Ideas and Insights

Getting real value from consultants


This month in a short paper, Tim Dalmau and Viv Oates examine the client- consultant relationship and what works well, common pitfalls and some useful guidelines to getting the most from the relationship . Click here to download, Getting Real Value from Consultants.



Questions are more powerful than statements


One of the most powerful means of engaging people is to ask a series of high quality or powerful questions.

What makes a powerful question?

      • It is simple and clear
      • It is thought-provoking
      • It generates energy
      • It focused inquiry
      • It surfaces assumptions and clarifies meaning
      • It opens new possibilities

Questions to clarify outcomes:

What do you really want? What is important about the outcome for you? Is it possible for you to achieve?

Questions to stimulate reflective and deeper level thinking:

What is it about our working relationship that you find most satisfying? Why might it be that our working relationship has its ups and downs?

Questions to clarify meaning:

What or how specifically?

Questions that begin with WHY?

Remember to use caution when asking  questions that being with WHY.

Unless carefully crafted they can illicit a defensive response in others or force them into a mindset of post-hoc rationalization, both which are usually not very helpful if good communication is desired.


Trust: cause, effect or process?


Trust is an emotion based on past experience. In many circles people say “trust is low”, we must fix it and then the team will perform. This view sees trust as a cause of something else, i.e. low trust causes low performance, usually.  Put simply, this is a logical fallacy – if trust is an emotion it arises from something else, not causes something.


Trust is effect more than cause – the level of trust people have with one another arises from a whole host of factors, including expectations and experience, to name but two. Therefore working directly on improving trust is a futile endeavor. One needs to work on other things that result in the effect or increased trust. Read more…


Not stepping up – pitfalls in making assumptions



Like many other phrases, “stepping up to the plate” has entered our lexicon from the sporting world.

Literally it means for a batter in baseball to move near home plate in preparation for striking the ball when it is pitched. Figuratively it has come to mean  —

To move into a position where one is responsible and ready to do a task. Read more…


Better conversations with your team – Part 4



So far in this series of short articles, which give guidance on how to improve the quality and effectiveness of your conversations with your team, I have covered 3 of the 4 steps,

  1. Preparation
  2. Starting the conversation
  3. Guiding the conversation

Now the conversation needs to be brought to a close. Read more…


Stepping up to the plate – tackling the un-discussables



Stepping up to the plate – surfacing an “un-discussable”

There is one way of stepping up to the plate, that isn’t for everyone, yet reaps huge rewards. It’s by exposing the silent taboo subject, the ghost issue that is impacting and hindering an individual, a group or perhaps an entire organization.     Read more…


Better conversations with your teams – Part 3


This is the third part in a series of 4 articles on a step by step guide to improving conversations with your team. After you have thoroughly prepared and got the conversation underway there are 4 important aspects to actually guiding conversations with your team.  Read more…


An end to hallucinating.


Ongoing conversations in organizations are more important today than ever, due to the dynamic environments in which we find ourselves.  Whilst being so much more connected to the wider world has proved invaluable in so many ways, it has not been without its challenges: changes in far away countries have far reaching consequences on many scales be it large business, small business or our day-to day lives. Read more…


Talk, Inc.


Talk, Inc. How trusted leaders use conversation to power their organizations by Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind, was named the Best Business Book for 2012 by the magazine, strategy + business.


For this reason I thought it was worth a read, and it may be of interest to some of you.


This book is aimed more at large organizations, and how they can recapture or simulate the cohesiveness of many small companies, who benefit from proximity between all in the company, and from clearer line of sight by employees to plans and priorities. Read more…


The seven conversations of leadership


I was asked recently to present to an Adelaide group from Engineers Australia about leadership. I cast the presentation in the manner of an onion with layers. At the core is context and it goes from there. Click here to read or download.

Below is a short video excerpt from the presentation.

Tim Dalmau


Buy Tim & Steve’s Book

''A truly useful and practical book'' Rich Shapiro, EY

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