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Failure to Thrive: The importance of an outside perspective

We were all so happy to welcome the first baby into the family. My sister wanted only the best for her bouncing baby boy so she did all the things good moms are supposed to do and more. She brought him into the world naturally and was determined to raise him the same way.

All signs indicated that was a successful strategy. He was a happy, healthy, chubby cheeked boy who had aunties and Grammy to help Mom and Dad dote on him. Of course, he would get sick from time to time, as babies do, but he had a healthy immune system and would bounce right back to his vibrant self...until he didn't.

It was a subtle change, and one more easily recognized in retrospect. He was lethargic, cranky, and sleeping more than normal. It was clear our little guy just wasn't himself, but there wasn't any clear reason. Was it a cold? A growth spurt? Teething? A combination of the three? Whatever it was, it was hanging on, but we all thought it would run its course. After all, we were doing the right things.

It was a family friend, one who didn't see him on a daily basis like we did, who sounded the alarm. To him, those subtle changes were more dramatic. His coloring was off and the baby had not grown since the last time he saw him. This was not going to pass...something was seriously wrong.

In the pediatrician's office, my sister received the devastating diagnosis; Failure to Thrive. She was shocked and felt like a horrible mother. Only later did she learn she had an underlying health condition that was impacting her production of breast milk. While she was still producing the same quantity, the nutritional value had diminished. Despite doing what she, and everyone else, thought was right, her little boy was starving.

Immediately following that doctor visit my sister accelerated the transition to solid foods, further supplementing his diet to ensure he was getting all the fat, protein and nutrients she was unable to provide naturally. Soon, we began to see the color again blush his cheeks, the smile return to his face, and he was back on his way toward full health. We had our happy, healthy little boy back along with all our hopes and dreams for his future.


At this point you may be asking yourself, "so, what does this have to do with business?" Glad you asked.

We all want a healthy, vibrant, growing organization. We work hard to do what we think is best for our organization and its people. Yet sometimes, as business owners and leaders, we are too close to daily activities to actually see what's going on. We are unable to recognize when there are unhealthy practices or toxic people in our organizations. This is why occasionally bringing in an outsider is so important.

The greatest value a consultant brings is an outside perspective. They ask the questions you think you know the answers to but really don't. They see the things in your organization that have become like wallpaper to you. They hear the frustrations of your people that you have gone deaf to, or that become silent whenever you are near. A good consultant doesn't just offer solutions; they provide you with a diagnosis and work with you to develop a course for action. Together you can develop a strategy to regain organizational health, cultivate new potential, and realize the hopes and dreams for your future.


By the way, that little boy who for a time struggled to survive...he now towers above me at over 6 feet tall with a size 13 shoe, and he turns 19 today. Still so much potential; so many hopes and dreams for his future.

#leadership #perspective #consultant #diagnostics #organizationalhealth #potential #strateg #feedback

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