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Step three: Engage

Anyone who has shared a house with another person can testify that a relationship is not just a relationship. It can be many things and can operate at a range of different levels, from warm and cuddly to passive and distant. Your aim is to manage the shift along this continuum and get as close as possible to the client. The objective is to develop a relationship that is highly interactive and grounded at a personal rather than contractual level.

This continuum can be mapped against a "relationship bridge", an indicator of how effectively the client-consultant relationship is being managed. In the worst case, it might be inactive, with little real energy in the relationship and little attention paid to the potential value contained within the partnership. Although the capability exists to deliver a value-added change in the individual, team or organization, there is little desire to make it happen. This is often seen in corporate organizations where the client has been directed to use a consultant by the board and therefore has little personal motivation to become involved. In this situation, you might naturally feel a sense of animosity and choose to focus your attention elsewhere, either in other parts of the business or with different clients. This results in a low-level passive relationship, one that makes it difficult for you and the client to put any energy into the engagement.


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