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Bare-assed Consulting 1.3: The Blindnesses

The truly bare-assed consultant is blind, but blind with a twist. Like with cholesterol, blindness comes in both good and bad varieties. The worst of the bad blindnesses comes from being blind that one is blind: unconscious blindness; the best of the good blindnesses emerges from the full acceptance of just how unavoidably blind one is: conscious, bare-assed blindness.

As a truly bare-assed consultant, I can’t hardly help but acknowledge how blind I must be. Blind because I’m here, not there; me, not you; wagging on the tail-end of a lifetime of experience which probably doesn’t qualify as representative, universal, or particularly enlightening. I’m blinded by this shred of enlightenment, almost certain I cannot see even half of what’s before my eyes.

Before, when I was still inflicted with the curse of unconscious blindness, I could muster certainty from scant evidence, and could even swagger with the sour scent of confidence. Slip over here for more ...


Bare-assed Consulting 1.2: Add Vice

Consultants have a long and troubling relationship with advice. The young ones innocently presume consulting to be a means for dispensing advice, and their clients won’t readily dissuade them. The more experienced might have developed a dependency on advice-giving, and unselfconsciously inflict it upon everyone. Many consultants have been divorced. More than once.

The bare-assed consultant deeply appreciates that giving advice, cheapens it. Further, unbidden advice rarely produces intended results. Conveniently deflected and comfortably ignored, the very best advice might be to avoid giving any advice. Still, The Advice Vice seems as common to consultants as Brooks Brothers suits.

It took a very long time to wean myself off my advice-giving Jones. Slip over here for more ...


BriefConsulting 1.5: Outing The Fix

I stood up, explained my difficulty, and a small group of fellow authors gathered around to engage in a little session. Their role would be that of inquisitor. They’d ask me questions, hoping to help me gain some deeper insight. Doing this, they might gain insight, too.

I thought my challenge was a common one, especially for writers. I’m a hesitant joiner, though I’m absolutely convinced that community produces by far the best outcomes. So, when I’m invited to a writer’s retreat like this one, I spend at least the day before I leave trying to talk myself out of attending. I’m usually better at this than I was this time, so I’d shown up. Then, in this last session, I stood up.

Once en-grouped, I explained my experience in greater detail, then the inquisitors began. I noticed a twinge of thrill in my chest as we began, a sense that this session just might fix my life-long reluctance, and this possibility felt really, really good. Maybe I could fit in instead of force-fitting in. Slip over here for more ...


BriefConsulting 1.4: Too Small Shoes

I call one class of complaint Too Small Shoes, in homage to Eric Newby’s Short Walk In The Hindu Kush. In that book, Newby tells the story of his several weeks-long trek through rough Afghan back country. In preparation, he’d ordered custom-made boots, which he had delivered to Istanbul. Not bothering to open the box containing his new boots until after the several hundred mile drive to the trailhead, he discovered there that the boots were considerably smaller than expected, so small that his feet barely fit inside them. He faced a clear choice then, since his alternative footwear consisted of a pair of soft sneakers completely unsuitable for uneven ground, of either wearing the boots anyway or abandoning the adventure altogether.

Many organizational initiatives and personal adventures feature a similar decision point. However careful the planning, some otherwise insignificant element gains prominence and threatens the entire enterprise. Going forward means accepting quite different from expected terms. Slip over here for more ...


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