Averse to advice

By Cécile,
on 19 October 2015

The moment at which I (reluctantly) have to admit I’m a consultant… This is the moment of the introduction round at which my heart beats a little faster, when there is a strong knot in my stomach and my head spins… how am I going to explain it away? I shed my vocal cords for a moment, and with the first words that leave my mouth I hear the excitement come back into my voice. A thought spins through my head every time I make my confession: as long as they don’t think I belong with them.

Meanwhile, fixed images flash through the minds of my table companions: images of a consultant in the traditional sense of the word. A smooth operator who arrives in his far-too-slick Audi. Who accumulates profit unnaturally rapidly through cross-selling and down-selling. Expensive invoices, where the dormant but silenced question remains “what value have they added now?”

Yet still… I believe in the role of consultants.

Certainly in terms of sustainability, I’m firmly convinced of the importance of a crowbar between how we’ve always done it and how we want to do it. People within larger organizations often accept the status quo and with it the path of the establishment. But, as Einstein said, “if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” If we want change, sustainability, improvement, innovation and transition, then consultants are often necessary to change the status quo by literally ‘breaking it open.’

Yet still… the knot remains in my stomach.

But I don’t want to conform to the stereotypical picture of a consultant at all. I do that visibly by consistently going to my clients on my rickety Amsterdam bicycle or by public transport. But more important is the intention with which Copper8 operates.

We strive for impact and want to be evaluated on that. We believe we are expendable, and have therefore embraced the philosophy “voordoen, nadoen, zelf doen” (do first, imitate, do it yourself), whereby we actively transfer our knowledge to our clients. We work with a contagious passion for achieving a sustainable world in which trust, not fear, is at the center…

Yet still… I’m labeled ‘consultant’.

Averse to advice

I’m averse to the word advice. It is reactive, sometimes passively so. I do not want to belong with that; I even place myself a little against it. Like an adolescent who no longer wants to belong to his parents, but when heartbroken seeks the warm embrace of his mother.

I’m averse to advice. Like any teenager, I’m looking at my – our – own identity. Should we call Copper8 an impact agency rather than a consultancy? I’m appealing for a better name that really expresses what we do!

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