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Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used 3rd Edition
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From the Inside Flap
When the landmark best-seller Flawless Consulting was first published more than three decades ago, it was quickly adopted as the "consultant's bible." With his legendary warmth and passion, Peter Block explained how to deal effectively with clients, peers, and others. The book continues to speak to people in a support function inside organizations as well as to external consultants.
This thoroughly revised and updated third edition of Peter Block's groundbreaking book explores the latest thinking on consultation. It includes new insights about how we can organize our consulting around discovering the strengths, positive examples, and gifts of the client organization or community. The book remains a practical and specific guide for anyone who needs to develop a capacity for deeper relatedness and partnershipwhich means it is for all who wish to make a real difference in the world.
This new edition covers the consulting challenges that have arisen from the way we routinely communicate electronically and live in the virtual world. Block suggests ways to overcome the distancing and isolating effects inherent in electronic connects. The book also includes practical guidance on how to ask better questions, gives suggestions for dealing with difficult clients, and contains expanded guidelines on more engaging forms of implementation.
Flawless Consulting includes two new examples, taken from health care and educational reform efforts, to show how consulting skills can be useful (and often transformative) in a broader context. These illustrative examples point the way for achieving changes for leadership in business, government, religion, human services, and more.
Like the first two editions, Flawless Consulting affirms the notion that authentic behavior and personal relationships are the key to technical and business success. By demonstrating their ability to be truly authentic at each step in the process, consultants can aim toward creating workplaces that are more collaborative and ultimately more successful.
From the Back Cover
Praise for the third edition of FLAWLESS CONSULTING
"Consulting at its best is about action and interaction, relationships and results. In a highly readable guide that is both inspirational and practical, Peter Block leads consultant and client together through a proven approach to realize their future."
SAMUEL R. STRICKLAND chief financial and administrative officer, Booz Allen Hamilton
"Surpasses the high standards of relevance, clarity, and wisdom characteristic of previous versions.... Whether one's consulting experience spans five years or fifty, there is a great deal in this new edition to prompt us to reflect on our own practice and to discuss with colleagues."
ROGER HARRISON independent consultant and author of Consultant's Journey: A Dance of Work and Spirit andThe Collected Papers of Roger Harrison
"Peter Block has written a masterful third edition of his masterpiece, Flawless Consulting. Important additions to the third edition are the strength-based strategies that many are beginning to use... in solving seemingly intractable problems in health care and other industries. They are featured in a new Chapter Twelve and form a common thread that runs through this entire path-breaking book."
JON C. LLOYD, MD, FACS senior associate, Positive Deviance Initiative; clinical advisor, Plexus Institute
"Peter's masterwork, Flawless Consulting, has been my go-to guide since the first edition.... Flawless Consulting is not just a practical, useful, and inviting book for practitioners. It's all those things, but it's also a book about some of the most vexing issues we face when consulting to organizationsissues of resistance, truth, doubt, vulnerability, and accountability. If you find yourself giving advice to people making choices, then this book is a must-have for you. Buy it today, use it tomorrow."
JIM KOUZES award-winning coauthor of the best-selling The Leadership Challenge and The Truth About Leadership, and Dean's Executive Professor of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University
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.I should have read this book two years ago for my current role and 15 years ago as I started in my career. You cannot afford to not read this book. Personally and professionally Block will show you that you may be acting out of role, futilely exerting energy and setting yourself up for failure. I am now a Peter Block fan.
How well do you manage resistance when purusing your own needs when consulting --- ask Peter Block
How well do you garner committment from others - ask Peter Block
What should you define in your contract - ask Peter Block
How do you determine if you are "effective" - ask Peter Block
What is the discovery model for problem solving that you can use time after time - ask Peter Block
Block does not talk about the technical aspects of consulting, but focuses on the way of being with the client and ourselves. This is as it should be. After all, we got selected for the job for possessing technical skills. That being said, Block advocates a partnership with the client for a joint discovery of the "real problem" and the "solution". This is in contrast to the traditional expert and the pair of hands models of consulting.
The book is about 350 pages and contains 19 chapters plus some appendixes. It promises it is shorter than previous editions by moving more content online. The first few chapters set the tone for the rest of the book. The first chapter looks at the definition of consulting and introduces the 5 phase consulting process: 1) Entry & Contracting, 2) Discovery and Dialogue, 3) Analysis and the Decision to Act, 4) Engagement and Implementation, and 5) Extension, Recycle or Termination. The rest of the book follows these phases is chronological sequence. The second chapter introduces the collaborative approach to consulting that the book takes. As a consultant, you collaborate with a client on 50/50 basis to together help the client improve. The third chapter introduces the concept of authenticity to consulting, staying true and congruent to your own feelings and intuition and trying to truly collaborate on equal basis to resolve problems. These three concepts: 1) consulting phases, 2) collaborative relation, and 3) authenticity form the basis for the rest of the book.
I won't summarize the rest of the chapters as the follow the consulting concepts in the order of the phases. The phases made me uncomfortable though as I've always viewed consulting as a more iterative and continuous activity where there is gradual discovery, decision making and implementation going on all the time. The strict approach that the book took to these phases felt very unnatural to me, but it might have to do with the different types of consulting. Some might be purely project/goal basis and some might be more continuous. The collaborative and authenticity concepts would fit extremely well with a continuous and iterative view on consulting though, so in that sense, I felt that was a missed opportunity.
All that said, the book is a full with useful advise on how to improve your consulting skills. It is definitively be useful for any person in a consultative role and would recommend picking this up. Good.