Implementing the right strategy, meeting objectives and leading balanced lives in today’s super-fast, super-connected world is not easy. Advice abounds, but usually most helpful are the messages and messengers that meet us in our world, where we are right now. Change consulting is an intervention which is tailored to the specific needs of the individual, group or organisation.
The list below (via an easy to remember mnemonic, FACE) may help to navigate change and personal or team development:
Staying focused on a small number of priorities that resonate and matter most - and not trying to do too much too quickly - is crucial for avoiding fatigue or burnout. Stakeholder expectations need to be set and managed realistically (given the available capacity) and up front, even if these may be challenging conversations. Leaving people some room to 'under-promise' so that they have a chance to 'over-deliver' is important.
Change work is not about trying to get individuals and/or teams to do something someone else wants them to do. Change work is about supporting individuals to act, not just react, on finding mutually supportive and aligned paths and agendas with compatible others. If we don’t feel right about a situation, and we find we’re limited in our influence to make it better - then this usually signifies there’s some other way/situation/people more suitable for us to interact with. With this realisation we can make more informed choices and draw on our resources and the support of others to steer towards a better future.
We may need something over and above what got us here, and what is keeping us here, to get us there. In other words, to generate options. What we feel on the inside affects what we show on the outside, so it’s in our interests to be as conscious as possible about how our thoughts, feelings and actions are feeding each other and showing up to others - including deciding whether we’re comfortable about our direction of travel or whether we wish to choose to create new neural pathways, patterns and habits, with the right support and inspiration. Being as authentic as we can is important.
When individuals are well-aligned in their shared purpose, values, beliefs and strengths, energy is generated. When individuals are not well-aligned in these aspects, perhaps feeling pressure to fit into someone else’s paradigm or unsure of what they really need or how to get it, energy is lost. Unpacking what’s going on, and where and how things could go instead, is a powerful process. People need time, support from trusted others and activities that replenish and inspire them, to make sense of what is going on and to move themselves forward, step by step.
Even the most outwardly successful people or teams may get stuck at some stage – perhaps without even consciously realising they are until major problems set in.
The point of a change consultant is to help individuals, teams and organisations get closer to where they’d authentically prefer to be, or to where they're needed to be - better or faster than they can do so under their own steam. For example, major shifts can be possible by reconsidering the beliefs that they hold about their relationship(s) to a situation or person(s) or group(s), and by deciding to internalise a fresher view(s) which can generate new options. Talking things through with a trusted professional(s) who believes in the individual/team or organisation, and makes the people involved feel genuinely supported and sometimes challenged, can help to trigger such shifts.
Helping people build strengths is proven to be much more effective than helping them correct our weaknesses. Change consulting is 100% confidential and may be informal or formal, and either a one off or occasional discussion or a series of interventions.
Change consulting complements other forms of consulting by helping people and organisations to keep energised and aligned (as far as possible and practicable) during periods of transition.
Change consulting complements mediation by helping participants to identify options and then to implement follow-up actions to the required standards that they agreed to in the mediation*.
*To assure neutrality, the mediator and change consultant should not be the same person.