Your Watch

October 21, 2008

con┬Ěsul┬Ětant n. someone who steals your watch to tell you what time it is.

After reading my last blog, my friend Nynke commented that this joke may not really be a joke after all, but rather a compliment.

I agree! Some of my best client engagements involve helping my client be confident enough to follow the path they knew was right, but were afraid to follow. Jerry Weinberg calls this “jiggling”.

A good consultant doesn’t force their own opinion on you as a client. Instead, they help you form your own opinion. Often, they just get you unstuck by giving you a little jiggle — a small change, a different perspective on the problem, sometimes even just permission to act on your instinct. The best advice is when a consultant leads you — using good questions — to your own answer. A good consultant does this well. Often, you feel like you came up with the answer on your own. You did, but with help.

Five Minute Rule: Clients always know how to solve their problems, and always tell the solution in the first five minutes.

— Gerald Weinberg, The Secrets of Consulting