The poem (below) jumped out at me from a therapist’s office wall. A local team of our behavioral health providers were in Day 2 action, practicing and refining with real patients toward the ideal visit. I sat as still as possible, hoping to meld into the background, or maybe even disappear, as the patient and provider tackled the challenges in front of them.
In my attempt to disappear, I scanned the walls of her office, and found myself intrigued by the implications: clearly this providers found inspiration for her role in this poem, but didn’t it also have immense wisdom for my role as an improvement consultant?
A colleague once said it to me this way: “if you’re teaching someone to ride a bike, it’s not a very effective strategy to pull them off the bike and ride it for them.” The analogy helps highlight the absurdity, but as improvement consultants in the real world, is this not what we’re so often tempted to do – give an answer; Do it for them? For me, this temptation comes from many sources,
- The business needs bottom line results now
The leader(s) and team get frustrated and want
Maybe most challenging, our own patience and ego
is constantly under attack as we try to stay focused on going at their pace, not
our own; empowering them to unleash their capability, not flaunt our own.
Underlying my responses to these common temptations is my answer to the poem’s title, why am I here?
Maybe my job title helps me with my answer? Maybe a “lean consultant,” a “Kaizen consultant,” a “TPS consultant,” a “CI consultant,” a “PI consultant,” etcetera, each answer differently? My experience says no, that these titles are quite often used interchangeably, and have at times been indistinguishable in behavior from “management consultant”, or “business consultant”.
Unfortunately, my job titles won’t bail me out, I must answer on my own.
Why We Are Here:
We are here to listen,
not to work miracles.
We are here to help people discover what they are feeling,
not make feelings go away
We are here to help people identify their options,
not to decide for them what they should do.
We are here to discuss steps with people,
not take steps for them.
We are here to help people discover that they can help
not take responsibility for them.
We are here to help people learn to choose,
not to make it unnecessary to make difficult choices.
We are here to provide support for change.
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