I made a recommendation to a client for a major change to a process about a month ago. Since then I have been working more closely with the people there and have discovered some issues that I was not aware of. These issues will impact the feasibility of my recommendation. I am beginning to have doubts on whether my suggested approach is the right one given the new circumstances. What should I do?
You have a responsibility to always be upfront with your client. The first two paragraphs in the IMC Code of Ethics read:
1.0 I will serve my clients with integrity, competence, independence, objectivity, and professionalism.
2.0 I will mutually establish with my clients realistic expectations of the benefits and results of my services.
These apply throughout the engagement (and beyond). Tell your client you have second thoughts about your original recommendation. Make sure to phrase it positively, such as "I have been working more closely with your people on this problem and have gained some interesting new insights. Although I recommended this particular change for the company, this additional information leads me to modify my recommendation." Thoroughly explain what has changed your thinking and exactly why you recommend the change in approach. Tip:
As consultants we have an obligation to bring critical issues or new concerns to our client's attention as quickly as possible. Stay positive and always make an efficient transition from identifying the problem to providing the solution or suggested change in approach.© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA