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Episode 219: Building Narrative Power for Your Consulting Business—with Guillaume Wiatr

Deb Zahn: I want to welcome you to this week's episode of the Craft of Consulting Podcast. So, on this episode, we are going to talk about how to build narrative power. We're going to talk about what that means, what it can do for your business, and how it can really change the relationship that you have within your business, as well as with your clients. So, I brought on someone who teaches exactly how to do this. Guillaume Wiatr is going to walk us through all of the nitty-gritty details of what this means and how it can help you get past expensive problems, so let's get started. Hi, I want to welcome my guest today, Guillaume Wiatr. Welcome to the show.

Guillaume Wiatr: Deb, hi, how are you? It's a pleasure to be here.

Deb Zahn: Delighted to have you on. So, let's start off, tell my listeners what you do.

Guillaume Wiatr: So, I am the owner of a company called MetaHelm. MetaHelm is a business strategy boutique consulting firm based in Seattle. I'm not from Seattle originally. I'm French and I relocated. I started MetaHelm five years ago now. It's my fourth venture. MetaHelm specializes in helping professional services firms, specifically CEOs, leadership teams, and business owners of those firms build what I call narrative power. Narrative power is your ability to defy the normal when the normal is wrong.

I know I always post and sometimes I wait for people's reaction, but that definition and that power can be very useful when you want to do things like differentiate in your market, change the way you work in an industry, align people towards a new goal, or rejuvenate your purpose for that business…get excited again about what you do as a business owner.

Deb Zahn: I love it. Actually, let's start there a little bit. So, what are some narratives that you've seen are just plain old wrong that having this narrative power is a good solution for?

Guillaume Wiatr: Wow, that's a long list.

Deb Zahn: It is a long list. Give me a few that you've seen where you're like, "Whoa, that needs some narrative power."

Guillaume Wiatr: So, there are four areas. I break this down into four categories. There are the leadership narratives in the discipline that I call visionary leadership, marketing narratives, operations narrative that are more internal and especially if you have a team, and then sales narratives. So, a very common toxic narrative that we have in professional services that is detrimental to us, is to think that we can be of service of any clients, anyone deserves our work, we can work with anybody, and we should say absolutely yes to all opportunities. That's one particular narrative.

In the field of leadership, one narrative that I had to battle for a long time is overworking. I started consulting almost 30 years ago now, and I was hired by a big firm as a young consultant, and the narrative there was work hard, have no life, climb the ladder, be the next generation of partners, and I quit after two years because I thought, "This is not my narrative. I love this work, but this is absolutely not how I want to do it." Then, I went on to start my first company.

In the field of marketing, I think another narrative that we hear, it's a bit of a meta-answer here, Deb, we think of marketing as this layer that we put around a business. We wrap the business to make it look good and it's like putting lipstick on a pig, and so we feel like it's something we should delegate, that we're going to hire this great agency that's going to do it all for us. My take and my viewpoint is that it's essentially coming from... It should come from the inside and that marketing is the art of helping your business find relevance in the world, and there is no other people than a business owner or CEO or founder to do that. Maybe not do it all, but to lead that process. It's a very important narrative here to think about and to reposition in the field of professional services, and then I'll give you a fourth one.

Deb Zahn: I love it. No, I'm loving all of this. People can't see me. You have to go to the video on YouTube to see how much I'm smiling through this, but give us the fourth one.

Guillaume Wiatr: Well, I'll hit the fourth category because I hit the three first, but the last one is what I call purposeful operations. When we operate as a business consultant like me, we feel like we can really apply cookie-cutter recipes that others have already invented and created, and so that's why we're so gullible. So, we're a very easy target for the slimy marketers out there who approach us on social media with, "Hey, download my free guide to get to seven or eight or nine..." I don't know how many figures they have these days, and instantly you will transform your business and you see them telling you this as they're riding their super expensive sports car.

Guys, this is not how this works. You have to build it yourself. Sure, you may, and I highly encourage it, look around, and even before this show, you and I, Deb, were talking about some of your processes that I'm interested in learning that there is no cookie-cutter solution and that's what makes this feel so awesome and so exciting that you can be really creative and the job of the consultant keeps reinventing itself all the time.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Guillaume Wiatr: And if you do it purposefully, it's greater. It's better. You have fun. You feel the great business.

Deb Zahn: I love it. I feel like we were separated at birth, I'm just going to be honest because I love everything you just said and there's so much there. I want to take one step back because I know that you also talked about... And you have this great ebook that I read that I'm going to put a link to in the show notes, but you also talk about leading up to the solution of narrative power I imagine is expensive problems that are caused by misalignment. Describe a little bit about what some of those expensive problems are when you don't have even the alignment of where you're going, what you're trying to do, and the problems that that actually causes.

Guillaume Wiatr: Well, I want to tell you a story and it's part of my origin story. I think that one of the events that happened to me that is the deep reason why I went that way in my career. It's in 2001 and I'm a consultant in this company that helps procurement organizations for large industrial companies, corporations be more efficient. And 2001 is still the dot com boom era and everybody is dazzled by the promises of e-business. I was in my early 30s at this time and I happen to know something about a system that very few people knew. So, I'm brought in by this very large energy company and I'm sitting in this boardroom kicking off this project with my all buttoned up agenda, and I go in this room and I start the meeting and 30 minutes into the meeting I'm like, "This is not going anywhere."

In my mind, I'm starting to observe and I do two things at a time. I facilitate the meeting, I have the conversation, I'm seeing that people don't speak the same language. People are misaligned. It was a rather small project for this large company. It was only 20 million euros just to give you a size of magnitude, but the project was stuck and I decided either I carry on with my agenda or I do something. I don't know what, but I should be doing something else right now. I should speak up.

I have a very low tolerance for letting (censored) fall in front of me. I typically talk about things. I try to be elegant and respectful, but I call things out. So, I suggested that everybody turns off their laptop and we grab sheets of paper and I asked if people could draw the project. And they looked at me a little bit with a moment of sign with googly eyes and, what's this guy want? We're drawing here? We're all engineers. It's mostly male, in their 50s, kind of cliche with the big boardroom at the top of the tower in [foreign language 00:09:03] in Paris, and they did it and the drawings did the rest.

I stayed on this project for over six months and at the end of the project, the main sponsors come to me and say, "I have to tell you something. We fired two big consulting firms before you because nobody had the guts to tell us our truth, which was we are totally misaligned, and we spent so much money on this project and you managed to make it work. We don't still don't quite know exactly how this worked, but you brought this thing and this [foreign language 00:09:40] maybe this way of handling team dynamics." And so, I basically saved them the project, 20 million euros that they were going to write off, plus a bunch of other expenses.

So, that's what happens in large organizations. This is a large scale, but for people who are listening to us who have a much smaller business maybe, it's still a lot of effort, it's still a lot of money. Sometimes it's your credibility, sometimes it's your image, sometimes it's your reputation, sometimes it's yours of work, and sometimes it's for some people they just drop the glass, they just closed it because they're not aligned personally with their vision, and if they have a small team, there are just too many tensions between people. Someone wants to go right, the other wants to go left.

Deb Zahn: And what I love also about that story is you also defined yourself in those moments of... One thing I like to say when I'm doing consulting, which I still consult, is nobody hires me who doesn't want to hear the truth. And if somebody really just wants me to say, "Oh, yeah, that's fabulous, that's wonderful," I'm probably not the consultant for them because I'm not going to solve real problems. I'm going to stroke big egos and I have no interest in that. So, I love that you also defined yourself, which I imagine then got built into your narrative. Is that partly how you've built your own narrative around the work that you do as a consultant?

Guillaume Wiatr: Everything I do in my business, I apply to my client's business. It's a rule. I never recommend something that I haven't tested either myself or at least have had someone else in my circle tested and tell me, this is the way you work. And for me, being able to retrieve really what the roots of what I do was hard. That story that I am able to now to tell in a minute or two maybe took me a long time to remember and reshape and make sense of it. It took me a while, and out of all the stories, all the many client stories and projects I've been on, which ones are really the most telling? Where did I experience that triggering event that define the leader that I am and that I can share with people so that they can understand how I roll? See, you immediately understand more about how I operate thanks to that story.

That's one of the exercises I recommend to my clients is to explore... And I don't say write on purpose, I say explore your origin story. You can do it through writing, through video recording, through talking to people, but explore it because I make a difference between a story and a narrative. A story is a set of events that happened to someone or something. A narrative is a viewpoint, is how you tell that story. The same glass can be half full or half empty, and that exploration helps you decide from what perspective, what angle, what are the traits, the shades of colors you want to bring about that story that really makes sense to you, and that help you carry on the days you're just demotivated, you're full of doubt, or you're just fighting against some toxic narrative in your mind. You remember that origin story and why you started in the first place.

Deb Zahn: I love that, and it also strikes me that it is also something that you could go into a client, let's say you're in a client discovery process and you could say, "I'm really honest and I will tell you the truth," that's not a terribly powerful statement to make, but the story you just told is an extraordinary powerful demonstration of who you are as a human being and how it is that you approach consulting.

Guillaume Wiatr: I just don't want to forget. I wrote it and I published it on my website. It's available on my website.

Deb Zahn: Oh, that's great, that's wonderful. When you help folks build narrative power, what's the process you go through that actually helps them get to a place where it's not just a collection of stories, some amusing, some telling, maybe some random, but it actually gets to the point where they have narrative power?

Guillaume Wiatr: Well, it's not a linear process. It's quite a messy process, so I may scare people, but I have a very well-organized system to do it…very good structure that I show to people. It's a 360-degree map that I call the strategic narrative canvas, and the first thing I always...As soon as somebody gets ahold of me, I like to understand two things. Where are these people trying to go, metaphorically, also existentially? What direction do they want to take? So, are they trying to be rich, be famous, save the world, be creative? What impact do they want to have around them? And then the second question I have is, what really drives them to go that direction? That's why in my book, I use arrows to symbolize this because there's nothing more simple than an arrow to illustrate that point.

So, the first step in the process is to look at their future desired state. There I have to ask the questions and shut up and listen carefully because in the very first moments, we know where the person or the organization or the group wants to go. The second part, the second big chunk of the process is to look at, so this is where you want to go. This is where you are. Is there some kind of a signature argument that you would be ready to defend, to really fight for? Is there something that you're adamant about? And in many cases, there are either too many of them or the opposite. It's there but it's been fleshed out. We need to really work on it. It's like you don't find diamond or gold in roses, you find them in mud, and so there's like a bunch of mud and we need to dig through the mud and say, "Oh, that piece is interesting. Oh, that other piece is really interesting. What could we do with that?"

And that's why I say the process is a little bit messy. First, those two steps are the first phase of strategy design or blueprinting, and it's a little bit like we're having conversation. It's a bit theoretical sometimes, but then quickly I turn people into action because narratives are not just what you write. People think, "Oh, I'm going to write this great story on my website and the world will be better." That's just the tip of the iceberg. Narrative power is generated through action, in fact, through alignment between what is it that you do and what is it that you say, so if in your consulting practice you've got communications material that say something, you need to be able to demonstrate it any time and all the time.

So, we go into activation. What do by activation? It's not necessarily just communication pieces. It's oftentimes processes. How do we sell? How do we present ourselves? How do we hire? Who do we hire? What are the values of the people we hire? What kind of marketing activities do we have? Do we feel like we should be doing more story doing versus storytelling?

Because sometimes the story you tell is not just the word, it's how you show up in the market. How do you get involved into specific movements or communities or organizations that really define and help you shape and hone that narrative? So, at a high level, that's what it is. The process is ongoing. It's not a project, I insist it's a process. It's something that you will revisit all the time. Strategic narrative, which is the name of my methodology, is designed to be ongoing, but there is for sure like an initial investment of looking at this map and saying, "Where is it that we're trying to go?"

Deb Zahn: And I know a lot of folks think, "I have to have some kind of a business story because everybody's now told me that storytelling is super important, so here, let me just do that." This seems obviously much more reflective than, “Let me throw out a simple story.” How's it different than how either or independent folks approach maybe a business story process?

Guillaume Wiatr: There are two main differences. The first one is when it comes from the expression, let's tell our story. I really misinterpreted this for many years myself as I was launching businesses back in Europe, and I thought, "It's got to be one story we say, guys," and I was wrong. I was so wrong. You can't operate a business thinking that the only hero is your client and that you just have one story to tell, and that's the story of your client. You have thousands of stories. Your story as the founder, and you have hopefully more than one client, so you have thousands of client stories, and they all have different flavors, and you should continue to listen and help your client shape them because they give you a lot of nuances every time. You have your team's story, you have your product story, you have market story, you have a whole bunch of stories.

So, the first thing I want to say as an answer to your question is, it's a system. It's not just one story. The second aspect of it is most people in business storytelling think about this as the job of a writer. That's why many business storytellers have a background in writing, and they say, "Oh, I'm a former journalist. You should trust me. I'm going to write the story for you," which can be valuable in some cases, but in other cases, you should not do this. You should let your client write the stories for themself. I just experienced a case with a client who's launching a new venture in Dubai, and I did some of the writing. But I made sure that he also had to pick up the paint because when you do that, you think more profoundly, you commit to your ideas, you commit to your direction.

Writing is really thinking in words. So, building narrative power is a collaborative process. It's about building movements, it's about mobilizing people, and you should not think of yourself as a leader in that context as a person that knows it all. You can't do this work by yourself. It has to be with the people you serve, the partners you work with, your competitors, which by the way, I don't call competitors, I call them colleagues because I don't see competitors, I see colleagues out there. And so embracing that growth mindset, that mindset of abundance in the relationships that you have with everyone will get you to build a much stronger narrative power.

Deb Zahn: I love that because I'm thinking in particular of some examples that I've experienced as a consultant where a company's going to do some type of big transformation, and it's important to them, and the CEO wants it, and various people want in, and various people have no idea what it's about or what the purpose is. But often the leaders at the top couldn't in the same way that you said, draw what this project is, they wouldn't agree. Why are we doing this? What's the purpose? Who is this helping? All of the details that you would want to know to really be able to speak from the head and the heart and to show it when you're actually doing the work. Not just a single leader, but folks who are working together but aren't really working together on building that narrative power together, how can that process help those groups of folks come forward with it? Because that's where I see a lot of things fall apart.

Guillaume Wiatr: There are very ancient human practices that we should not forget, which is going back in the evening and sitting down around the fire and exchanging point of views and stories and exchanging anecdotes. So, you should have a practice of meeting at a frequent and consistent and regular cadence to share your observation about what's going on inside your business and outside your business. Ron Heifetz, the founder of Adaptive Leadership called this practice climbing on the balcony, being on the balcony versus being on the dance floor. As consultants, we tend to be very drawn to the dance floor. We want to be active, we want to be with clients, we want to be on projects, and it's the same for corporations and nonprofits. Everybody wants to do stuff, but the act of pulling back and going back to the balcony to really have that distance and develop those insights through hindsight is crucial.

And that's valid for any type of organizations, any size, not just professional services firms. So, I'm giving you a tip here that is very general, but if you don't have that, pull your calendar right now and find 30 minutes to do it either with yourself or with a colleague, or with your mentor or your community or your coach, and have that moment of reflection because that's how you make sense of what has happened to you. That's how you develop the narrative for your stories. Remember, I make a difference here. That's how you reshape them. I'm giving you the basic 101 of the yoga practice of narrative building.

Deb Zahn: Oh, I love that. So, if someone's listening to this and they're thinking, "I'm eating this up, I love it. I know that I need to do this, or I need to apply this in my work or to my business," anything you would tell folks to avoid, don't do this?

Guillaume Wiatr: That's a great question. I would tell them to avoid a cookie cutter solution again. You google, or you use your favorite search engine, storytelling, you'll find a bunch of frameworks, a bunch of templates. Don't use them as adlibs, use them as conversation starters, as prompts to explore more. That's what I would say. So, these frameworks are all interesting and useful, but none of them is perfect.

Deb Zahn: I like to do things like that to say, "Oh, interesting. I never thought of asking myself that question," or, "Oh, I never thought of looking at it from that point of view." So, as prompts, I found them very powerful, but I'm not a fan of the cookie cutter. I'm right there with you, mainly because human beings are involved. And once human beans get involved, cookie cutters don't work.

Guillaume Wiatr: Cookie cutters are helpful. I bake cookies with my kids over Christmas, but there's always someone in the family that throws the cookie cutter away and say, "Oh, look, I created this new shape with my knife," and that's the moment of joy, and that's the moment where we go outside the boundary, we break the mold, and we venture into territories we don't know, and that's the true nature of who we are as humans.

Deb Zahn: And one of the fun reasons to be a consultant as far as I'm concerned. So, I want to touch upon one other thing that I know that you also talked about, and I think you had a course earlier this month that you did on creating services that will sell, which I know is related to everything that we've talked about. So, an issue I know a lot of professional services folks have is they're like, "I want to sell this, and so I'm going to build this," and then they get surprised when there really isn't interest in it and there's not a demand and they can't sell it. So, using this approach that you're talking about, how can they do that a different way, so that they're actually creating something that somebody wants to put some money down for?

Guillaume Wiatr: The typical narrative around service or product development is we believe that it has to be well researched, that we have to put a lot of thought and time and invest before it's perfect, before we can even show it to anyone. We tend to think like this because we've heard stories from large product companies who have used those now outdated product development processes for a long time, but these days we have different technologies. We have a different society, and people are much more tolerant for things that are unfinished. In fact, they want to be participants. They want to be part of anything that is emerging, and so what I teach in this course is to think in reverse. It's to think about launching first and then with a minimally viable offer, and then refining it over time.

And I'm not reinventing the wheel here, I'm just applying into professional services and illustrating the point of a new narrative for developing services. So, my course, it was really about productized offering, but I feel like a lot of the principles I teach in that course also work in the cases of customized work, work that you shape specifically for a client or client context. So, that can also work for that, and it's interesting because maybe it'll sound that I contradict myself, but I still put together a framework to get people to help people get started that I call the product story.

And the product story consists of writing the story that a client would tell you years from now if they had already experienced your service, and really wearing that hat of the imaginary client and looking back and saying, "Oh, in the beginning I had this issue, this pain point, this problem, and then I ran into your offer and I tried it out and I could see this and this and this being better, and then in the end, I am now at point B. I know I started with point A, now I'm at point B."

I even tell people to fake the testimonials that they would receive, mock them up. Imagine you could be free to write the most ideal testimonial you would ever get for your business. Go ahead and write it, what would it look like? And you'll see that it's not a very easy task. So, then you can imagine when you ask your clients to give you a testimonial, you can see how difficult that could be, but that's another conversation, but really being in that mode of using your creativity to imagine your offer first, put it together at a minimally viable level, and then starting and honing it over time, inviting your clients to give you feedback. So, what do you do to entice them to do that?

Maybe you start with an entry price point. You give them something in exchange, but they're really part of your approach. So, this is a method that is very influenced by what's called the agile methodology, which consists of shipping frequent versions of the same product until it gets better and better and better and better. So, that's what I teach in that course. Hopefully, that changes the narrative that people have in their mind about what is it to launch a product offer. I'll just add one more thing. I launched so many crappy services. My gosh, I would spend months and months and months, and then I announce it, and no one signs up. I'm like, "What did I just do? I'm screwed, this is not right." Until I figured out, OK, I need to get to let my ego at the door and just reach out to a friend or a colleague and say, "I have this idea. What do you think?"

And then schedule another call and another call and another call until now we've got something that people have helped me mold, and that they really want to buy because you offer the opportunity... So, in essence, so let's take... What the narrative becomes, you're not the product builder, you're the instigator of a product shaping process.

Deb Zahn: Ooh.

Guillaume Wiatr: You're the facilitator. You're just the person who sparks the idea and say, "Hey, guys, let's get together and co-construct something that might be helpful for all of us. I'll bring the principles. I'll bring some of the materials. I'll bring my time, and you guys, you can also bring anything you want. But the minimum level for entry is you try it, you use it, you provide feedback, make suggestions, invite other people to try it out." And there we go. That's how we change the narrative.

Deb Zahn: I love that, and I love that you're inviting that co-creation. I have come to realize that all of my brilliant ideas are not brilliant. Once I reached out to a client I've worked with for a long time, and I said, "I had this great idea for this..." And it was a product, something I wanted to do and... She had no interest in it at all, but then she said, "But you know what would actually be helpful?" And we ended up in a conversation about... And there's just nothing better than that. I could have wasted all of my time putting something together, and then I went and I asked a few other people, and it was the same thing. I could have wasted all of my time and then been dejected because I would've been rejected in terms of what the project was.

Guillaume Wiatr: I like this. Also, you're touching on the fact that the traditional design process is also very violent. It's hard for us, and a lot of people in our services professions are sensitive. I'm a sensitive people... Sensitive person, sorry, and I am sensitive to rejection. I'm just like every human being, we want to be part of, we want to be appreciated. And so, thinking that you have the idea and it's going to be perfect, and you're going to spend days, nights, and weekends until it's so great, it's a very violent approach.

Deb Zahn: So, I have a community, which I believe my folks in the community are now co-creators with me, so they're coming up with ideas and new things are launching in it because of their ideas, but I actually came up with a description, pre-sold it because I wanted to actually test if there was market demand for it and I said, "If folks buy it, then I'll launch it on this date," and that's how I launched my membership. And if I had heard crickets, then I wouldn't have had a membership. I would've thought about, "Are there other things that I think are going to help people that I need to have conversations about?"

Guillaume Wiatr: And if you mind me asking, how long was this process?

Deb Zahn: I'm in other memberships, so everything from a couple business memberships in gardening. So, I saw what I liked and recognizing that I'm an introvert, so I have a different viewpoint of some of them, and then I came up with a description because I kept seeing people having the same problems over and over again, and people telling me that they felt alone and they didn't have anybody to... So, there was an emotional need that people had as well, and it wasn't just knowledge and information. So, that helped me come up with a description. I shared it with some folks, tweaked it based on things that they told me, and then I put it out to my email list and promoted it on social media and I said, "If I get enough folks, I'll launch it in two weeks," and I got enough folks and I launched it in two weeks, and then the people in it are having a great time.

Guillaume Wiatr: That's wonderful. That's great, you completely embrace the principles that I show in my course, which is that simplicity, also that joy. Also, I can hear joy in your voice. I can't help, but I am observing your narrative, it's a narrative about joy, it's a very narrative about inclusion. You're very practical as well. By the way, for people listening, I'm not in your community, so it's my perception. I'm making observation based on what you described here.

Deb Zahn: Well, thank you, and yes, and it is from the heart because every time somebody has something fabulous happen, I have to tell my husband, "Guess what happened to so-and-so? They got this great thing." So, yes, it's very from the heart. So, I love everything that you're talking about, and I think folks would certainly benefit from following you and hearing more about it. So, where can folks find you?

Guillaume Wiatr: My company is called MetaHelm, M-E-T-A-H-E-L-M, and when you go to my website, you'll find some resources you can grab. First is the ebook that you mentioned, Deb. It's very easy to read, it's very visual. There's also an assessment, the 12 question assessment that you can take that gives you a score for how much narrative power you're building for your company, and that assessment works either if you are a solo planner or you run a firm with people, so it works for both aspects. And from there, sign up to my list and join my not yet existing, but maybe one day upcoming community.

Deb Zahn: Oh, fabulous.

Guillaume Wiatr: Because you've inspired me to maybe think about this more.

Deb Zahn: It's a great way to bring wonderful people together to do good things.

Guillaume Wiatr: Should I do it?

Deb Zahn: Yeah, I think you should do it. What part of my narrative is I want to reduce suffering at scale. That's part of my narrative, and communities are a wonderful way to do that. And I've even thought about it on the consulting side, which is there's a lot of nonprofits and other organizations that are struggling with some of the same things, but a lot of CEOs can't talk to anyone in their organization about certain things, but wouldn't it be great if they could talk to some other peers with the same struggle? So, there's lots of ways to, I think, think about community. So, I say go for it.

Guillaume Wiatr: I'll give you the try.

Deb Zahn: Awesome, I love that. So, I'm going to ask my last question, which you know it's coming, which is, so how do you bring balance to your life, however it is you think about that?

Guillaume Wiatr: There are essentials, for me, first of all, it's music. Music is a question of harmony and rhythms, the two main elements in music. So, whenever I feel like I'm imbalanced, I have some headset... I always have headsets with me, headphones, and I put on some music. So, it's a very practical thing, and I find myself meditating while I listen to music. So, I like to go to ground myself. I don't do meditation in big chunks. Sometimes I'll do it during the week, but I prefer to do it in 30 seconds or minute increments throughout the day because it keeps me grounded. I go through so many meetings and conversations and I can't wait for the weekend. I can't afford to wait for the weekend to do this. So, that's how I bring balance through those two practices, listening to music and meditating. Maybe it's a cliche answer, Deb, but that's the truth.

Deb Zahn: It isn't, and I actually love the small intervals. People think meditation is some big thing that you have to go sit on a cushion and do for hours at a time, and what your version of it is a wonderful version that I think works with folks. Me, as I go, I live in a beautiful place and I go walk outside, 10 minutes, I'm much better.

Guillaume Wiatr: Just go outside and then experience what's going on in small increments. I learned this from a coach of mine called George Kao who has this practice, and he calls it the grounding exercise. He has a special name, I forgot, but he teaches you how to do it, and then he encourages you to build your own.

Deb Zahn: I love that. Well, I am so excited that you came on the show. I was excited when I saw your information, but this has been a wonderful conversation, so thank you so much.

Guillaume Wiatr: Do you feel like you have more narrative power now?

Deb Zahn: I feel like it, but I also feel like I have to stop and pay attention to it. I think sometimes I probably think I have it more than I would if I deliberately stopped and took a look at it.

Guillaume Wiatr: Nice, that's where it starts.

Deb Zahn: Fabulous, thank you.

Guillaume Wiatr: Thank you so much for having me, Deb. It was great.

Deb Zahn: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the Craft of Consulting podcast. I want to ask you to do actually three things. If you enjoyed this episode or you've enjoyed any of my other ones, hit subscribe. I got a lot of other great guests that are coming up in a lot of other great content, and I don't want you to miss anything.

But the other two things that I'm going to ask you to do is, one is if you have any comments, so if you have any suggestions or any kind of feedback that will help make this podcast more helpful to more listeners, please include those. And then the last thing is, again, if you've gotten something out of this, share it. Share it with somebody you know who's a consultant or thinking about being a consultant, and make sure that they also have access to all this great content and all the other great content that's going to be coming up.

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