How Prophetable is Your Consulting?

prophetable principles Jan 21, 2019

There's two types of consultants. The ones who are drawn to the profession because of the potential for making great money and  the prestige that comes from working with the executives.

Then there's the ones who are in it for so much more than money. They also want to make a real difference in our overly stressed workplaces. 

Both types of consultants want and need to be profitable and deserve equitable compensation for their contribution. But the latter group also wants to be PROPHET-able meaning that they can hold their own with senior leaders and speak truth to power to encourage the creation of socially just workplaces.

We can look at our consulting as a way to make a living without being on the full-time payroll. OR we can see it through the lens of the higher purpose of our role - which is to come alongside leaders and help them be their best and create the type of workplaces where everyone can show up and do their best work.

The reality is consulting isn't a new position. It's a very old one.

In the Hebrew Bible - there's a myriad of examples of consultants who provide wise counsel and advice to leaders.

  • There's Jethro who helped Moses with organization design support.
  • There's Samual and Nathan - who served as executive coach to King David.
  • There's a ton of other prophets who acted as trusted advisors to myriads of kings.

In every hero's journey - there's a mentor who plays an essential role to the hero taking his or her place in leadership and life.  Arthur had Merlin, Odysseus had Athena, Simba had Rafiki, Luke had Obi-Wan, Dorothy had Glinda and the list goes on and on.

Consultants are the modern day equivalent of these ancient roles and we can make a meaningful impact if we see our role from a more elevated perspective. 

There's way too much getting lost in service of the obsession for short-term profitability. And far too few leaders really understand its far-reaching impact.

Every decision senior executives make has a massive impact on the quality of life of their workers, societal contribution of their companies products and services and whether or not their companies can participate in using their wealth and proceeds to advance the causes of social justice in their communities and the world.

For example, what may feel like a simple decision to cut jobs for the sake of meeting today’s numbers has a far reaching impact, beyond the employee who has been laid off. The remaining workers have to deal with heavy workloads that create enormous stress that affects their health and the quality of their home life. Reduction in staff creates longer wait times and diminished product/service quality which effects the experience of customers both in terms of their buying power and the time spent on hold and in frustrating customer service experiences.

This has to change because the real threat to our society isn’t global warming or even a nuclear explosion. It’s the internal combustion from the relentless pressure that is going to kill us and create the situation where we may be alive, we’re not really living.

IF alive, awake, personally powerful and compassionate consultants are the ones who can win the contracts for services and beat out the more self-focused ones, we can change the world. We can help our clients with both their explicit wants and their implicit and very real needs that they may not be aware of. If we can offer pragmatic paths to help our clients take into account their entire realm when making decisions, we can play a key role in catalyzing changes where:

  • Workloads are manageable
  • People are able to work in and be compensated for their best gifts and talents
  • There will be capacity for all of life’s priorities
  • There will be connection to making a difference in the world – to channel profits not just to benefit the shareholders but the community and the world.

So the question that remains is - how profitable and PROPHET-able is your consulting?

Profit Only Consultants

Profitable and Prophet-able Consultants

  • Says what people want to hear
  • Tells the truth – even if it hurts
  • Gives clients what they want
  • Offers clients what they need
  • Encourages actions to serve primarily the bottom line
  • Encourages actions to serve all stakeholders – customer, employee and business results
  • Cares only about what is accomplished
  • Cares equally for what gets accomplished AND how
  • Values people according to job title, status and formal position
  • Respects, appreciates and values everyone
  • Short-term focused
  • Positions short-term needs in the context of long-term sustainability
  • Is in consulting primarily for the money and prestige
  • Recognizes need to monetize one’s mission but primary driver is to serve executives and organization