results identified. The consultant asked if anyone noticed anything, and the response was immediate from several of the executives, calling out the gap between the CEO and the team on planning and details. Ten members of the team needed detailed planning and expected a plan to execute the changes. The CEO did not need a plan, expecting the plan to come from the team once he laid out the direction and objectives. The disconnect was essentially self-resolved once the gap was seen. The consultant was then free to work on the change process itself.


Technology has streamlined and simplified so many things. The second engagement benefited from easily obtained DATA insights that replaced the many hours of interviews needed in the first engagement. It is important to recognize how the second engagement used the consultant’s time and expertise far more efficiently. In the first engagement, dozens of hours were spent collecting subjective information through multiple interviews. The consultant then had to review and evaluate that information, sorting out the personal biases and emotions that each person added to their interview. It was only after that could the consultant assemble any type of picture of what was happening within the executive team. In contrast, the BestWork Experience collected the critical behavioral DATA quickly and easily, and then the DATA was presented to the consultant in a series of analytics containing the information needed to create a resolution. In both cases, the consultant’s experience and professional knowledge were essential to the solution. It was simply more efficient with BestWork’s application and the DATA was much more clear and more conclusive.

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