For fellow bibliophiles and friends:


Deutschwörtervergnügen is the "pleasure of German words," particularly those that embrace German's compound word elegance to generate "simple" ways of expressing otherwise ill defined aspects of the human condition. For example, I am almost daily oppressed by an anxiety I should write the great American novel or some other epic thing; surely that's in me somewhere, right?


The German language may suggest my condition or malaise is possibly something like, "Grossenromanschreibenschermzen" or "large/great novel writing pain." I, of course, made that up from my past German experience and Google Translate -- I am sure the actual German word for this exists, and is much more elegant than what I've thrown together here.


The other Axis power (!) also has something of an edge here to contribute. In reading and studying up on finding literary agents, I discovered "Tsundoku," or the piling up of never-will-be-read books. Tsundoku's fateful cousin is of course, addiction. And what is addiction, it is an irrational expression of one attempting to free themselves from some sort of pain. I found the word embedded in ever-oppressive marketing logic -- otherwise why would one "operationalize" this word in English and American culture, right? ...the reason this word might enter the Anglo's lexicon is not necessarily "simply" to enjoy the nuance of Japanese language and culture, but rather one must work to pierce this pile of books in one's own marketing and writing, otherwise, why bother writing and publishing?


Don't get me wrong, I understand writers need to market and sell books to earn a living. The torment I feel between making money from art -- and how hard one has to work to get there -- versus simply doing the thing, is real...what's the German word for that?

I am rereading Edgar Schein's Process Consulting vol. 1 from 1988 found here on Amazon. Unfortunately, this great text is $45 for a new copy. Despite its high cost, it's easily one of the best guides to leadership and consulting I've found, and I use his methods in Even Motionamp. Expansions on his core text are his vol. 2, and the more recent Humble Inquiry and Consulting guides.


Schein is very much a mainstream business guru. Known for his Iceberg model and work in organizational culture, this long tenured MIT professor focuses on "helping" in his consulting approach. "Helping" has evolved as a more precise term for Schein's techniques; as 1990s era Lean and Six Sigma reoriented "process" to mean more (at least notionally) mathematical approaches to consulting, Schein has worked to keep consulting as a broader and more collaborative concept. Schein's main focus is in joint work of all kinds with his clients. Much of this is interpersonal and psychological in nature. In future work, I aim to reconcile Schein's helping approach with Critical Performativity tensions discussed in Critical Management Studies.


In Schein's helping approach, the client and consultant work together to conduct joint diagnoses of organizational challenges, and construct joint solutions. The consultant's job is not necessarily to provide expert advice the organization lacks, but rather facilitate the discovery of problems and solutions that, for a variety of reasons ranging from leadership to cultural challenges, the organization struggles to solve on its own.


In my consulting, I avoid doctor/patient and expertise models of consulting that are more prevalent. These methods usually result in defensive clients who ultimately reject proposed solutions -- they don't own the ideas. Joint work however, using Schein's model, promotes a healthy client/consultant relationship which can endure through a variety of improvement and growth projects.

1
2

anti-copyright 2020 Brian Wierman / Creative Commons / What is anti-copyright?