Kerry Evans spoke with one of our client partners to find out how he connects with clients on a program, and what he thinks is the best way to bring about real change.
How long have you worked for Evolve?
Five years as of January 2018.
In a team environment, what role do you typically take on and why?
I take on less of a role and more of a characteristic. I tend to be a calming character for clients by not turning molehills into mountains. Change is a very human process as well as an emotional journey. It’s important that we as a team—Evolve and the client team—go through that journey and acknowledge that there are real concerns, but then not let those concerns take control. A journey always includes a level of reflection so that we can then articulate and connect how those concerns were motivators, and then take time to reflect on the human side of the journey.
How do you motivate clients to commit themselves to the program?
I think the client has to want it from the start, which then means I have to get the organization, at some level, to communicate that these are the results desired, and then keep the organization aligned with those results. This not only keeps accountability with the client, but it is also a motivating factor to ensure everyone grows together.
What's the best part of the Evolve culture?
The best part to me is the latitude we’re given to create meaningful relationships with clients, and serve the best interests of the individual as well as the organization. Evolve is supportive and invested in keeping the process human. Other firms might get nervous and look in their playbook for trick plays or even point fingers. At Evolve, we don’t look for scapegoats when mistakes happen. We acknowledge the defect, action it, and reflect on the learning.
Creating a learning organization is something Evolve supports very well, especially in comparison to other firms who don’t like it when things get messy. We actually expect that things will get messy, and look forward to this so that we can identify a meaningful intervention. Are we trying to complete a contract at all costs or do what’s best for the organization? In Evolve’s case it’s always the latter.
What Evolve Guiding Principle do you most connect with?
That’s easy—the Human principle. I often have to remind myself that what we do creates meaningful work in an environment that can be complicated and messy, and that we should most often be more focused on the people involved, rather than only the processes and tools.
The Human factor also means we understand that we all have setbacks, even as a team, and that we are comfortable talking about the emotional connection people have to the work they’re doing. A lot of consultants want to sanitize the experience and make the messiness go away. At this point in my career, I find myself welcoming difficult conversations, embracing the messiness, and hoping to find the defects. Some might feel that this environment would be threatening to their credibility, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t worry about that, but I have found that this helps create an environment with my clients that replaces the capacity for judgement, with the capacity to solve problems.
Which person from history would you most like to meet and why?
Part of me wants to say Betty Crocker, but it would probably be either Martin Luther King, Jr. or Ghandi, and for the same reason. For starters, just to be in the presence of people who have led society changing movements, and did it through peace rather than conflict. To get further insight into what that looks like and learn more about how they stayed true to themselves, without letting barriers rule their direction or change their attitude, would be an invaluable experience. The type of self-discipline they displayed is inspirational to me.