*picture of a group of school children that we are helping to house while they go to middle school on the coast.
I am not always sure how to explain or give a title to what we do. I know we are here to help people, but how does that work?
We listened to a podcast on Freakonomics recently that gave me a term I could understand, and sink my teeth into. Ready for it? Management Consultant.
According to the extremely articulate MC (see, it even has an acronym), that they interviewed, corporate Management Consultants are hired when a company
“[has] a problem to solve and they are looking for a team of people who will connect with them, who will understand them, and who they will have confidence in in terms of helping them craft a solution.”
She went on to say that a Management Consultant is
“like a doctor in that they need to be able to connect with the person they are talking to and try to understand the underlying need versus the presenting need similar to the way a patient may come into a doctor, and talk about a presenting injury, but it might be something quite different that is the underlying reason. And, that is a quite common occurrence in consulting where the consultants need to really understand the question beneath the question, or the problem beneath the problem…
A consultant is like a therapist in that they are often asking the client a set of questions that help them achieve a self discovery around the answer to that question in a way that enables them to own the answer and drive the change within their own company…
A consultant is like a golden retriever…in that they need to form lasting trust based relationships with their clients.”
So THAT is what we do. We see the presenting problems:
Literally thousands of kids, teenagers, parents who don’t know how to read.
People wanting a quick medicine to fix their problems, when they really need surgery, or long term health care.
Malnutrition. Worms. Scabies.
Living from one harvest to another. Planting quick growing, low yield crops.
Teenagers staying up all night when they could be learning to change the world.
Parents agonizing over their kids partying, and getting involved in drugs
People struggling with personal problems.
So many struggling with crises of faith.
A feeling of being lesser than others, because they don’t yet know the national language.
A leaving behind of the traditional things, for the new, TV version of society.
Mismanagement of their churches.
So we can say, kids take up playing the traditional guitar because it is so hauntingly beautiful. Parents learn how to read, don’t shy away from things that take a long time, plant longer term, higher yield crops, start planting and eating more beans, eat eggs and save your money for milk instead of spending it on junk food and un-necessary antibiotics. And stop letting your kids party, make them go to school. We can say build bathrooms and boil your water, until we are blue in the face, but attacking the presenting problem without understanding the underlying reasons, will never allow them to own the answer.
BUT if we are to be good management consultants we have to help people “achieve a self discovery” and “drive their own change”. And this all has to be done on the basis of relationships. And VERY importantly in their own language…I remember that every time when I try to tell someone to do something in the national language, and I see confusion fill everyone’s eyes.
So, that’s what we are, Management Consultants. We are NOT here to become management, we are just here to develop and help the management that is, and will be, in place.