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Facilitative Consulting – Part Two: The Consultant’s Four Assumptions

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The following excerpt is taken from “Facilitative Consulting”

Facilitative Consulting Elements, Assumptions, Goals and Roles

In the first article on Facilitative Consulting we detailed its’ four ever present elements.

In this post we will address the Four Consulting Assumptions.

 Four Consulting Assumptions

Any view of what makes for effective consultation relies heavily on the assumptions the consultant has about what makes an effec­tive organization.

These assumptions will be implicitly or explicitly a part of any recommendation.

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Assumption One: Problem Solving Requires Valid Data

Using valid data eliminates a major cause of confusion, uncertainty, and resulting inefficiency in problem solving.

Valid data encom­passes two things:

(1) Objective data, data about ideas, events, or sit­uations that everyone accepts as facts,

(2) Personal data. Personal data are also “facts,” but they concern how individuals feel about what is happening to them and around them.

If people feel they will not get a fair shake, it is a “fact” that they feel that way, and it is also a “fact” that this belief will have an effect on their behavior.

To ignore this kind of “fact” is to throwaway data that may be crucial to any problem-solving effort.

 Assumption Two: Effective Decision Making Requires Free and Open Choice

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Making decisions is easy.

Making decisions that people will sup­port is not so easy.

Organizations seem to work better when peo­ple get an opportunity to influence decisions that have a direct impact on their work.

When people feel that something is impor­tant and they have some control, they will be motivated to exert the effort to make things work.

When they believe that something is important but they can exert no control, the common tendencies are to become cautious or defensive, to play it safe, to withhold information, to protect themselves from blame.

 Assumption Three: Effective Implementation Requires Internal Commitment

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People readily commit themselves to things they believe will fur­ther their interests.

If no link is seen between what a person is asked to do and what a person wants to do, the probability of getting an all-out effort is not likely.

You can order people to do things and ordinarily they will comply-at least while you are watching.

But if you want them to apply themselves, internal commitment is required.

Assumption Four: The Consultant’s Goals

The preceding three assumptions about what contributes to effective consultant and manager performance lead naturally to a set of preferred goals for each consulting job.

Achieving each of these goals may not always be possible, but the consultant does need to be about his/her preference.

In post number three on this series, we will explore the consultant’s three goals.

For more on this topic, we recommend the following

Book

Facilitative Consulting

How to Facilitate Foresightful and Innovative
Results With your Key Stakeholders

Click Here For Video and Full Description

 

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