Getting Naked is title of Patrick Lencioni’s latest book, which is a business fable about shedding the three fears that threaten client loyalty. The story is about a consultant, and so it may not seem like it applies to you. However, the book applies to anyone whose business depends on service, sales or relationships. So let’s start with why I love it!
Years ago when I took on the tile of consultant and started working with CrisMarie in the corporate world, I was amazed at the distrust and cynical view some business leaders had regarding consultants. I learned that consultants are generally the people who will tell you what you want to hear, provide a solution that requires a team of consultants to implement, and then leave, ensuring that these same consultants or others from the same firm will have a long term contract to sustain the new changes. Of course, this is not really the definition of consulting, but it seems that large firms and the need for big contracts may have given consulting a bad rap.
Personally, I wanted to change my title and put some distance between Thrive! and the big consulting firms. However, when we aligned with the Table Group, Patrick Lencioni’s Company, I realized there was a way to keep consulting simple, focused, and on a path that provides leaders with practical tools that enhance relationships through clarity and cohesion. By using these tools, leaders can enhance direct, honest communication, peer accountability and vulnerability-based leadership. It’s work that isn’t built around selling a solution as much as focused on having the right conversations that allow us to partner with a leader and offer an experience that wraps leader and team development around the company or teams’ real business issues, values and strategic direction. The work we do with clients is real time and the results reflect not our expertise but the team’s wisdom, resources and clarity. Of course, sometimes that isn’t what we like or think is best, but it isn’t because we hold back or say only what the client wants to hear. No, we speak up, but even more importantly, we trust the wisdom of the people who are ultimately going to be accountable for delivering the results. We know that isn’t us, and we trust the wisdom and skills in the room.
So when Pat decided to write Getting Naked, I was thrilled. In his book he outlines what I believe consulting is all about. Even more importantly, he outlines what any team or group needs to know when it comes to the business of service, selling and influencing.
The underlying fears, which Lencioni addresses in this book, I think are familiar to any business leader. They are:
• Fear of losing the business
• Fear of being embarrassed
• Fear of feeling inferior
I think every executive we have worked with has faced these fears at some point in going out into the world to get business, raise capital, sell a product or service, handle a recall or failure. Indeed, this book appeals to a much broader audience than the story implies. However, most leaders don’t like to go there too often. Honestly, most consultants don’t either, but the good ones are willing to go there first and lead the way.
I can honestly say I am proud to be a consultant when I define it through these commitments to my clients. I will endeavor to:
• Tell the kind truth
• Always consult instead of sell
• Give away the business
• Enter the danger
• Ask dumb questions
• Make dumb suggestions
• Celebrate mistakes
• Take a bullet for the client
• Do the dirty work
• Make it all about the client
• Honor the client’s work
Imagine if your team embraced these same principals of doing business. Just think about your customer or team member instead of consulting and see if it doesn’t sound like an amazingly powerful way to do business!
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke
Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict
CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.
They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.
Check out their website: www.thriveinc.com. Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.