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BriefConsulting doesn’t deal in universals; BriefConsultants like me were never persuaded that we could be privy to any of the secrets behind even one of the multitudes of One Best Ways. I remain skeptical when encountering anything labeled Best Practice, curious about who licked that label before sticking it on, and why. Neither advocate nor adversary, not over-bearing or objective, I start with a BlankPage. I must seem curious in every possible sense of the word.

I can’t rightfully say that I know much, but I do hope to be learning. I try to acknowledge the here and now as here and now rather than then and there in disguise, and recognize that this moment fully qualifies as virgin territory. Nobody’s ever been exactly right here before. This fact disqualifies my experience but might more fully qualify my senses—my presence, should I somehow find the ability to sense the here and now; right here and now.

A mentor counseled me to first judge every document by comparing it to a BlankPage. This seems the more generous tactic, a grounding point from which to launch further, deeper assessment. Of course my mind never shines up to anything approaching absolute transparency. Even the best intentions leave some smears to peer through, but first comparing to nothing, I might enhance my meager ability to see at all. My initial distinction compares what seems to be there to nothing much at all.

Finer distinctions follow, all rooted in that original BlankPage. However thoroughly I might plan each engagement, and I do preplan, the slate swipes clean at the moment of engagement, and must. Otherwise, I’m wading through projections, and might even commit the first great sin of consulting: foisting my preferences, my prejudices, my (shudder!) knowledge upon my all-too willing client. Better to first scan the BlankPage, then bring the content into focus.

I needn’t know-it-all to come across as a know-it-all. I might need to know little, or even less, to convince myself that I could even approach knowing all. Knowing might qualify as a tell, one of those signals card sharps notice in over-confident players. Over-confident consultants know much less than they proclaim.

BriefConsulting isn’t about knowing but observing; not observing objectively but carefully, acknowledging that just looking poisons every well. I seek questions, not answers; insights, not solutions because answers and solutions seem to presume more than care requires, and also much, much less. This is not a race, though the engagement might well be brief. No lasting reward goes to the first one across the finish line, the first to turn in the completed test. There isn’t any finish line. This isn’t a test.

This might be or might even become a relationship, one either founded upon the generosity of a BlankPage, or not. My client knows plenty, and it’s unlikely that his difficulty stems from a lack of knowledge. More probably it arose from something he could not see, so the parallax perspective I bring into the engagement might well prove key. He has ample antibodies to counteract whatever prior knowledge I might bring, so I look, hopeful that I might see something interesting, perhaps even insightful.

BlankPages carry no guarantees, just possibilities, and it don’t never take much to make some meaningful difference there.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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