Many futurists make their living as consultants, mostly as external consultants but even those working within a single organization may often find themselves in the role of an internal consultant. (For more on the internal futurist role, see “An Audit for Organizational Futurists.”) Yet we do precious little on teaching futurists how to be better consultants. One area where we tackle this need at the University of Houston Futures Studies Program. is in our capstone Seminar class. Last night’s class dealt with this consulting topic, and reminded and refreshed me on how much good thinking is out there, just waiting for us to use. We give students the option of choosing one of four books to read.
A key theme in all of these is the importance of building relationships. Each has its particular strengths. Block is really strong on process. Weiss is especially helpful on setting fees and building up a practice from the beginning, Maister is terrific on how to evolve from consultant to a “trusted advisor,” and Khalsa helps making selling palatable to those for whom it is typically note. As I went through my notes, I kept noting to myself, geez, I should be doing that! Nothing like teaching to help the “doing!” I highly recommend these four works, and welcome any additional suggestions. Andy Hines