Friday, 13 March 2009

How does a consultant prove their value?

A lot of people are up in arms about Facebook's design changes, despite the facts that

a) Facebook is a private company and can do what they want
b) They've been notifying users of changes for over a week on their homepages.

But it brings home the point that when you create a space and ask people to make themselves at home, they will. And they'll fight any changes you make to their home, because you've succeeded in making them feel at home.


It makes me think about any business based on Intellectual Property, particularly consulting and teaching.

If a teacher is successful, the knowledge becomes part of the student. The student absorbs it and feels as though they've discovered it themselves. The successful teacher actually makes himself invisible after a time, introducing the student to the knowledge and setting them free.

Or you could be a dysfunctional, codependent teacher, crippling your student and making them dependent on you for correct interpretation of the facts.

And that's kind of the way business has been in the last hundred years or so, hasn't it? It's also kind of the way, dare I say, that the church has been for much longer.

But if success means invisibility, how does the teacher/consultant prove their value?

I don't have an answer, I'm thinking out loud here. Would love to hear your thoughts.


Emma said...

Interesting points, Simon. I'm not sure what the answers are, either, but that is what's so exciting about the times we're living in, no? Trying to make things more sensible, more reasonable. I'm glad I found your blog, I'll be back.

xxNapoleon Solo said...

If I could make myself invisible, I'd be a superhero, not a teacher. Does that help? ;-D

Catherine Arrow said...

Your value is directly related to your willingness to share combined with your capability when it comes to devising and creating the kind of knowledge maps that will inspire and challenge your colleagues/students to begin their own journey (and hopefully find out something they can then teach you). Only if we stop learning ourselves does the process become constrained and selfish. Good consultants chart the waters for others, then they navigate and guide them through - but they don't control. Good consultants and teachers turn passengers into captains.

Simon said...

Thank you all for your comments, especially yours, Catherine!