“I don’t think the word ‘consultants’ adequately expresses what we do.”
“That may be true, but what does it matter if potential clients can’t find us? Who is going to google ‘practitioners?’”
Thus began Arboreta Group’s internal debate about what to name ourselves. To most of us, dealing with consultants had been a mixed bag. In some instances they offered clarity, provided guidance and helped move our respective organizations to the next level. Many didn’t. Although we found their specific expertise useful, too many times we were left feeling annoyed, frustrated and burdened by the experience.
I thought back to my days as an executive director at a small, faith-based nonprofit and my often prickly relationship with consultants. The exchanges typically went like this:
Consultant: “You have X problem.”
Me: “Yes, I know.”
Consultant: “The causes of this problem are A, B, and C.”
Me: “Umm…I thought A and B were the causes, but I didn’t know about C. That’s good to know.” (Mentally putting C on my growing list of things to do and beginning to feel tired already.)
Consultant: “Here are some more pressing reasons why X is a problem.”
Me: “I believe you, what do you suggest?” (The problem begins to move up on my growing list of things to do.)
Consultant: “I can provide you with a strategy on how to fix it.”
Me: “That would be helpful. How much will that cost?” (At this point I’m thinking about my agency’s cash-flow projections and payroll needs.)
Consultant: “This much.”
Me: “Let me make sure I understand: the cost is for the list that you will provide, but my staff will need to implement your suggestions?” (At this point I’m hoping that the consultant will correct me, because I know my staff is stretched thin and I may have a mutiny if I put one more thing on their plates.)
Consultant: “Basically, yes.”
Me: “I appreciate your time, and when I have Z resources I’ll get back to you.” (My hopes are dashed.)
I rarely felt good after meeting with a consultant. While I valued their expertise and information, it was with the implementation part, the “getting it done,” that I truly needed the most help.
It’s for this expressed need that the Arboreta Group came to be. We provide Instant Capacity. Along with the consultations, we can provide the help. We’ll give as little or as much as you need, with the underlying purpose of boosting your organization to the next level, without you becoming dependent on us.
Our purpose is to help you fulfill your purpose.
This is why we choose to call ourselves “practitioners.” We practice our respective crafts alongside you to the extent you need. While we can offer clarity on your problems, we can also help you fix them. We do this by offering consultations grounded in the day-to-day realities of your organization, with the resources that put your goals into place.
We’d like to start a relationship with you. Please join our list and receive our email newsletter. I promise that it will be full of helpful links, inspiring case histories and concrete suggestions about how you can make your organization stronger, more vibrant, and effective in your communities.