“I want to do what you are doing.”

“Why?”, I ask.

“We want to achieve the same level of growth that you have achieved,” says the CEO of a startup. “Tell me how your company has done it,” he added.

“I can show you, but you really have to find something that works for you,” I respond.

And at that point I usually get a quizzical look.

There are plants that grow well in any kind of condition, and others that are suited to growing only when the conditions are just right. Most companies are in the latter category. It is difficult to show a company what to do or how to change, especially when they want to mimic another one. Hurdles include cultural differences, leadership styles, varying customer needs, or organizational structures.

Yes, the job of the consultant is to help figure out how to overcome those issues and others, but the client has to be open to changing the way they think about doing business. Change efforts often look good up front, but following through with effective implementation is where the real work starts.

The best kind of change is that which starts from within an organization–a homegrown solution will tend to have more staying power than one that is bolted on or added later. Fully integrating new solutions into your organization’s way of doing business takes time and work.

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