I have spent much of the last four years making connections between my marketing career and my academic pursuits in adult education. While I wondered at first if pursuing an M.Ed. after a 20 year career in marketing “was a hard left-hand turn down a completely new path,” I soon realized the myriad similarities. So it is again that I find myself trying try to wrap my head around the connection between consulting and education.
A few weeks before class started, I came across an interview with Dan McGinn, Senior Editor for Harvard Business Review, who wrote an essay entitled “Inside Consulting’s Black Box.” During the interview, McGinn mentions a book by Martin Kihn who worked for a few years at Booz Allen, one of the big consulting firms. According to McGinn,
The book actually sheds a lot of light on the [consulting] industry… and [Kihn] really does describe what it’s like to live the life where you wake up at the crack of dawn on Monday, your suitcase is all ready, and you fly into some company you know nothing about and work really hard to try to figure out something smart to tell these people.
Exactly… and what does this have to do with adult education?
Peter Block says, “Your goal or end product in any consulting activity is some kind of change.” And change is something I can easily connect to education. Change often requires the input of new information and some type of implementation phase where you get comfortable with what is new.
But change is scary, and let’s face it… who among us feels they handle change well? I admit, I don’t always. And yet I have been drawn to this field of adult education where things are changing so rapidly that one of the most talked about forces in education today — MOOCs — only came on the scene five years ago.
So how do I as an educator — consultant — facilitate change? How do I get someone comfortable with change — which has been described as “often unpredictable, absolutely unrelenting, and, more often than not, terribly unforgiving“?
I don’t know. But I’m here to find out.