Flawless Consulting: 3rd Edition

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by Peter Block

For over three decades Peter Block’s “Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used” has provided a proven methodology for helping business leaders and employees have influence where they have no direct control, forge trusted business partnerships, drive business results and improve the organizational landscape. This third edition addresses new business challenges since the second edition was written and also explores what’s on the minds of “next generation” consultants. Based on his Flawless Consulting workshops, the book is for anyone seeking to effect positive organizational change and gain better use of their expertise.

The book includes more guidance on how to ask better questions, how to help clients understand the importance of what is invisible but near at hand from the recently emerging field of Positive Deviance as well as extensive examples from education, the agonies of contracting and finally the impact of technology and the virtual world on consulting relationships.

For Peter Block, “a consultant is a person in a position to have some influence over an individual, a group, or an organization, but who has no direct power to make changes or implement programs.” In this book, he points out the elements that often get in the way of productive consulting, and then shows you how to handle them and move on to clear, mutually beneficial consulting. The book is filled with sound advice, techniques, and checklists for making each consultation as effective and efficient as possible, i.e., “flawless.”

No matter how well you think you know your clients or your expertise, Block cautions you to focus on the consulting essentials. He emphasizes that the client’s “presenting problem” is often not the real problem. He encourages consultants to get a clear picture of both the technical or business problem and how the problem is being managed — the politics of the situation, people’s attitudes, the manager’s style, etc. To gain insight into the interpersonal or process dimensions, Block says that consultants should “recognize the similarity between how clients manage you and how they manage their own organization.”

The checklists below are referenced within the book “Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used”. These checklists are designed for you, the consultant, to use for improving your relationship with the Client.

The Designed Learning Consulting Style Assessment Tool is available exclusively through our workshops.

Assessing the Balance of Responsibility: Rate who is taking responsibility in a project you are engaged in.

Analyzing One of Your Contracts: Practice writing up elements of your contract.

Planning a Contracting Meeting: Answer these questions when you are planning a contracting meeting.

Reviewing the Contracting Meeting: Questions to answer after the meeting.

Planning a Discovery Meeting: Planning guidelines to aid in data collection and prepare for resistance.

Reviewing the Discovery Meeting: Questions to answer after the meeting.

Planning a Meeting for Action: Guidelines to help you prepare for the meeting.

Reviewing the Meeting for Action: Questions to answer after the meeting.

Preparing for Implementation: Reminders on working the elements of engagement into the implementation phase.

Reviewing an Implementation Event: Questions to answer after the Implementation phase.

Chapter 1 — A Consultant by Any Other Name

Chapter 5 — The Contracting Meeting