It is not common to come across them. Most of the time they show as consultant or researchers, more rarely as coaches. They are far from acknowledging their true roles, themselves. They do not associate into bodies aimed at establishing their roles and profession, like executive coaches do. They do not establish schools, real schools, delivering training programs and “certifications”, or schools of thought bitterly battling over legitimation online and in journals. They do not populate established consultancy firms, where their skills might result into too much service intensity as opposed to a diffuse orientation to “products”, less brain intensity and more revenues…
They are the Corporate Sense makers, the new frontier of support to the emerging needs of business. They enjoy the freedom of thought of the Renaissence artists (Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, etc.) that allowed them to experiment out of the boundaries of established “canons” (from the Latin canon or “rule”).
But what’s in being a Corporate Sense maker?
Instead of taking care of a single manager like coaches do, Corporate Sense makers embrace the whole organizational environment. They observe, analyze, explore the environment and the relations taking place in it. They consider the hidden values and the background culture of the whole, as well as zooming in on the individuals they encounter. They are experts of what’s going on, not reporters of the simple as-is (the formal organization) or designers of an abstract to be. They focus on the whole, they embrace a holistic view of an organization and act as crafters. They reveal hidden patterns, discuss them with internal actors, and use discourse as a tool to craft a new level of comprehension of the organizational dynamics. There is not an established discipline to this, the process cannot be banalized and turned into to-do lists, like much coaching turned into being. It’s craftsmanship, based on experience sustained by the ability to question reality and search for its hidden meaning. It’s at the same time quantitative and qualitative, descriptive and normative, supportive and critical; it’s a flux, not an intervention that you can bring down to a detailed project.
Corporate Sense maker do not promise to be able to help you, insomuch that help should stem from the organization desire to change. They are different from consultants who affirm they will deliver results, and spend most of their (your, actually…) time trying to convince you they did. Corporate Sense maker might simply tell you, they cannot be of any helps after a couple of encounters. Their drive is not in the money you pay them (whose value appears high, but is actually a measure of commitment, not related to the benefices you might gain, that at times are invaluable), but in the very experience they have with a new setting, a new organization, a new executive room. They are eager to perceive, because perception is their endowment and every time they are allowed to exercise it they perceive fulfillment.
They consider the organization as a community, ranging through the different levels individuals, groups, organization with an apparently effortless approach. They are not the doctors, but the investigators. They have access to a broader set of instruments and tools, thanks to their training (research, theory, experience) and endowments (insight, meta communication, emotional intelligence, etc.), and they are able to reveal the cognitive traps of our organization, with the persona (i.e. in Jungian psychology, a personal facade that one presents to the world) to legitimize their view also with respect to overtly resisting executives. Many times, they prefer to abandon the setting when the organization has regained control over its own destiny, and that’s the time they cross at the doors with incoming consultants and coaches, whose role is invaluable, but only after the real issues have been identifies.
Want an example, an analogy of it all? My best guess is that a couple of Tv series provide a hint into this role, I refer to Medical Investigation and Lie to me. That’s for a hint, but if you want to give it a try, contact me.