Evening Sessions #20: The Dreaded ‘C’ Word…

The dreaded C word. No not that one! Don’t be so rude.

No. I mean this one:


Sometimes it’s a cliche and other times its a necessity. We’ve all sat on our thrones surveying our corporate kingdoms wondering how to outwit our competitors and deliver value for our clients. For change to happen it often needs it’s best friend and brother in arms, innovation.

Yet, oh how easy it is to sit in our boardrooms and preach to those in our teams about how we are going to deliver unprecedented value and run riot with market share. Even worse, if you are a consultant making promises to someone else’s organisation. Then judgement day comes and we’ve prepared our statistics and factoids, with our immaculate, laminated portfolios and ready to present iPads and we deliver our management sermon.

As we stand, across the globe, in our starched suits (I prefer Tom Ford) with our neatly folded pocket squares and witty presentations we feel like the Einsteins of Enterprise.

But wait.

What’s going on? They’re not smiling? All I see is furrowed brows and coursed eyebrows. Oh that’s right. I see the problem.

Change. No-one really wants it from a consultant.

You see the day you come in and you’re being paid to offer a new perspective is the day someone else feels they’re not up to the job. You see in every interaction there’s an encoder and decoder. You might be putting forward a genuine solution to a corporate problem but human psychology misinterprets that on a regular basis as passing judgement.

You see you have no idea really what your clients are thinking or what’s going in their day to day lives. The office politics, the project pressures, stresses and strains all while they are dealing with an outsider who they barely know trying to tell them how to do things differently.

It’s not all doom and gloom. What I mean to emphasise today is that open, transparent communication is the key to every successful partnership and don’t forget for a second that that’s what you’re in. It’s a consultant-client partnership.

So next time you’re with a client try reading between the lines and take the time to talk to the people in a firm beyond the obvious players like the CEO and CFO. You’d be surprised what you’ll find out and how much more rapport you’ll build with the people you need on side to change. In fact before even trying to illicit change you to need to create a culture that will applaud and accept change (but we’ll save that blog for another day!)

After all, change doesn’t have to be dramatic to be effective.

Dr Saif F Abed
Founding Partner
AbedGraham Healthcare Strategies Ltd
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