About Consultants LO12838 -was: Mopping UP

John Constantine (Rainbird@trail.com)
Sun, 09 Mar 1997 09:46:34 -0800

Replying to LO12817 --

Scott Simmerman lifts us "out of the muck" in the discussion about what
consultants do and how they attempt to do it.

" Lots of us consultants come across a whole lot of companies and get a
whole lot of perspective that might be of some use to folks. And most of
us herein the Rick's LO Forum ARE willing to pitch in with our time and
ideas in a helpful and hopefully fruitful way to benefit her and her

I think (without any statistics in the office to support this) that in the
personnel file of any consultant resides one who has been downsized either
by choice (personal) or chance (good/bad luck). It is to the credit of all
the list members that I have seen (read) since I signed on to this list
that the emphasis is upon the human nature of this thing we are calling

Scott adds:

"...I see a lot of the same reactions in lots of organizations and
agencies. While there may be a series of small changes occurring, it
should be good news that most organizations have NOT undergone massive
change" in any real sense. The good news is that most of the changes in
most organizations have been of the more acceptable gradual kind."

As long as there are human beings there will be the need for those who are
in a position to reflect upon the difficulties they face, and offer
assistance to those that are engaged in this thing called work. On the
negative side, people feel great tension and stress when presented with
situations they have not yet dealt with effectively, and express perfectly
natural, normal human reactions to what others may call "massive change".
Whether the change is real or imagined, human beings will deal with it in
many ways; fight or flight, depression, seclusion, and rage are some of
the negatives. And yet, human beings STILL manage to overcome and,
ultimately, adjust.

If the options offered to them are enlightening, empowering, enabling,
enriching, engrossing, engaging...there will be the POTENTIAL for the
harmony and joy in the learning organization, as it has been defined thus
far. It is that which is important, and offers those who are, or would
become, consultants an almost religious career...to help make the "client
organization" a better place in which to work, in which to live. Buckets
and mops? Those that worked with the bucket and mop in the evening allowed
for the students to learn in a cleaner, brighter room the next morning.

To me the great dilemma is this: how best to deal with human beings who
are within an non-human organization, setup to eliminate the possibility
of responsibility of individuals. The daily work of those in the
organization is for the sole purpose of enhancing the nonhuman
organization's value. In such an environment, policies and procedures
become more important than people. Thus the need for those on the outside
to observe the difficulties and "mop the floors" since no one else has yet
done so.

As Einstein said: "Our thinking creates problems which the same level of
thinking can't solve."

In my simple experience, in every single organization there is something
which is "wrong". It takes a human being to fix it, not a machine.
Consultants are human beings who for better or worse are willing to
think..., and then act. My guess is that Hong Kong is alive with those who
are thinking much more than they are sleeping at this very moment, trying
to prepare the people for what may come.

There are no "non-human" systems at play here...it is only that some
choose to think there are.


Regards, John Constantine rainbird@trail.com Rainbird Management Consulting PO Box 23554 Santa Fe, NM 87502 http://www.trail.com/~rainbird "Dealing in Essentials"

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>