Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises — II. The Consulting Challenge

Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises — II. The Consulting Challenge

Finally, the organizational psychologist is faced with the challenge of convincing his client that effective consulting services are often long term rather than being focused on a specific problem. It is hard to convince entrepreneurs that they need to think in terms of (and provide funding for) long-term consultation. Short-term consulting is rarely successful in closely held enterprises, for it is often hard for a psychologist to build trust in a closely held enterprise; yet, once the trust is established, the psychological engagement can be very productive—especially when it is long term.

We conclude by making use of a metaphor that we find helpful when consulting with the entrepreneurial leaders of closely held enterprises. This is the metaphor of “organizational anchors.” We often propose to our clients that they identify the anchors in their organization. Some organizational anchors resemble a bottom anchor. This is the traditional type of anchor that most of us think of when imagining someone anchoring a ship. The bottom anchor is very heavy and it sticks into the sand or mud at the bottom of the sea. A bottom anchor—often found in the formal rules, regulations, mission statement, policies and procedures of an organization–typically remains firmly in place regardless of the winds of change. We have found that successful entrepreneurs are rarely held in check by bottom anchors.

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William Bergquist

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant, professor in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 45 books, and president of a graduate school of psychology. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations. His graduate school (The Professional School of Psychology: www.psychology.edu) offers Master and Doctoral degrees in both clinical and organizational psychology to mature, accomplished adults.

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