Are you an Insultant or a Consultant?
June 27, 2006
Psychoanalyst and Management Guru Manfred Kets de Vries was one of the plenary speakers at the ISPSO Symposium in Haarlem and he spoke about the role of the consultant in asking critical questions of clients. At one point he said he now describes himself as an “Insultant” rather than a “Consultant”. After I’d finished chuckling at the expression I realised that there’s more than a grain of truth in that if we are to be honest sometimes about what we do.
I think what he was really getting at (and this is certainly my interpretation) is that we can’t afford to be too compliant. Our role is to stand outside the system while actively contributing to it and to question, question, question. Sometimes we have to challenge and say the unsayable and that can often be “insulting” in so far as we dare to question the status quo or how things are always done around here.
I don’t think he (or indeed, I) is advocating being rude or insulting in the traditional sense of the word but there’s much to think about in being an “insultant” don’t you think?