Ellen Herman on Consulting and The Real Value of Consultants

By William Seidman My friend and colleague, Ellen Herman, guest-blogs for us this week: Bill Seidman spoke to my MBA Class at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts on June 14th on “Management Consulting Skills” and provided a unique perspective on consultants – including not calling himself a consultant. Action Learning.  I teach the class as if it were a team of consultants (or managers hiring consultants) and engage students in exercises to learn why one would hire a consultant, how to create a relationship with a consultant, and how to create shared expectations.  We also discuss case studies to examine how others handled a variety of consulting dilemmas. Friends and Colleagues Contribute. Each term I ask friends and colleagues with whom I have worked in my consulting and teaching career to share their vision and their approach to consulting with my students. Bill enjoys teaching – I was able to learn this first hand when we worked together at Harvard Business School in the 90s developing a module on project management. Bill shared his view on how individuals survive because of networking. The Real Value of Consultants: We also talked about differentiation in the class and Bill explained that the real value of consultants is to help clients be better at what they do by helping them leverage their best resources, and about designing a system that will enable them to develop  sustainable solutions. We also talked about focusing on what is right, instead of what most consultants do, which is to focus on what is wrong with the organization in order to move toward a positive science. Students were very intrigued by how Cerebyte differentiates itself and became excited by the concept of positive deviants – high energy for the greater good. ” Ellen Herman serves as a strategic advisor to a variety of organizations, chief executives and government officials, providing creative ideas for change.  Her focus is to help leaders create an infrastructure that showcases organizational value to external stakeholders.  She also serves as an adjunct professor of Management at Bentley University.  Previously she has taught executives, graduate and undergraduate students  at Boston University, the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and Northeastern University. Her primary consulting and teaching interests focus on organizational change, executive coaching and leadership.]]>

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