Early in my career I learnt that there were three core positions that were necessary to be able to adopt if you wanted to be successful (or at least even just survive) as a consultant.
The first was curiosity and the ability to be genuinely interested in people, their contexts and situations; and the stories that they told about their issues and dilemmas. Not just because it helped to make sure that inquiry rather than judgement drove the consultation process but also because it simply made the work much more interesting.
The second was the ability to maintain a sense of neutrality to outcome . That is not to say that you don’t care about how things turn out or indeed that your are direction-less, but it does means that you remain open to a range of possible directions and outcomes rather than just heading off down a narrow path in one direction to an apparently inevitable solution.
The third and final position is perhaps the most important and it is that of irreverence to your own ideas and position. Put very simply this is about not becoming “married” to your own ideas and perspective which is driven by the ability to have a good laugh at yourself, your rhetoric and your jargon.
It is with this third position firmly in mind that I am sharing the following video clip which I have “stolen” from the darkly funny BBC 4 series “Getting On” written by Jo Brand (who incidentally I used to work with many moons ago), Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine and directed by Peter Capaldi (of “The Thick of It” fame)
Quality Improvers, Facilitators, Campaigners take note – we can look ridiculous to others if we are not careful!