Contrary to what we’ve all heard, familiarity does not breed contempt. In fact, familiarity can provide clarity and focus to everything you do, particularly when it comes to working with a facilitator or consultant. Let me explain.
The clients that I have been working with for several years are the ones who often seem to get the biggest benefit from my services. It happens in part because we’ve been working together in one way or another long enough learn each others strengths, weaknesses, and biases.
The result is that they understand what I bring to their organization, I understand where they are interested in going, and we are both committed to finding a way to get them there. Perhaps more important, we have a level of mutual respect and trust that allows us to go much deeper in our work than would be possible if it were not for our long history together.
In short, the familiarity that we have developed by working together over time continually creates more value for the credit union because:
1. We Engage in Candid Dialogue. As the relationship deepens between your planning team and your facilitator, the nature of the dialogue changes. Cursory discussions give way to meaningful dialogue, casual observations evolve into valuable insights, and probing questions reveal powerful solutions.
2. We Share a Mutual Commitment. As familiarity increases, the inherent symbiotic nature of the relationship emerges. The consultant’s commitment shifts from trying to satisfy expectations to helping you build your organization. The planning team stops trying to defend the past and allows the process to guide them toward genuine strategic decision making, and with everyone committed to creating positive outcomes, decisions are reached more quickly whenever we come together.
3. We Maintain a Shared Focus. In the early stages of any relationship there is a sort of tug-of-war between the two parties. Each side seems to be initially focused on protecting its perspectives and defending its positions. But as the two become more familiar, a shared focus evolves that is a a combination of the individual perspectives, and the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.
ACTION ADVICE: If you are interested in growing you credit union, there is value in developing longer term relationships with facilitators and consultants who can help you. The candid dialogue, mutual commitment, and shared focus that emerge with familiarity can catapult your planning efforts to new heights and your credit union to unforeseen levels of success!