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This weeks’ reading focused on long-term relationship development, ethical consulting, and the language of consulting.
Having been in the work force for two and a half decades, I have had the opportunity to learn how to establish and maintain relationships that become long-term. I have also had a plethora of opportunity to be challenged by ethical dilemmas and to learn from them. The language of consulting though, was less familiar to me than these other concepts. Newton (2020) stated, “One of the reasons communications fail is because the speaker or writer is not clearly conscious of or focused enough on the desired goal (p. 215.).” I whole-heartedly agree with this concept and see this as a leadership challenge as well, specifically, ensuring that followers have clear expectations for their work.
As Newton points out, feedback is extremely important. Until the consultant has heard back from the client that they understand a communication, the client has not heard or understood the communication. Ensuring the client has this understanding is not simply a closed-ended question, but a discussion facilitated by the consultant to ensure the client’s understanding. This, in my opinion, would appear as a very important aspect of consulting. An example where using jargon negatively impacted a client experience occurred when I was employed by a healthcare company in Washington state. My company had recently received grant funding to start dental services and we needed to select a dental electronic medical record. A consultant was brought in who presented options with pros and cons. Throughout the presentation the consultant used acronyms specific to dental and assumed that we, because we were a healthcare company, understood these acronyms. We did not, because though we know most healthcare jargon, we did not yet know dental specific jargon or acronyms.
This caused us to constantly remind the consultant to not use acronyms or to explain them, if used. This experience was negative for my company for a couple reasons; 1) this made the consultant appear to not know us, his client, as well as he should and 2) it made the consultant appear incompetent. This consultant was not used again. Newton (2020) commented, “Sometimes clients become accomplices in this problem by accepting jargon (p. 230.).” When I was less experienced and had less confidence than I have now, I fell prey to what Newton described.
I sat in a room and heard jargon that I was unfamiliar with and because of my lack of experience, shyness, lack of confidence, would accept the jargon without understanding what it meant. This did not benefit me. Since this time, I have grown much more confident and I speak up when I hear something I do not understand. Maybe it just came with age for me. Three terms that I had not heard before are: MECE, CAGR, and fact pack. “MECE is an acronym for “Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive,” which means that your solutions and data should have no gaps or overlaps (Nuth, n.d.).”
This acronym seems to me to be an acronym that just should not be used. I have been in executive management for 20 years and have never heard of this and I do not believe many other people have. Therefore, I do not believe it is jargon that I would ever use, because I would likely have to explain it every time I use it. I think I would just say that something was mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive if I needed to say it. “CAGR: Acronym for Compound Annual Growth Rate.
For example, if a market grows from $100 billion to $230 billion over the course of 9 years, the CAGR is 9.70%. This is analogous to Internal Rate of Return in Finance (Street of walls, n.d.).” In healthcare, internal rate of return (IRR) is what is used. I have never heard anyone use the term CAGR. “Typically, a “pack” of information that provides the essential “facts” on a project/industry/company (the management consulting lingo dictionary, 2020.).” I have heard the term fact sheet, but not fact pack, and though similar and likely the same meaning, I still prefer the term fact sheet. First, I would like to say that the Zachary Woods video was excellent! As a life-long-learner I agree one hundred percent with Mr. Woods’ comments on being genuine and that we gain value by gaining a deeper understanding of the viewpoints we strongly disagree with. I believe that I have practiced what Mr. Woods is presented, just not to the extent to which he invites it.
My undergrad communications instructor presented to us that we learn best when we are slightly uncomfortable. Slightly uncomfortable, not completely uncomfortable. I believe this and have tried to understand others’ whose opinions were different than my own. I do not think I need to change my active listening practice but may need to increase the opportunity to hear opposing perspectives to gain a greater understanding of certain topics. After reading the text, it appears there are numerous ways in which a consultant could be unethical. First, would be a consultant accepting work in which they know they do not have the expertise to appropriately manage. Newton (2020) noted that consultants should perform, “only appropriate engagements relative to skills and experience (p. 198.).” Taking on engagements in which one does not have the skill set could also result in long-term relationships, future business, and negative reviews. Second, Newton (2020) discusses the concept of only completing appropriate work. What Newton is referring to is not running up the tab on the client for work that does not need to be done.
This is unethical and a slippery slope.
Third, is the idea of dependency. Newton (2020) wrote, “A dependency on the consultant can be developed by not providing all the information to enable a client to progress work, so they have to keep coming back to you for more (p. 203.).” Again, a consultant should deliver and if additional engagement is needed, return to phase one to re-establish the scope of work and desired outcomes, time commitment, and etcetera.
This should be a new engagement and the prior engagement should be completed and closed out.
Consulting glossary. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.streetofwalls.com/finance-training-courses/consulting-interview-training/consulting-glossary/ Newton, R. (2020). The management consultant: mastering the art of consultancy (2nd ed.). [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://email@example.com:0.00 Nuth, A. (n.d.). Do you speak consultant-ese? 20 buzzwords to know now. Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/do-you-speak-consultantese-20-buzzwords-to-know-now The management consulting lingo dictionary. (2020). Retrieved from https://managementconsulted.com/about/dictionary/