Sometimes we find territoriality in the strangest places. People who could be working well together, valuing one another, enjoying one another’s company, and supporting one another in common purpose, instead end up in one form or another of territorial struggle, with all parties jealously protecting and defending their respective territories. We observe these potentially productive relationships gradually deteriorate as members become increasingly knowledgeable about their own territories and decreasingly knowledgeable about others’, as they become increasingly responsible for their own territories and decreasingly responsible for others’. We see this territoriality develop among members of Top leadership teams, among business partners and parental couples, and between trainers and consultants. Trainers and consultants territorial? Really? Yes, really.
It is obvious to point out that training and consulting are potentially mutually reinforcing processes for generating healthy systems. Training at its best provides time-limited intensive shared experiences for members of whole systems or subsystems; it provides a common language and framework for understanding and intervening in systems. Consultants and coaches use the language, frameworks, and momentum generated by training on an ongoing basis as they work with individuals and groups in the day to day business of the organization. What consultants learn in the field comes back to enrich and shape training which then supports ongoing consulting, and on it goes. This is how it can happen and should happen, but does it?
Like other forms of territoriality, training and consulting have become increasingly differentiated, specialized, and competitive. Separate professional organizations, separate certifications and licensing. Each profession is protective and defensive of its realm with the usual territorial fallouts such as whose work is more contributory, where should organizations place their development priorities (and funds), and so forth.
Recently we have formed a partnership with an organization that is primarily consulting-oriented; their members see our training work as supportive of their consulting efforts. Their consultants are learning to master our training technologies. They are in process of becoming trainer/consultants who move back and forth between the classroom and the field, each process enriching the other. We too are eager to learn how their field experiences can enrich our training.
What was separate is becoming whole. A step in the right direction for all forms of territoriality.