Tag Archives: Walter Lippmann

get outside your box

Insultants not Consultants: Balancing Mastery and Questioning

don't be afraid to ask dumb questions

“The best servants of the people, like the best valets, must whisper unpleasant truths in the master’s ear. It is the court fool, not the foolish courtier, whom the king can least afford to lose.” – Walter Lippmann

Though people/clients see me as a Consultant, I’ve never really liked the label of Consultant and don’t really consider myself one because I don’t specialize. I’m more of an ‘Insultant in Residence’, not a Consultant.

The first time I ever heard of the term Insultant was in the book ‘Breakthrough Company‘ by Keith McFarland where he describes an Insultant as:

Someone willing to ask the tough questions that cause a company to think critically about it’s fundamental assumptions.

He then goes on to say that:

The value of Insultants is that they will go to great lengths to get their companies to reevaluate a position or adapt to a changing environment.

Sounds right to me.

No doubt Consultants can provide you with this type of attitude too but that is rarely the case. I know a ton of Consultants and what they do provide is answers, not questions.

They tell me they get paid to provide guidance and answers, not to come up with questions that make people uncomfortable.