Episode 49: Ed Schein On Humble Consulting [The Amiel Show]

How do you help employees become more engaged? How do you retain your best people? How, on any organizational challenge, do you provide real help faster?

Ed Schein answers this question in his brand new book, Humble Consulting.

Ed Schein

Master difficult conversations

Learn my best tips for staying cool under pressure and elevating your leadership in complex times.


One thing you don’t do, he says, is conduct six-month assessments of an organization’s problems or culture. That takes too long. Instead, have a real conversation with the person you’re trying to help. Don’t just give them what they ask for. Find out what really matters to them. Sometimes it’s simpler than you think.

And Ed Schein has a pretty cool resume. An Emeritus Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, he invented the notion of organizational culture. Yeah, that was him! He also was the first person to describe what process consultation looks like. That was him, too!

So if you work in and around organizations, you’ve been influenced by his work–whether you know it or not.

To understand what he means by “humble consulting” and how it can add value to your work, listen in to this week’s episode.

It was an honor to talk with Dr. Schein. I hope you enjoy it!

Listen to the Podcast


  • 6:30 Why do we need humble consulting?
  • 12:00 In a professional relationship, the client often mistrusts you initially
  • 15:00 Evolution from process consultation to humble consulting
  • 21:00 The most extraordinary gift a consultant could be given
  • 27:00 Trying to fix an unruly group at Digital Equipment Corporation
  • 33:00 Staying overnight with the Ciba-Geigy CEO and his family
  • 41:30 Are you a track team or a soccer team?
  • 46:00 A company dies but its culture survives–is that success?
  • 50:00 Ed is described as a “terrible failure” for overpersonalizing a committee
  • 54:30 Ed’s new partnership with his son

Tweet a Quote

Doing an organizational diagnosis & making recommendations is much too slow

–Ed Schein  Tweet this quote

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