Sometimes the best way to help clients get insights is not to train them on something or not to hand them a thick report full of charts and figures.
Both the above approaches are effective in a limited way...that's because they only engage the cognitive part of the brain.
As all of you who may have worked might have realised that the cognitive part of the brain is not responsible for all the work that happens :-) A lot of decisions that get taken in organizations are due to emotive reasons too.
The way consultants can help clients recognise the emotive nature of work and organizations is by use of facilitating a certain kind of workshop. Workshops typically refer to an unstructured intervention in the client system when some or all of the stakeholders or decision makers are invited by the consultant.
Steve Shu describes some workshops that business consultants can use.
The workshop needs to have specific goals in order to be effective. In some cases, the workshop may be a first step to get the client thinking about where they think priorities should be for their business. In other cases, the desired outcome of the workshop may be for the consultant to help the client with two to three focus areas that become evident during the workshop. Other outcomes might include performing financial analysis of different business scenarios/ideas generated during the workshop.
On the other end of the spectrum a workshop can also focus on helping the management and leadership team build trust and work effectively together, as OD consultant Kartik describes a recent one on his blog:
Was facilitating a retreat for the top management team of an MNC in the semiconductor space in Bangalore. Day One of two - we struggled through looking at the issues of team effectiveness, blockages and so on. When we ended the day, I was personally left feeling somewhat adrift and sort of clueless as to where to take the group next. We had ended the day stating that we would do some feedback to each other the next day