I must send another thanks to Tony Karrer, for Tweeting me this article this morning. The writer describes a project he was once a consultant on, where his unconscious interjection of his concept of the "perfect" solution and its related characteristics colored what he provided the customer. In the end he says, his solution did not function as fully as expected because he didn't initially realize his perspective colored his work.
To resolve the problem, the writer switched modes from simple solution provider to a facilitator, helping the customer see how they can have a hand in the process, and understand and help solve the problem concurrently.
My studies this quarter have been focusing on the art of facilitation, and this article by Peter Bregman I think is a wonderful example of how performance consultants can and should facilitate properly. The core lesson of the piece is that we are all coming into a project with either an individual or small group perspective that can very easily color the work we do for others. It's a salient point, and one that has been driven home over the course of my own work and studies, particularly in courses dealing with research and the proper conduct of it. Bergman's anecdote is especially instructive because it shows the process of "letting go" of having to control all the details in a given project (which is a part of facilitation - helping the customer or members realize possibilities), and truly collaborating to find the right solution. As he demonstrates, often times a solution is not as "perfect" as we conceive it must be, but nevertheless it ends up being more correct - and more effective - than we would allow ourselves to consider.