Beginner’s Mind

The consulting world is a paradox. Clients procure our services on the basis of our skills, education, and training. We bring the experience we have developed and the insights we have learned in order to facilitate change with our clients. And yet, each of our clients is unique. One size doesn’t fit all; usually it suits no one.

So how do we bring our training and expertise to new clients whilst simultaneously staying open and curious to what is new and as yet unknown?

Some consulting practices don’t. I overheard a consultant on a plane journey recently, explaining to her colleague that the company’s “formula works, because all organisations are basically the same”. Some leadership development programs apply a ‘six-step approach’, implying that regardless of who the client is, what their unique challenges are, and what systems they are operating in, somehow a ‘sheep-dunk’ approach to development will result in the right answer.  

The Tangerine Thistle approach to change is different. There is no one answer, and every client is unique. We bring frameworks, experience, and skills – and then we see what unfold, afresh. Most importantly, we bring a beginner’s mind: an attitude of openness and curiosity, even when working at an advanced level. This allows us to work more systemically, seeing our clients more fully, and developing lasting change solutions as a result.

‘In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few’

(Shunryu Suzuki)