Client Note Taking

Building appreciative mental models with, and for, clients

It’s a deceptively simple model but one that appreciates over time.

If this anecdote is accurate, than Ali’s intellectual sparring partner, as opposed to the one in the ring, was the photographer Kalinsky. It’s weird how often this is how it ends up working. You might talk for hours, but in the end, it’s one casual phrase or thought that ends up unlocking the critical idea. My very first client said as much to me — that after twenty hours of chatting, the value I delivered all came out of one phrase I happened to drop casually in thinking through a problem: “penny auction.” Two seconds in twenty hours.

That pattern has repeated for nine years. Hours and hours of conversation and emails, punctuated by scattered moments of high-leverage usable insight — a phrase here, a 2x2 there, a particular quote or metaphor that fits the situation. It used to frustrate me a lot initially. Was there no way to cut out all the hours and just formulaically arrive at just those moments of insight? So far I haven’t found one. You have to put in the time — and learn to enjoy it.

The unit of progress for consulting is sparring sessions:

Strategy is not a single point in time powerpoint deck. Good strategy is an unfolding network of associations throughout an organization. And the unit of progress for the consultant is often the sparring session with the client.

This is why posts like this are useful - they represent an appreciative mental model of content which is my guru-dom:

Copy and paste slack convo directly in Note taking also allows you to capture thick data. Helps you cement reference stories, not just the data and facts.