As organizational effectiveness (OE) consultants we make our livings by diagnosing our organizational clients’ effectiveness deficiencies and then recommending interventions for our clients’ greater effectiveness. But, we must also consider our own effectiveness.
As OE consultants, we must continuously engage in discussions about how to become more effective ourselves. It is extremely important for all of us to be involved with communities of practice with other OE consultants, and to attend the conferences with our peers.
I would like to share with you some of the comments expressed at a recent LearnShare event in Ohio. I was impressed by the emphasis on becoming strategic business partners with our clients. As OE consultants, either internal or independent, our job is to add value to our clients’ businesses.
Barry Melnkovic, Vice President of Talent Management & Organizational Effectiveness, said, ?You can’t lose your focus on making money.? He went on to say, ?If you really focus on business strategies, then I propose that you focus on the few that really matter and drive the business.? Do you know your client well enough to know what drives the business?
Donnee Ramelli, President of General Motors University, emphasized the importance of speaking senior management’s language. Ramelli said, ?[During a downturn], training is one of the first things to get whacked. And the reason we get whacked is that we haven’t shown how we offer enterprise value. You pass that test by having the hard metrics that are commonly understood by any of the general managers.? You don’t necessarily need an MBA, but you do need a common language to talk with your client.
Rick McAnally (Director of Talent Management at Deere & Company) and Frank Persico (IBM’s Director of Learning Partnerships) spoke about how internal consultants can keep their services in-house and also about ?in-sourcing.?
The concept of ?in-sourcing? has received little attention in practitioner journals. Outsourcing, on the other hand, has received an overwhelming amount of press. Outsourcing, as we all know, is the process of finding outside vendors who can provide services more effectively than in-house staff can provide those same services.
Instead of living in fear of outsourcing, several internal consultants that I know now aggressively practice the strategy of ?in-sourcing.? They actively look for services provided by outside vendors that they can do more effectively in-house. Bringing these services in-house improves their companies’ bottom lines. And, this strategy adds a lot of perceived value to these in-house professionals.
IBM’s Persico (an organizational learning consultant) concluded the session with a comment that applies to all of OE consultants who want to get to (and stay at) the top of the organization. He said, ?Previously, you were a learning professional who knew something about business. What will propel you forward is becoming a business person who knows something about learning.? Substitute the word ?learning? with ?effectiveness? and the comment applies to all of us!