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Constulting4 - Reframing

"It's the client's choice and The Consultant's responsibility to remind and Re-frame."

Never once in the history of the world so far has any aspiration been born well-formed. Each tends to begin rather light in the head, altogether too attractive and relatively vacuous. Not that they don't also inspire, for there's the rub. Inspiring vacuity has been the primary cause for the downfall of generations of dreamers, schemers, builders, and feints. Attracting a supportive mob turns out to be the easiest part of any undertaking, for people seem naturally keyed to follow any fluttering flag. Satisfying that mob seems infinitely more difficult, especially when one reflects on the fact that even if the original fuzzy promise were delivered as the promiser intended, it wouldn't very closely resemble what most of the followers envisioned as the deliverable. I call the first iteration of any effort's vision The Bright Idea, and Bright Ideas might be the most dangerous substance known to man.

President Trump's confident promise of a wall attracted xenophobes left and right.
The idea that someone else would pay for it deepened their attraction. Over time, as the impossibilities began to cluster around the original Bright Idea, some die-hards began to believe that their leader was waffling on his commitment, damn the physics as well as the politics. Opposers, those under-appreciated allies of every Bright Idea, began asking unsettling questions. Just what is this wall supposed to accomplish? What specific, measurable difficulty would it resolve and what evidence proves this assertion? A theological-quality confrontation commences, where supporters increasingly resort to True Belief to maintain their faith in the initiative. Supporters characterize those unable or unwilling to muster adequate belief as traitors or worse. What began as an almost casual campaign promise to build a wall first built a seemingly impenetrable barrier to reaching any majority agreement on what building the wall actually means.

I figure that many public figures missed the part of orientation discussing The Bright Idea, and therefore perhaps discounted the necessity of nurturing the utter dissolution of the original motive force as a precondition for accomplishing anything. One necessarily promises what one must before delivering what one ultimately can, and the road between the two, that's where politics lives, politics being nothing more or less than methods for bringing differing perspectives into some form of agreement. Those Bright Idea generators who think themselves especially powerful, might for a time believe themselves, by dint of their authority, capable of bulling their Bright Idea unscathed through to full realization without needing to modify their original vision. These people are the folks later generations wonder deeply about for they start wars, encourage insurrections, and never achieve much more than managing to create unintended chaos in their time.

The Constultant trades in these sorts of conflicts, maintaining a clear-eyed understanding that what was passionately promised simply cannot be thus delivered. I'm usually called in when the vision starts wavering, a perfectly normal and natural progression away from the passionate naivety of most every new beginning. The effort seems likely to fall apart so the client calls in reinforcements. Should they call in a consultant, they might receive what they'd hoped to yield, additional support for the battered Bright Idea. Consultants might prescribe bucking up, digging in, and driving the desired result, the more draconian, the seemingly more acceptable to the Bright Idea's originator. The Constultant more probably confirms the client's diagnosis that the Bright Idea appears somewhat shopworn, tarnished, perhaps terminally. What now? What Next?

The intention might well survive the following inquiry, but The Bright Idea most certainly won't. The proud papa will find an unwelcome opportunity to experience some public humility in the interest of preserving some aspect of the originating intention, most often that part of it that no-one could have possibly been aware of needing to intend at the beginning, emerging as a necessary precondition to actually satisfying the broader intention. What do you want? What have you actually got? What will you ultimately settle for? The ascent toward realizing The Bright Idea might well come to seem more like a descent further away from the earlier envisioned dream come true, justified only by the perhaps begrudging acceptance that the dream could have never survived under available real-world conditions, and so become a nightmare-come-true. The Constultant assists in this sacred disassembly.

Re-framing sits prominently in the Consultant's tool chest. The ability to reconsider from some different perspective. As a Constultant, I consider every objective metaphorical, a figurative representation of some probably otherwise unspeakable intention. The Wall stands first as a fuzzy representation, nothing made of brick and mortar, but constructed of rather convincing allusion. It sparks imaginings untraceable, with each observer, each member of the supportive and opposing mobs envisioning whatever satisfies their expectations; some giddily hopefully, others cringingly fearful, but all no more or less substantial than the entrancing word. People react to The Bright Idea as if entranced for Bright Ideas amount to BIG magic, hypnotizing everyone they touch. The resulting internal responses sure seem real, though they could not possibly be anything more or less than illusory.

The client's already sold The Bright Idea to the revered and feared Executive Committee, promising to deliver, but The Constultant confirms that the effort's attempting to deliver a run-of-the-mill impossibility. He disappoints. Each uncovered plot twist seems as though it must necessarily drive a stake through the heart of that very public promise and nobody ever really wants to admit this increasingly obvious truth. The Bright Idea is merely growing up and into the world as it is, was, and probably ever shall be, not dying, but maturing. The Constultant might suggest some re-framing stories capable of resurrecting the originating feelings in lieu of the original promise. The final deliverable might not involve a wall at all, but still achieve some of the original intent. The process for delivering a delightful result necessarily delivers much disappointment along the way. This disappointment might be swallowed a spare spoonful at a time throughout the pursuit, enabling people to adjust without losing their enthusiasm, or stockpiled until near the end, almost guaranteeing widespread dissatisfaction with the result. It's the client's choice and The Consultant's responsibility to continually remind and Re-frame.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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