Consulting Resources

Professional Development

Whether you’re new to consulting or you’re a seasoned pro, it’s constructive to take time for introspection and benchmarking. Below are several books to help you in your career:

Flawless Consulting

By Peter Block

This Third Edition to Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting addresses business changes and new challenges since the second edition was written ten years ago. It tackles the challenges next-generation consultants face, including more guidance on how to ask better questions, dealing with difficult clients, working in an increasingly virtual world, how to cope with complexities in international consulting, case studies, and guidelines on implementation. Also included are illustrative examples and exercises to help you cement the guides offered.

Humble Inquiry

By Edgar H. Schein

Communication is essential in a healthy organization. But all too often when we interact with people—especially those who report to us—we simply tell them what we think they need to know. This shuts them down. To generate bold new ideas, to avoid disastrous mistakes, to develop agility and flexibility, we need to practice Humble Inquiry.

Ed Schein defines Humble Inquiry as “the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.” In this seminal work, Schein contrasts Humble Inquiry with other kinds of inquiry, shows the benefits Humble Inquiry provides in many different settings, and offers advice on overcoming the cultural, organizational, and psychological barriers that keep us from practicing it.

Process Consultation

By Edgar H. Schein

This book shows you how to influence a situation in the workplace without the direct use of power of formal authority.

From the Back Cover:
This book was originally written to communicate to my academic colleagues what I did when I went off to work with a company and to describe for consultants and managers my view of important events that occurred in organizations.

The Trusted Advisor

By David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, & Robert M. Galford

The essential “must have” tool for professionals who advise or negotiate with others in today’s new economy.

In today’s fast-paced networked economy, professionals must work harder than ever to maintain and improve their business skills and knowledge. But technical mastery of your discipline is not enough, assert world-renowned professional advisors David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford. The key to professional success, they argue, is the ability to earn the trust and confidence of clients. The creation of trust is what earns the right to influence clients; trust is also at the root of client satisfaction and loyalty. The workings of trust are even more critical in the new economy than in the old.

Maister, Green, and Galford enrich our understanding of trust — yet they have also written a deeply practical book. Using their model of “The Trust Equation,” they dissect the rational and emotional components of trustworthiness. With precision and clarity, they detail five distinct steps you must take to create a trust-based relationship. Each step — engage, listen, frame, envision, and commit — is richly described in distinct chapters. The book is peppered with pragmatic “top ten” lists aimed at improving advisors’ effectiveness that can be put to use instantly. It also includes a trust self-diagnostic in the appendix.

This immensely readable book will be welcomed by the inexperienced advisor and the most seasoned expert alike. The authors use anecdotes, experiences, and examples — successes and mistakes, their own and others’ — to great effect. Though they use the professional services advisor/client paradigm throughout the book, their prescriptions have resonance for other trust-reliant situations — selling, customer relationship management, and internal staff functions like HR and information technology.

The result is a tour de force — brilliant, penetrating, unique. It is essential reading for anyone who must advise, negotiate, or manage complex relationships with others.

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