caleb-george-144975-unsplash (1)Maybe you’re frustrated with the way your staff interacts. Maybe you’re wondering how your workgroup will get the current project underway on top of an already excessive workload. Maybe you’ve thought about hiring an outside facilitator, but you have misgivings about doing so. How do you decide if now is the right time to seek outside help?

Many years ago, I sat in a Sacramento county office face-to-face with a deputy sheriff and a mental health professional. I had asked to speak privately to them at a crossroads in my life. “I’ve decided to leave the relationship,” I said. The deputy and counselor each sat forward in their chairs and began to give me recommendations on how to leave in a manner that protected my children and myself.

The counselor concluded with the following advice. “This is just the first step…the hard work comes next. Seek counseling for yourself and your kids.” I believed the truth of this and knew I would follow his advice. I was a right-fit client for three reasons.

1.  Need

Sitting in that county office, I had a serious problem to solve. Clients who are ready for Flow’s services have a problem that a workgroup needs to solve. It could be how to diminish ambiguity of a new project or alleviate threats to an existing project. It could be costly logjams related to a workflow. It could be any problem that has caused you to scratch your head and ask, “What do we do about this?”

It’s possible you aren’t sure what the problem is and that’s the problem. That’s OK. The first consultation with Flow helps clarify the specific problem you face. Sometimes, it’s not the problem you initially think you have. During a first consultation with an IT chief, she discovered what really needed attention at that time and we agreed facilitation was not the best course of action. The consultation conversation gives the benefit of clarity to the client. Clarity saves a lot of time and effort and thus, saves money.

2.  Vision

alexander-ramsey-274193-unsplash (1)The day I shared my decision with the deputy and counselor, I saw that a different path was possible. It didn’t matter that I had no clue what the road map looked like. I knew that the path existed.

Not all workgroups have a vision of a different future. The status quo is all that’s known to them. But the right-fit client believes in another possibility. A director of an oversight unit approached me about his workgroup because he had experienced the pain of the current group’s dynamic. It was also negatively affecting his workgroup’s reputation in the organization. He knew another path was possible and together we created a roadmap for the new path.

I’ve encountered other groups that hold to the status quo even when members complain about it. Sometimes the status quo remains attractive because it works; maybe not well for all members or from an outsider’s perspective, but for the members with the power of authority, it works the way they like it.

I have found that right-fit clients come with a vision that a different path is possible and a desire to approach it. For these clients, I affirm rather than convince that yes, another path is possible.

3.  Willingness to Accept Help

Years before my conversation with the deputy and counselor, I had seen a counselor but bailed on therapy after the first visit. I wasn’t ready to accept help from an outsider. It felt too threatening. But when I arrived at the crossroads with a different vision, I felt a strong desire to accept help. I wanted help to learn to navigate the new pathway. Right-fit clients have a desire to accept help as they learn to navigate a new pathway. It’s not threatening. It’s an adventure with a safety net of support.

If some of this resonates with you and you have questions, Flow welcomes your phone call or email. Or leave a message on the Flow website. Let’s talk. A conversation is always the place to start.