Konstantin Y. Smolentsev
Ph.D., the Academician of IIA, ÑÌÑ
Chairman of Board of directors
IC “SMOLENTSEV & Partners”
Who are you Consultant?
Who am I – a Consultant? A Consultant… CONSULTANT!
Do you remember Voland from Bulgakov “Master and Margarita”? How did he present himself? As a Consultant!
Who inquired for the Master? Ieshua. Who did he ask? A Devil-consultant. Why did he? Because the Master DESERVED REST, but Ieshua couldn’t take him in his Kingdom…
What role did a Consultant play in business and destiny of the Master – Organization Manager? We’re not interested in cases, when ordinary consultants get into Master’s organization to solve local problems on a middle manager level. We’re interested in the relationship between a Consultant and the master.
For many years I’ve been a top-manager of organizations of different profiles and I didn’t ever use services of a consultant. Why? Good question! Maybe because, when looking in the eyes of a person across, I would ask myself: “What can this person bring into my organization, that I and my people cant? What knowledge and skills can he give to my employees and ME?” And something was always between us. Something that couldn’t be formulated, but played not on a Consultant’s side.
What was that, I ask myself today? I ask that today, because my destiny turned out to be a Consultant. Maybe because I work with first managers and shareholders, I’m interested in, first of all, aspects: HOW DO WE FIND EACHOTHER? WHAT HOLDS US TOGETHER FOR A LONG TIME? Until the moment when the Master DESERVED some REST for a while.
Knowledge? It is rare when the Master is less educated then a Consultant, well maybe in some management technologies or narrowly specialized questions.
Erudition? Depends on a person, not on a profession.
Skills? It’s not easy to give something to a person who manages people every day.
Spiritual manuals? I immediately remember the phrase: “Don’t teach me how to live, support is better”.
Can you live without a Consultant? I guess, yes. Then why does HE need ME? Why does he, strong, erudite, skilful, knowing, self-sufficient and who achieved a lot in his life person need me? Why at some point of his life he cannot be without me? Why did all governors of all times needed an adviser? Why were consigliore were the most important people in the Italian mafia? And how Puzo noted: “…not one trace (read risks, threats. Author’s remark) could lead to the top, to the head of the family. Only with one condition. If consigliore will not betray.”
FORCE WEAKNESS. Master is a Master, because there are no other Masters that could be compared to him, more often. There foremen, apprentice, handicraftsmen… Masters – are rare large diamonds in tons of simple rock. Is there anyone stranger than the strongest, will the nature of business endure that? But who doesn’t make mistakes in their lives? And who better than the Master understands the price of a mistake.
And here came the understanding of a place and role of a Consultant in the destiny of the Master. In a destiny, because business is a destiny of the Master.
A CONSULTANT ENTERS FROM THE BUSINESS SIDE OF THE MASTER, BUT EXITS FROM THE SIDE OF HIS DESTINY…
One Master, the key shareholder and a General Director of a holding, with which we successfully completed many months of cooperation, heavily sighed: “Everything’s great! But who’s going to be my hidden point of support, who can I consult with now, who will be THAT silent right near with me!?”
And silence is not the main reason. Although to silently listen to the Master means to give him an opportunity to approve his idea, to HEAR IT HIMSELF. To value what was heard. You have to know how to be silent too. “Listen to the silence” – Margarita told the Master.
“You leave and there’s something missing!” – said the Master. “You appear and everything seems to get better. It GETS EASIER!” Addiction? No. It feels like a burden for a strong person and that’s why impossible in the relationship between a Consultant and the Master. Support! That’s the main thing! The Master holds destinies of his closest people, all his organization, destinies of those “kind people” that “HE tamed” on his shoulders. Those, “who he is responsible for”. And no one understands better this phrase of Écsouperie. But someone has to support the Master!? Without a Consultant there are going to be "well-wishers", charlatans, fortunetellers, magicians. Nature doesn’t take emptiness. A piously place cannot be empty.
To ask a question? One, two, three, four, five… Who will take the risk to take the Master to the “boiling point” and will help to open eyes on his hidden motives, on his composite, twisted, concrete from the whole world “I”?
What about saying in the eyes: “You are wrong, Master!”? Not every organization has a secret society of employees – potential candidates for dismissal.
“Then how should I act?” – Master’s question to the Consultant. Moment de vérité. Probable success counted and based on knowledge, intuition, own or another’s experience or maybe having a sin? There are no variants. Most truly, there is only one variant. If you are a Consultant.
And you exchange. Exchange in phrases, jokes, knowledge, thoughts, habits. Exchange a part of your souls.
But a Consultant leaves. He has to leave. Other Masters are waiting for him. End very one of them will give him a part of his soul. Voluntary. Forever.
AND HE WILL TAKE THEM TO HIS CONSULTANT KINGDOM.
AND AS AN AXCHANGE WILL GIVE THE MASTER HIS PEACE.
E-xecutive, May 29, 2006
Russian School of Management, June, 2006
Dear Konstantin Yurievich, hello!
I read your article and want to share my thoughts.
My name is Kulemzina Olga, I am engaged in personnel consulting, working in a company “You+Us” in Tomsk.
I doubt there are people who possess absolute knowledge. Everyone lives and works in their own world, their own space (and there are some limits to that): Consultant – in a world of opportunities, Master – in a world of realized actions. Really, what can you teach a person, Master, who makes decisions on a daily basis, which lead his organization to successes? How, in this case, Consultant can be helpful to Master? In a way that Consultant has his own world, most probably, different from Master’s world, but with the help of which Master can “complete” his world to a whole. It’s not two professionals who are meeting, but two outlooks, each one of which can be useful for the other one. Mutual enrichment is the best result. How to receive that, what does the Consultant has to do?
- be silent – to hear better “what about and how” does the Master’s world sound;
- understand – to ask a proper question in the right time;
- ask question – for the Master to widen them, complete his world with something that is not habitual;
- talk. One client-Master once said: “talk, so I can hear myself better”.
This was formed on a basis of many years of observing and thinking about questions, raised by You.
With respect, Olga Kulemzina
HF "YOU+US" Ltd.,
Tomsk, June 7th, 2006
I have met, offered by You, a metaphor of interaction of the client (Master) and consultant (Consultant). Mostly, I agree with you, sensations are similar. However, if we talk about meeting the Master within the limits of a consulting project, then we have never met God and there are no limits for perfection, and usefulness of such dialogues with Master consists of not only active, all-forgiving ability to listen, but also reflection of what was heard in a different foreshortening, completing up to a Whole.
Moreover, how do we find each other? In my opinion, we find each other when our paths cross. Through similar sounds of our ideas? Through same questions. For example, I would be working on theoretical models of a new method or technology, and simultaneously a Master would appear with his questions and thoughts, that would help me make my method more concrete. This is concerning pre-consulting work.
And something else. Weakness in Power. Such condition of Mater, which is hard to overcome. Remaining a completely normal person on the outside, he is like a Minotaur. Rushes forward, pushing away everything that is on his way: people, relationships, visible opportunities. There is fear all around him. Alarm, indifference. That is why question of spirituality is not a “drive though” and not useless.
I.V. Nevraeva – certified consultant (CMC)
Tomsk, June 6th, 2006.
Good day to you, Modest Author. Or better, in this case (only in this) – Master? :) Our roles are many-sided…
I REALLY liked the article. Not just “liked”, but liked A Lot, A LOT! And the language it was written with – I understand such language of metaphors the most, and the context. Everything. Simply great.
I even seemed to me, that the article can become an introduction and basis for the big book. It can be oriented on… well here are a couple of options. And for consultants, or those, who wants to become one (however, can you become Voland? He is one… But he agitates, agitates so much! That’s concerning power and uniqueness… :)) – in this case it will be guidance to actions. And for heads, Masters – do you need Voland, is it the “right” Consultant, how to find him, what criteria to use to understand, that this is it, its time!
Who needs to read this article? Everyone, who is in such way or the other related to themes specified in context! That’s why it will always find a reader. In the end, its just INTERESTING, not too complicated, however, maybe at first sight, looks a little categorical. But even such sharpness and unwillingness to compromise is in the spirit of the Great Dark… Diffident will be pushed away, strong ones will be motivated. “Natural selection” will help.
Director of the School of Management FPA
Moscow, May 18th, 2006.