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#445: Show Some Respect

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, November 26, 2010
Updated: Friday, November 26, 2010
Why doesn't my client's leadership team "get it"? They hired me because of my experience in this industry, asked me to do some research, and recommend a course of action, which I did. They discuss the recommendations but I don't think they really grasp the need to act quickly.

Some consultants really do think like this. Although we may deny it, this may occur to others of us from time to time. After spending time intensively examining a client challenge and thinking about how to respond, we sometimes believe we have cornered the solution space. After all, this is our task.

What is easy to forget, however, is that the client must live with the implementation of our recommendation in a world far bigger and more complex than the one we are living in during the engagement analysis. Part of being an effective consultant is to walk in the client's shoes, and this means the client's whole organization.

How will what you are about to recommend affect staff, leadership, partners, and stakeholders? When you "run it by the client," are you absolutely sure they really understood the implications of your recommendations? Were you thorough and clear? Do you really respect the capabilities of the organization to fully implement and sustain your recommendations? How confident are you that you understand the constraints the client is under?

Tip: Show some respect to the client's circumstances and organizational capacity to implement. Just because your solution worked elsewhere and is perfectly logical to you, don't presume that your perspective fully reflects that of your client. You can be confident but not arrogant.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  customer understanding  goodwill  professionalism  reputation 

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