What do they hire us for?

I often ponder the gift that I/ we as Organizational Development (OD) consultants bring to our clients and to groups. Some consultants come from “the expert” angle, where they think they have the answers. But I’m convinced that it’s the quality of questions that we ask – skilled OD practitioners bring a talent for drilling down, focusing and helping the client get clarity. So I was thrilled to come across this blog:

“This makes me think we look to experts more to frame conversation. Experts ask questions similar to those that are burning in our own heads, but the experts ask sharper questions; the answers we can take or leave, but the questions change us.”

One of the groups that I convene is called “OD and Social Change”, in which we OD consultants discuss a current case from an organization – we kick it around and ask lots of questions, so that we can offer some useful suggestions. The purpose of the group is mutual learning – for the client organization, and for us practitioners – we learn from the way that we each approach a problem, and from the questions that we ask. This week we conversed with a non-profit director about his program, and as I reflect on this quote, I realize that we were doing that “asking sharp questions” piece. What a gift to be able to ask good questions!

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