Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Fresh Face Behavior Pattern

AKA the "That's what we've been saying the whole time!" pattern.

This is another pattern that is commonly experienced in consulting engagements.  It's the situation where the existing staff knows what the source of a problem is, but haven't been able to communicate it effectively, or haven't been able to get management to take action on their recommendation. I've been on both sides of the equation.  It's fun to experience when you're the shiny new toy (the consultant), and is equally un-fun when you're the old hag being ignored (the current staff).

Not to be confused with open, honest communication in a trusting environment where all parties simply want some validation or a second set of eyes to examine a tough problem.  This behavioral pattern is usually accompanied by a dysfunctional vibe where the existing management staff doesn't trust the people tasked to do the work.  The reason might be because the staff is under-qualified, or the management isn't delegating properly.  If the reason for the problem is under-qualified staff, the best outcome is that the consultant can train or mentor the staff into becoming qualified for the problem domain.  If the reason for the problem is due to lack of management trust regardless of qualifications, then the problem will repeat itself unless the management can establish a better relationship with the staff.  We're talking some serious therapy!  But as a consultant, I'm in no hurry to recommend this any time soon. :)