Friday, January 7, 2011

Getting to Know The Unconventional Consultant

For the last six months, I've immersed this blog in a lot of theory and reference points that support my ideas for creating value and purpose within organizations.
It's exciting stuff to me, but also obscures who I am, what I am about,  why I am passionate about what it is I want to do, and where I am currently at in doing what I want to do.
Today, as part of a shift in how I am developing my consulting practice, I'm going to tell you more about myself, what it is I want to do, why I am doing it!

My long term mission is to play as large a role as I possibly can to create the world we are heading towards. Transforming you, transforming people, transforming organizations, transforming the world is what I have on my business card. It's a large, long audacious journey and that is part of what I love about it!

While I have spent the better part of fifteen years developing, learning, and putting together what I call my 'three pillars' (systems thinking, organizational learning, deep social media) approach to creative adaptive change in people and organizations, I also continued to support myself as a carpenter in the exciting and competitive world of custom home building. As of this day, I still continue to support myself as a carpenter (working for G Wilson Construction one of Vancouver's premier custom home builders).

Developing a consulting practice while building custom homes brings with it a wealth of real world experience that I take with me.
For starters, I know first hand just how difficult it is to create meaningful change. Going from a career as carpenter/home builder to that of a change consultant is a huge step! What keeps me motivated to do so is a very deep seated belief in what I am doing.
When I talk about employee motivation, I understand it from my own real world experiences. Building homes under often difficult climate conditions, with challenging designs and structural issues, with schedules and budgets always in the forefront, for clients and architects that expect the best requires a range of ways to keep the crew on track and in the game. The same challenges most companies and organizations face, on larger scales. 
The roles I have played over the years, gives me deep insight to the nature of challenges for all the different interests involved. Building a home is an orchestration of the efforts and incentives of the general contractor, the carpentry crew, the home owners/clients, architects, engineers, designers, dozens of trades people and sub-trades, thousands of parts and materials, suppliers and even neighbours! While the ultimate goal is the home the clients dream about, keeping all the varying players and interests aligned is much more challenging than many realize.
It's a challenging--and very rewarding--work environment that has provided and proven an invaluable field lab for me to develop my own thinking and philosophies that would become the backbone of my consulting practice ideas.

None the less, taking the steps from the world of home building to that of consulting and creating the kind of transformational change I want to develop in people and organizations have also proven to be far more challenging than I already thought they'd be! It's a constant reminder of the challenges the people and organizations will have that I hope to transform! This creates a beautiful dynamic tension between daunting and exciting challenge!

What Is The Pay Off?

There are few greater joys than standing back with the home owners as you all admire the home you've just completed for them.
While the pay-offs for change consulting might not be as concrete (literally, that is!), with the establishment of clear metrics, we should be able to capture the joys of transformation.
With the astonishing change society and business has gone through and witnessed since the advent of the internet, the disruptions it and other macro trends have brought have created a staggering amount of challenges and opportunity. Just knowing I have positioned myself to help society, organizations and people manage and create the changes they need to adapt and take advantage of the opportunities is a powerful motivator!

What can the outcomes look like? What does the world we want to create look like?
We live in a world where we understand what motivates us, and keeps us interested and productive in the means in which we earn a living. We have meaningful and trusted relationships between the organizations, corporations and governments and the people--your customers and constituents--on which you depend and serve. We live in a world where value is constantly created by the interwoven feedback loops that exist between the consumer and constituents, and that of business and government. We live in a world where people are the greatest assets. We live in a world where we have a deeper and broader understanding of the kind of society and environment we need to maintain the sustainability where business, people, all living things and our governance can thrive. We live in a world where win-win relationships triumph over that of zero-sum strategies and the waste of personal greed.
It's a world where we still crown and admire champions in life, business and sport, and we all win in the process. 

When you fully embrace and engage in the philosophy and practice of systems thinking, the above is not starry eyed ideology, it is common sense. It taps into the intrinsic desires almost all peoples have, while maintaining the competitive and cooperative nature of humans. It is a respect and admiration for all living things, both biological and cultural. It embraces the power of individuality and the cohesiveness of collective endeavors. It weeds out the waste of collective ways, while harnessing the creativity and innovation we all possess.

In creating my own transformation one needs to make decisions. One of mine is to only work and associate with people that want to play their role--no matter how big or small--in creating that world.

My name is Gregory Esau, The Unconventional Consultant, and I want you to join me on that journey.


  1. What can the outcomes look like? What does the world we want to create look like? This kind of question I like; not mushy

  2. Hi Joanna!

    It's a continual dialogue we need to sustain. Be that within organizations, our personal lives, or societies.