Thursday, September 25, 2008

Twenty-Eighth DATC Junto

Folsom Stadium, Room 367 | Thursday, October 9th from 11:00 to 12:30.

Hi everyone for our 2008 Junto, let's read the first three chapters of the book, The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully by Gerald M. Weinberg. Dorsett House Publishing, New York, NY. 1985.

Here are some questions to guide our discussion

  • Chapter 1: Why Consulting is So Tough
    • Which of Weinberg's laws ring true for you in your work if you substitute the term "DATC work" for "consulting."
    • Do you agree that the kinds of problems you encounter at work are always people problems?
    • Do you agree that it's a good idea to "never promise more than ten percent improvement?"
    • Do you have experience in your DATC role with this phrase, "you'll never accomplish anything if you care who gets the credit?"
    • Do you practice the "art of influencing people at their request?" How?
    • In your experience, does the Law of Raspberry Jam apply to you? Does it apply to the quality of your work with faculty vs. your reach into the faculty? What strategies can you employ to find the right balance in that dichotomy? Does the Law of Raspberry Jam show up in our DATC metrics?
    • Is your work with faculty like Weinberg's work in that once you eliminate the number one problem, number two shows up? If so, how do you manage that situation
  • Chapter 2: Cultivating a Paradoxical Frame of Mind
    • What paradoxes, dilemas, or contradictions have you experienced in your work as a DATC?
    • When you work with faculty members who are stuck, what strategies help you get them unstuck?
    • Do you encounter tradeoffs between two good outcomes: one at the expense of the other? Weinberg gave the example of the tradeoff between running fast over a short distance vs. running slow over a long distance.
      • Do you encounter a tradeoff in having deep domain or technology knowledge in some areas vs. broad domain or technology knowledge? How do you manage this?
      • Do you encounter satisficing in your daily work? Satisficing is doing enough to be satisfactory or to suffice, but not optimum work.
    • How does the discrepancy in risk between your work with faculty and faculty implementing your recommendations play out in your work with faculty? That is, your risk of failure in making a recommendation is different than the risk of a faculty member failing when implementing your recommendation. How do you deal with that in your work with faculty?
    • Have you ever had to employ Weinberg's strategy of responding to a request with "I can help you do this, and this is how much it will cost?" Cost here might not necessarily mean financial, but it could be expressed in terms of time and energy.
  • Chapter 3: Being Effective When You Don't Know What You are Doing
    • As a DATC, do you find yourself recommending a "do no harm" approach more often, than some other approach? If so, how has that worked for you?

Here is a cartoon about consulting that you might find funny.


Doris said...

I read the 3 chapters the weekend of September 12th and returned the book to Mark on the 15th.

Steve B said...

I have my copy still, but have yet to read. I'm going to share it with Mark Gammon in the meantime.