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Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-470-62074-8
370 pages
March 2011, ©2010, Pfeiffer
Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used, 3rd Edition (0470620749) cover image
This Third Edition to Peter Block's Flawless Consulting addresses business changes and new challenges since the second edition was written ten years ago. It tackles the challenges next-generation consultants face, including more guidance on how to ask better questions, dealing with difficult clients, working in an increasingly virtual world, how to cope with complexities in international consulting, case studies, and guidelines on implementation. Also included are illustrative examples and exercises to help you cement the guides offered.
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What's New.

1 A Consultant by Any Other Name . . .

Some Definitions and Distinctions.

Consulting Skills Preview.

The Promise of Flawless Consultation.

2 Techniques Are Not Enough.

Beyond Content.

The Consultant's Assumptions.

The Consultant's Goals.

Roles Consultants Choose.

Collaboration and the Fear of Holding Hands.

Stating the Client's Involvement––Step by Step.

Checklist # 1. Assessing the Balance of Responsibility.

3 Flawless Consulting.

Being Authentic.

Completing the Requirements of Each Phase.



The Right to Fail.

4 Contracting Overview.

Contracting––The Concept and the Skill.

Contracting Skills.

Elements of a Contract.

Checklist # 2. Analyzing One of Your Contracts.

Ground Rules for Contracting.

5 The Contracting Meeting.

Who Is the Client?

Navigating the Contracting Meeting.

When You Get Stuck.

The Problem with Saying No.

Contracting Checkpoint.

Checklist #3. Planning a Contracting Meeting.

Selling Your Services––Good Selling Is Good Contracting.

The Meeting As a Model of How You Work.

Closing the Contracting Meeting.

After the Contracting Meeting.

Checklist # 4. Reviewing the Contracting Meeting.

6 The Agonies of Contracting.

Dealing with Low Motivation.

Ceaselsss Negotiation––The Shifting Tide of Your Role.

Some Other Specific Agonies.

The Virtual World.

7 The Internal Consultant.

Important Differences between Internal and Externam Consultants.

Triangles and Rectangles.

8 Understanding Resistance.

The Faces of Resistance.

What Are Clients Resisting When They Are Resisting Us?

Underlying Concerns.

Sometimes It Is Not Resistance.

The Fear and the Wish.

Ogres and Angels.

. . .And Heroics.

9 Dealing with Resistance.

Three Steps.

Don't Take It Personally.

Good Faith Responses.

Consulting with a Stone.

10 From Diagnosis to Discovery.

It Is Still the Relationship That Counts.

The Call to Action.

The Problem Is Not the Problem.

How the Problem Is Being Managed.

Flawless Discovery. 11 Whole System Discovery.

Third-Party Consulting.

Takng a Whole-System Approach.

Putting Whole-System Discovery to Work.

The Payoff.

12 Discovering Gifts, Capacities and Possibilities.

When All Else Fails.

The Power of Positive Deviance.

The Implications for Consulting.

An Example of What Is Working.

13 Get the Picture.

The Steps in Getting the Picture.

A Word about Bias.

Assessing How the Situation Is Being Managed.

The Discovery Interview.

Levels of Analysis.

Your Experience As Data.

Checklist # 5. Planning a Discovery Meeting.

Checklist # 6. Reviewing the Discovery Meeting.

14 Preparing for Feedback.

A Clear Picture May Be Enough.

Condensing the Data.

Some Do's and Don'ts.

Language in Giving the Picture.

Presenting the Picture . . . As Courtroom Drama.

Support and Confrontation.

15 Managing the Meeting for Action.

How to Present the Picture.

Structuring the Meeting.

The Meeting for Action––Step by Step.

A Recap.

Resistance in the Meeting.

Checklist # 7. Planning a Meeting For Action.

When the Group Is at Odds among Themselves.

Checklist # 8. Reviewing the Meeting.

Modeling the Meeting.

16 Implementation.

Choosing Engagement over Installation.

Deciding Doesn't Get It Done.

The Case Against Installation.

Betting on Engagement.

17 Elements of Engagement.

The Meeting Is the Message.

Eight Ways to Engage.

The Point.

Checklist # 9. Preparing for Implementation.

Checklist # 10. Reviewing an Implementation Event.

18 Consultant As Teacher.

The Story.

Assumptions about Motivating Students.

The Reality.

Taking a Consultant's Stance.

The Trip to Washington, DC.

The Choice in the Matter.

19 The Heart of the Matter.

Choosing Learning over Teaching.

Learning As a Social Adventure.

The Struggle Is the Solution.

The Question Is More Important Than the Answer.

Beyond How.

Insight Resides in Moments of Tension.

Capacities Bear More Fruit Than Deficiencies.

We Are Responsible for One Another's Learning.

Culture Changes in the Moment.

If Change Is So Wonderful, Why Don't You Go First?

The Final Question Is One of Faith.
Suggestions for Further Reading.


About the Author.

About Designed Learning.


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Peter Block is an author and consultant whose work is about empowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and the reconciliation of community. He is the author of several best-selling books, including the first two editions of Flawless Consulting, Stewardship, Community, and The Empowered Manager. He is a partner in Designed Learning, a training company that offers his personally designed workshops that help to build the skills outlined in his books.

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March 08, 2011
Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used

San Francisco, CA – Our lives are full of profound uncertainty. Permanent vulnerability and uncertainty demand a level of relatedness and thus makes command and control behavior increasingly obsolete. For these reasons, people are functioning more than ever in a consultative stance.

It's been nearly 25 years since Peter Block's FLAWLESS CONSULTING was first published. The book quickly established itself as the "consultant's bible" and became a landmark bestseller that astutely explained how to deal effectively with clients, peers, and others.

This thoroughly revised third edition of FLAWLESS CONSULTING: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used (Jossey-Bass; 978-0-470-62074-8; March 2011) by Peter Block explores the latest thinking on consultation. It includes new insights about how we can organize our consulting around discovering the strengths, positive examples, and gifts of the client organization or community. The book remains a practical and specific guide for anyone who needs to develop a capacity for deeper relatedness and partnership.  

FLAWLESS CONSULTING not only addresses business changes and new challenges since the second edition was written 10 years ago, but also addresses what's on the minds of "next generation" consultants, including:

  • More guidance on how to ask better questions
  • Dealing with a difficult client
  • Working in an increasingly virtual world
  • Dealing with challenges with international consulting
  • More guidelines on implementation
  • More on how to ask good questions
  • Additional case studies

Like the first two editions, FLAWLESS CONSULTING affirms the notion that authentic behavior and personal relationships are the key to business success. By demonstrating their ability to be truly authentic at each step in the process, consultants can aim toward creating workplaces that are more collaborative and ultimately more successful.


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Instructors Resources
Wiley Instructor Companion Site
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Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used, 3rd Edition (US $58.00)

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