Acting as a consultant means to give advice under certain special conditions. Since a Values Collision involves unacceptable behavior in the bottom part of the Window* where advice is normally a Roadblock, these “consultant” conditions must be adhered to carefully.
These conditions are the same rules that are followed by successful professional consultants in any field.
Here are the characteristics of the successful consultant:
- A consultant must get hired by the client. Leaders must get “hired” by the Other before they can consult. The consultant must “sell” his/her expertise to the other person, who must agree to listen.
- S/he must be an expert in the field to be believable. Leaders must know their facts and present them persuasively for the Other to seriously consider accepting that his/her current value is bad for him/her.
- S/he leaves responsibility for change with the client. That is, whether or not the client “buys” the consultant’s ideas.
- This means that leaders must make their case only once—not going back again and again to keep repeating the advice if the Other doesn’t change. Professional consultants don’t go back to their clients and hassle and nag them if the clients don’t adopt their recommendations. Otherwise, they get fired as consultants—as will leaders who nag.
- However, even if the Other doesn’t appear to buy your ideas, there are two helpful things to remember: S/he may think about your consulting awhile, and then change—you never know; and
- You’ve done your job. The Other won’t go down the wrong path unwarned; yet you haven’t hurt the relationship by nagging.
*[Dr. Thomas Gordon Training International created a concept called The Behavior Window which is an integral part of his leadership training, as well as all the other workshops he and his staff created].