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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Three Fears: Post #4

Fear #2: Fear of Being Embarrassed. No consultant hired for his/her expertise wants to give a client the wrong advice. But the fear of making an error can turn consultants in to cowards, too afraid to tell the truth or ask the question everyone is thinking of. Lencioni offers a few suggestions. First: Ask Dumb Questions. A former McKinsey consultant and friend of mine says that it’s always best to act like the dumbest guy in the room—very smart advice. Lencioni’s advice comports perfectly. Second: Make Dumb Suggestions. One of the values consultants bring to the table is an open mind. Don’t shut it down by holding back. Sometimes the “dumb” idea becomes the new breakthrough (for evidence consider the story about how 3M invented those Yellow Sticky Notes). Third: Celebrate Your Own Mistakes. Don’t fear being humble…admitting when you’re wrong, dead wrong. Clients like seeing people human, just like them. Fourth: Take a Bullet for the Client. Be humble enough to take an embarrassing barb for the client, especially in public, but then don’t be afraid to confront the client in private later with the truth.

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