A client we see is a senior manager, 35-55 years old, with more control over resources than capacity to process the complexity (replexity: rapid complexity). Such person acknowledges this problem.
Our differentiation is defined in terms of customer viewpoint. Differentiation in terms of this customer:
· Credibility/trust/belief in us:
· We won’t exploit the customer or the organisation, or make him/her look like a fool.
· We can make a practical difference; we are “pragmatic” and “practical”.
· We offer a different approach, that is new, a fresh view and approach.
· Our approach and views are sound and rigorous; makes logical sense.
· There is an impressive track record to back up these claims
· Likeability. We are acceptable and likeable people. This is a delicate point: Although we are different from alternative suppliers and even different from customer, we are acceptable, interesting and likeable people.
· Respect for our
· Wisdom/knowledge/insight/understanding & intellectual ability;
· Our empathy/respect and sympathy with her/his/their situation;
· Knowledge about business.
The above can be captured in the credo: Credible, impartial, and powerful.
What do we do to get this differentiation?
· We fundamentally believe that quality action is driven by the quality knowledge (mental models), which in turn is driven by the quality of the inquiry. We focus on the inquiry bit. Quality action is action that is appropriate, ethical and effective in the circumstances. Click here to see a presentation of these ideas.
· We have inquiry structures/frameworks that aid in framing situations/building practical knowledge, that are structured and rigorous, aids objectivity (inclusive subjectivity), impartiality (inclusive partiality), and creativity (which we interpret as making the same people see the same things differently and hence acting more appropriately). “I just see things differently”, to quote a famous client after asking him what the project achieved.
· Our approach is holistic and systemic in spirit, and we are humbled by the complexity in reality. We assume complexity and the limitations of all humans (especially our own) to process this adequately. We acknowledge our inquiry tools are inadequate when measured against real world complexity, but we know they are vastly better than that which is generally (not) used. We have the practical track record to demonstrate this.
· We help people empower themselves by building belief and confidence in their knowledge through quality in the inquiry, to let them discover their picture as opposed to puzzling over the pieces. We are enabling people to see their world better. We improve the ability of people to deal with their complexity and hence act more effectively.
· We assume complex social systems of which conversation design is a critical component. Inquiry design is a particular form of conversation design, and pathologies in the underlying conversations are at the root of collaborative projects failures.
· We help clients understand business problems; we do not sell solutions. In this we aid people to process complexity more effectively to get to appropriate action. We build self-reliance in this; we do not do it for you.
· We focus not on acting (hire Andersons) but on thinking; enabling the inquiry, that is the packaging of useful knowledge. “Think like a person of action, act like a person of thought” (John S Mill) is a credo we like.
Some other credos that capture how we work:
· Think before acting; hire us to help you think it through better.
· Have the inquiry before the success (as opposed to having the inquest after the failure).
· We build minds, not sell bodies.
· We sell (better) minds, not action.
· Let us sleep on it for you … but we do not accept your problem.
· We don’t buy your problems; don’t buy your solutions from us.
· Hire us to find you more difficult questions.
This site was last updated 10/16/06