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#440: Consulting Humor: Beware of Going Native

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, November 19, 2010
Updated: Friday, November 19, 2010
Last of five days of very telling jokes about consultants and how to avoid them being told at your expense.

If you are a weekly subscriber, see the past week's jokes (and takeaways) IMC's Consulting Humor blog.. Spending too much time at a single client site risks what we call "going native," a condition in which the consultant becomes indistinguishable from the members of the client staff.

You know you've been at a client site too long when:
  • You are asked by the client staff how to work the coffee machine
  • You remember to bring your "contractor" ID badge but forget your wallet
  • You are not displaced from your temporary office but new employees are sharing cubicles
  • You know personal life details of the client's night cleaning staff and security guards
  • You discuss what needs to be repaired with the copier repair person (whom you also know on a first name basis)
  • You are on the faculty for the new employee orientation program
  • You use so many acronyms you no longer know whether they are yours or the client's
  • You are asked to serve on the company picnic planning committee
  • You are asked by the client to join the staff
  • You begin to use the terms "us" and "we" when referring to the client organization
Takeaway: A hallmark of the professional management consultant is his or her independence and objectivity, which are also principle tenets of our profession's ethical practices. Although it is theoretically possible to be objective long after you have become "friendly" with your client, this is dangerous territory. This is also the danger of using former employees as "consultants," because it is all but impossible for them to be objective.

See more at (or contribute to) IMC's Consulting Humor blog.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  client staff  communication  engagement management  professionalism  reputation  roles and responsibilities 

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