Smarter Consultants Learn to Unlearn

by Jay Deragon on 09/10/2013

peter-drucker-businessman-my-greatest-strength-as-a-consultant-is-toConsultants come in many sizes, disciplines and “degrees”. Most have advanced degrees and/or certifications from educational institutions indicating they have successfully completed, or graduated from institutions of formal education in fields such as finance, management, education, technology and a host of other knowledge domains.

Most of the top consulting firms look to hire the smartest students from the best schools. While others look to hire consultants with the most experience in their fields.

There are consultants for any knowledge domain a business desires and there are trade groups and associations acting as governing bodies to oversee certifications of standards and ongoing educational requirements to keep knowledge current and competencies fresh.

So the traditional “system” for producing smart consultants and maintaining their smarts are based on  traditional models of education, ongoing certification and standards of knowledge.  The issue is whether this “system” is adequate enough to keep the knowledge and competencies of  participants  current with the disruptive changes of the 21st century.

Standards, What Standards?

In a marketplace filled with constant disruption it would seem that the only standard is disruption.  Are today’s consultants equipped with relevant knowledge to help when the majority of organizations facing challenges or even struggling right now with how the technological landscapes are changing business models, organizational designs, power structures and learning models?

What is happening is nothing short of a broad disruption—even winning organizations face an innovator’s dilemma in how to develop new products and services, organize their efforts, and communicate with customers, partners, and even within their own organizations. This disruption is driven by technology, and is not just about the products a company makes or services offered, but also about the very nature of business as usual.  Old knowledge and traditional competencies work for things that are usual not unusual.

Knowledge is dynamic not static. Information technology is at the heart of changes, just as it was in the knowledge era. Every two days we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until  2003, according to Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. This is such a fundamental shift in the availability of information that it changes everything in how information is collected, shared, and put to use. It changes everything about the tools used to create, analyze, synthesize, and share information in real-time not man power time.  It changes everything about how, what and where we learn to gain new knowledge to put to use. It’s about learning and applying knowledge about the intangibles that we didn’t have before and doing so efficiently and effectively.

Smarter Consultants Learn to Unlearn to Teach

In order to learn to think differently you have to unlearn the way you were thinking before.

Consultants have used problem solving models based on data collection, research, analysis, and synthesis. They’ve applied critical thinking and knowledge gained from education, experience and skills to the creation of solutions for clients.  They help clients carry out said solutions using and transferring their own knowledge and skills sets internally. But in today’s environment that is simply not enough value and not fast enough execution in a marketplace moving at the speed of light.

Smarter Consultants help organizations learn to unlearn by teaching them what really matters isn’t what used to matter. Today we are learning to unlearn faster and there is no graduation at the end of the day there is just more efficient and effective ways to unlearn.

Smarter consultants learn to unlearn so they can teach organizations what they need to learn to thrive.

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