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#634: Help Your Client With Chemistry

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, August 18, 2011
Updated: Thursday, August 18, 2011
As consultants, we are often retained to solve a particular problem only to discover cultural or leadership problems that need to be solved first. Sometimes discovering this social or leadership disconnect takes a long time to really surface. Is there a tool or methodology to shortcut the discovery process if we suspect something like this?

Surfacing this kind of intangible is what separates experienced from new consultants. Years of experience in a range of industries and organizational settings sensitizes us to both the existence of these social issues and to their likely solution. However, you asked about the discovery process so here is one area to consider. Although you may need specialized expertise, some reading up on network analysis is useful.

Social Network Analysis (SNA) is being used by companies, sports teams and military units to surface the team power, work and influence networks and dynamics within and among teams. A team, or company, is at peak performance when it "clicks." When there is internal dissension, miscommunication or ambiguous roles, performance plummets regardless of the capability of individual team members.

This synergy effect is just as important for your consulting interventions. As smart as you are and as clever your recommendations, your client's performance will suffer if the organizational chemistry isn't here. An SNA analysis will tell you quickly where these social glitches exist and who is in a position to address them.

Tip: The dramatic impact of transforming a collection of stars into a high performing team is clearest for sports teams, when you see a cohesive team of average players beat a group of individual stars. A collection of SNA cases will give you the perspective to quickly assess whether there are social or cultural landmines and the extent of a formal SNA required as part of your diagnosis.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting tools  customer understanding  management theory  networks 

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Richard P. Morgan CMC FIMC says...
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2011
The most difficult step for most management teams is not developing action items, but in the implementation, actually doing what they already agree needs to be done. That is why I will not agree to facilitate development of an operational business or marketing plan unless I am also involved in facilitating its implementation for the duration of that planning cycle.
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