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Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used 2nd Edition

65 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787948030
ISBN-10: 0787948039
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Editorial Reviews Review

The second edition of Peter Block's Flawless Consulting gracefully updates what many consider the best resource of its kind. New chapters on implementation, "whole-system" strategies, and ethics are included, but in general it simply fine-tunes Block's proven advice to match the transformations that business and society have undergone since initial publication two decades ago. "The days of long studies and expert-driven answers are passing," the author proclaims in his new preface. "The task of the consultant is increasingly to build the capacity of clients to make their own assessments and answer their own questions." He then subtly modifies his established recommendations accordingly for every step, from the initial client meeting and problem diagnosis through data collection and the execution of solutions. In the section on "Conducting a Group Feedback Meeting," for example, he advises: "Treat the group as a collection of individuals.... Ask each person what he or she wants from the meeting. This will surface differences and force the group to take responsibility for some of the difficulties that may arise." --Howard Rothman


"Who would have thought the 'consultant's bible' could be improved upon? Count on Peter Block -the consulting profession's very own revolutionary-to push us to confront and struggle with the paradoxes inherent in our work." (Candace Thompson, organization development consultant, First Chicago NBD - A Bank One Company)

"The first question to ask any consultants: Have you read Peter Block's Flawless Consulting? If they say no, don't hire them. Peter Block's advice is flawless!" (Barry Z. Posner, dean and professor of leadership, Leavey School of Business, co-author of The Leadership Challenge and Encouraging the Heart)

"Block has distilled years of experience into a wise, down-to-earth, and eminently practical guide to excellence in consulting. If you are new to the practice, Flawless Consulting will chop years off your learning cycle. And even if you're an old pro, Block's insights will elevate you to new levels of effectiveness. Flawless Consulting is not simply about becoming a better consultant; it is about using consulting as a path toward becoming a better person." (Barry Oshry, president, Power & Systems, Inc., author of Seeing Systems and Leading Systems)

"For external and internal consultants alike, Peter Block provides the roadmap to travel what always seems like unchartered terrain. The power behind Peter's work lies not only in the compass he provides but in helping us see how truly a forceful and powerfulinfluence one person can be." (Jack Lerner, vice-president of organization development & learning, The CIT Group)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 371 pages
  • Publisher: Pfeiffer; 2nd edition (September 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787948039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787948030
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Peter Block is a citizen of Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a partner in Designed Learning, a training company that offers workshops designed by Block to build the skills outlined in his books. He is the author of Flawless Consulting, Stewardship, The Empowered Manager, and The Answer to How Is Yes. He is the recipient of the American Society for Training and Development Award for Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance and the Association for Quality and Participation President's Award. He is also a member of Training magazine's HRD Hall of Fame.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I liked this book very much, because it focuses on the style of consulting I like to do -- increasing the capacity of the client to find and implement her/his own solutions. What especially impressed me was the great care placed on how to establish the relationship with the client, as well as defining the assignment. Consultants love to define assignments, but often don't give much thought to the relationship. The emphasis should be just the opposite.
The book is nicely balanced between the needs of those who supply internal consulting (whether formally, or as staff resources) and external consultants and experts. I have played both roles, and each one teaches you something you need to know in order to be a better consultant. This is the only book on consulting that I have read that captures both perspectives and roles well.
A great strength of the book is that there are extensive examples of the same issue so that you can get a good perspective, even if you don't yet have much experience as a consultant. So it is a terrific book for those who are new to consulting.
For those of us who have a few decades of consulting experience, there is still a lot to learn. I was especially helped by the extensive list of ways to diagnose what may be going wrong when the client asks questions or is inactive. I was helped even more by many ingenious responses to those situations that had never occurred to me.
This is a principled book, one that considers the needs of the client and the consultant in a fair and even-handed way. It also gives you the perspective you need to apply those principles.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Marc on June 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing book! Peter Block's Flawless Consulting, is a textbook appropriate not only for consultants but for anyone that wants to share their expertise with others. Block explains, "You are consulting any time you are trying to change or improve a situation but have no direct control over the implementation."
About his audacious title, he asserts that it is possible for us to operate without error. To consult flawlessly "requires intense concentration on two process. (1)Being as authentic as you can be at all times with the client; (2)Attending directly, in words and actions, to the business of each stage of the consulting process."
Having set the bar extremely high, Block doesn't leave the reader trying to figure out what "being authentic" and "attending to the business of each stage" means. Flawless Consulting is an extremely practical book. Flawless Consulting is replete with checklists, case scenarios, suggested wording (sometimes entire scripts), business recommendations, and practical insights. The book is saturated with Block's wonderful sense of humor and humanity.
Unlike some second editions that are content to simply add a new preface and some cosmetic changes to the dust jacket, Block has updated information throughout the book and added entirely new chapters on: Whole-System Discovery, Implementation, Strategies for Engagement, Ethics and the Shadow Side of Consulting, The Heart of the Matter.
Though not a consultant in the formal sense, I found his insights delightfully applicable to my day-to-day work. So much so that I nearly underlined every line in the book and made notes in the margins! Despite all the great information I gleaned, I think people more formally involved in consulting will get even more from Flawless Consulting.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Felipe Carreras on August 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Peter Block's "Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used", was one of several texts for Dr. Alan Goldman's class on Organizational Consulting, a part of the Scottsdale MBA program offered by ASU West. Having worked as an internal and external consultant in the past, I was hoping for some "tips and tricks" I might be able to glean from this book. I was not disappointed.

Block uses an easy to read style that makes the numerous, yet short, chapters quick reads. The book is organized into nineteen chapters, with each chapter focused on a distinct element of consulting. Topics covered include: contracting, internal consultants, resistance, data-gathering, feedback, implementation, and ethics. Perhaps the most useful section is on implementation.

In his chapters on implementation, Block addresses one of the biggest problems in consulting today, the "implementation gap". What happens at the end of a consulting project is perhaps more important than what happens when the project is in flight. How can an organization make the most of the work of a consultant? How can that business take the results of a project and integrate them and ensure that the project findings don't gather dust on some bookshelf? Through real, if somewhat dates, strategies, Block gives readers a method to answer these questions.

To supplement the chapters, Block provides several checklists in the form of an appendix "Another Checklist You Can Use". These bullets offer nearly all the information from the book in concise, "PowerPoint" ready form. This section is a great resource.

Block's book is a good primer for anyone who does not have consulting experience. He lays out terminology as well as real-world scenarios to help clarify the theory. His stance is clearly articulated and the book is easy to follow. That being said, I strongly suggest this book be used as a starting point for consulting education, not as a definitive guide.
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