by Liz Sedley

Recommended Reading

The Secrets of Consulting

by Gerald M Weinberg

While this book says it is aimed at consultants, and people who hire consultants, there is so much good advice in here that I would recommend it to anyone who is trying to lead change.

Weinberg defines a consultant as someone who influences people at their request. The book is packed full of useful advice for agile coaches. Here are some examples:

Laws From the Farm

  1. Never use cheap seed. Seeds are like ideas. Make sure your ideas are of the best quality before you invest a lot of money cultivating them.
  2. A prepared soil is the secret of all gardening. It's the preparation before you plant an idea that makes most of the difference as to whether it works or not.
  3. Timing is critical. Too often consultants broadcast their ideas the moment they happen to get them, rather than the moment that's right for germination.
  4. The plants that hold firmest are the ones that develop their own roots. You don't get strong roots on a plant by packing the dirt around them so that the plant will hold firmly in the soil. You just prepare the soil, put the seed in there and let it hold on for itself. The same is true for ideas, but sometimes we can't resist grinding them into the ground.
  5. Excessive watering produces weakness, not strength. We all want to get support for our ideas, which sometimes leads into overselling them. Ideas, like plants, thrive on a certain amount of struggle.
  6. In spite of your best efforts, some plants will die. Farmers, because they're always working with a large, complex system, learn to live with failure and to not take it personally.