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Our effectiveness as organization consultants depends on the respect and trust developed between us and those with whom we work. In that spirit of trust building, we wish to share with you the ethical principles and professional standards that guide and discipline our consulting practice.

Focused and Relevant Expertise. We accept only those assignments where the assistance required is clearly within our area of expertise, and when we are certain that we are competent to fulfill those technical requirements the client organization by itself cannot.  Clients often engage us because they themselves lack the requisite experience, objectivity, time, staff or expertise to address an issue or task.  In consultation with key stakeholders within the client organization, we design, select or adapt the most appropriate processes, methods and tools that will achieve the client’s goals.  We avoid using methods or approaches with which we are insufficiently skilled, or which poorly match the client’s needs.

Commitment to Valued Service. Our clients include the organizations, agencies, groups and individuals we consult to and the persons who contract with us on their behalf.  We work closely with our clients to understand their needs and expectations so that we can provide appropriate and sufficient service and they can produce desired outcomes.  On every engagement that we accept, we guarantee the dedication of our best professional effort and commitment to produce measurable, valuable results for reasonable investments of time and money.  Our aspiration, however, is to forge relationships with clients and with other members of our profession that go beyond the bounds of mere commercial transactions.  This motivation directs that whenever necessary and feasible we provide our services in virtually unlimited amount.  It also informs our consulting style and professional relations:  Our goal is consistently to serve clients and colleagues beyond expectation and in a spirit of generosity, bringing genuine appreciation and commitment to the opportunity to add value.

Strict Objectivity and Impartiality. We provide impartial, content-neutral advice and assistance guided solely by the client’s best interests.  We offer no packaged systems, preconceived solutions, preferred theories or proprietary methods of any kind that would impair our open-mindedness or compromise our objectivity.  To every assignment, members of the client organization bring knowledge and expertise concerning the substance of their particular situation.  We bring knowledge, experience and expertise concerning inter-personal, intra- and inter-group, cross-unit and inter-organizational interaction processes.  We are vigilant to minimize our influence on the content of organizational deliberations and outcomes.  When we have content knowledge that is not otherwise available to the client and that the client must have to be effective, we offer it only after explaining our temporary change in role.

Maintenance of Confidentiality. We maintain the confidentiality of all client information.  Accordingly, we do not share information about a client within or outside the client’s organization, nor do we report on the content of a client’s work or on the individual opinions or behavior of client organization members without their prior consent.  Within the bounds of reasonable confidentiality, we share information with potential clients about any of our current workloads and ongoing assignments that could conceivably conflict with their interests.

Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest. Prior to deciding whether to work with potential clients, we discuss openly and honestly any ongoing assignments, personal biases, prior knowledge of the organization, or other matters that the prospective client may perceive as preventing us from working effectively and objectively in their interests.  We do this so that together we and the potential client can make an informed decision about proceeding, and to prevent any misunderstanding that could detract from either the client’s or our own success or credibility.  Once having undertaken an assignment, we refrain from using our work for the client organization to secure unfair or inappropriate privilege, gain or benefit.  We check with current and recent clients before taking on any new assignment that might conceivably be adverse to their or the prospective client’s interests.

Respect, Safety, Equity and Trust. As we work with a client organization, we seek to have all relevant stakeholders represented and involved.  Our goal is to demonstrate that we are individuals the client can rely upon to help solve their problems; be sensitive to their person and position; and honor their interests, perspectives and priorities.  As we work with individuals and groups within the client organization, we strive to promote equitable relationships among the participants as well as between them and us, and to ensure that all participants have an opportunity to examine and share their thoughts and feelings.  We use a variety of methods to enable the client organization to access the natural talents and relevant life experiences of each of its members.

When working with a client, we use simple direct questions and statements to verify our understanding of the client’s role and expectations for the project, to convey our own expectations for the project, to communicate how we view our role, and to establish an appropriate balance of responsibility between the client and ourselves for the results of the engagement.  We are always mindful that any action we take is an intervention that may affect the interests and well-being of individuals, groups and the larger organization.  We seek each stakeholder’s conscious agreement and expressed comfort with any of our intervention processes as well as their genuine commitment to participate fully in them.

We deliberately work in ways that credit the integrity and self-expression of others, designing interventions that respect different styles of interaction and the autonomy of each individual and group within the larger organization. We neither impose nor propose anything that risks the participants’ welfare or dignity, the credibility of their work, or their freedom of choice.  If an individual or a group decides to go in a direction other than that originally intended by them, their representatives or their sponsors within the client organization, our role is to help them move forward, reconciling as best we can their emergent direction with the original intent.

Client Involvement in the Process. We involve client staff in as much of our work as their availability and their inclinations permit.  We use each stage of a consulting assignment as an opportunity to engage client staff in the process, to create shared understanding with the client, to reduce resistance to change, to transfer relevant expertise to the client, and to build client commitment to the implementation of actionable solutions.  In doing this, we give up some of our short-term freedom of action because it serves our longer-range goal of mobilizing informed and confident client action after we have left.

Continuous Professional Growth. We strive to learn and grow continuously. We stay current in the collaborative and empowering technologies of organization consulting through our practical work experiences, and through ongoing self-development.  We actively seek opportunities to improve our knowledge and skills to be better able to assist clients in their work.  We value collaboration not only as a driver of purposeful self-directed change but also as a vehicle for improving our profession, growing our skills and broadening our perspective.  Thus, we freely share our professional skills and experiences with others to maximize opportunities for improving our and their work practices.

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Related Sites

wikipediaonorgdev
jab.sagepub.com
odnetwork.org
OD Institute
The Soc for Industrial Org Psych
Acad of Mgmt OD and Change Div
International OD Association
Fielding Graduate University