Mark is a graph advocate and field engineer for Neo Technology, the company behind the Neo4j graph database. As a field engineer, Mark helps customers embrace graph data and Neo4j building sophisticated solutions to challenging data problems. When he's not with customers Mark is a developer on Neo4j and writes his experiences of being a graphista on a popular blog at He tweets at @markhneedham. Mark is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 529 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

"Consulting is Like Inception"

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My colleague Jason Yip recently tweeted the following

Sometimes consulting reminds me of the movie Inception

…which reminded me of a conversation I was having with a colleague here who's been working on consulting engagements here for the last few months.

I was describing some of the things that I wanted to change on my team and she pointed out that I always described each change as something that I wanted to change rather than something which I wanted to see change.

I think this is subconsciously the result of wanting to believe that we've influenced something and are actually adding some sort of value to the team we're working on.

In reality though it's rare that we can suggest a change and others will just agree with it straight away – I've failed with this approach a significant number of times.

In Inception the conspirators want to plant a thought into the victim's mind but they don't want him to know that they've done it – it should seem like it was his own thought.

My colleague pointed out that the same is true when we're trying to influence change.

Suggesting a change is unlikely to work but dropping ideas to different people and then letting them run with them might eventually result in change happening even though it may be a slow process.

The problem is that it's quite difficult to take your own ego out of the equation and let a positive change happen without the credit necessarily being given to you.

I'm still struggling to get past that stage but hopefully soon I shall get there…



Published at DZone with permission of Mark Needham, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Cosmin Mutu replied on Thu, 2010/12/02 - 2:27am

yes, and later on ... your team will think they can manage without you ... so, why exactly are you paid? :)

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