As a newcomer in the field of organizational consulting, I have the advantage of being either the naively arrogant child who declares the emperor has no clothes! or the person who comes from a foreign land and is forced to quickly confront the differences in the visible and communicated culture.
When I decided to change careers in my early 40s, I sought a profession that could help me develop an understanding of people’s behavior. After exploring psychology, I turned to the field of organizational development.
An industry that heals human foibles and eccentricities has so much opportunity and potential that it could not fail, I thought. Its existence is assured. Besides, everyone benefits from the opportunity to talk to someone who listens in a deeply reflective, active way and can provide feedback in an understanding manner. So, as a budding organizational consultant, inquiry and engagement are my calling.
Based on my doctoral studies in organizational systems at Saybrook, I believe the future challenges of organizational work involve proper placement, message, and focus on the individual. Being in the right place at the right time will be important in the coming years. How our particular talents—as organizational consultants—are used will depend upon the unique situations we are presented with.
I believe that organizational consultants will also need to develop the ability to merge seamlessly into the community being assisted in order to facilitate change among rival groups and elevate goals beyond the limited provincial impact. As practitioners of organizational work, it is essential that we are open-minded to the beliefs and systems of a new culture—organizational or national—that has asked for assistance.
Assuming that as practitioners we are capable, talented, and well placed does not address unconditional acceptance from our potential clients.
In the short time that I’ve been working in the organizational field, I’ve had to address my clients demand for quick solutions to answer their perceived problems as quickly as possible using the least amount of resources, time, and capital. In addition, the level of patience among people and organizations that require, by their own admission, our help is going to be a problem in a world where strategies are ambiguous and technology moves far faster than the human condition. In this world, effective change needs to be immediate and successful.
Because of this, I think that the primary challenges organizational consultants face fall into the areas of human personality traits. This includes human needs or fears regarding motivation, environment creation, shared meaning making on the subject of solutions, and transformational versus transitional learning.
Educating our current and potential clients in the inherent human qualities to achieve success is the greatest part of our job as we move forward in a world where humanity has lost its true value.
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