Sometimes I worry (both for myself as well as other consultants) that it comes off as arrogance when a consultant assumes that their experience, expertise and hard work are the unqualified best approach for a client to take?
According to professional services consultant David Maister, in his article The Consultant's Role
, the biggest hindrance to a consultant's success is a lack of courage to stand by the long-term goals, plans and strategic vision they have set for themselves. This applies equally for engagement-specific findings and recommendations.
The temptation to qualify your recommendations may seem to provide your client flexibility or an "out" in accepting your findings and recommendations, but this does your client no favor. You were retained to provide your best advice based on your expertise and diligence. Your job is to recommend; your client’s job is to decide. Unless you are not sufficiently experienced to take on the engagement (in which case you should have declined for ethical reasons) or you do not have access to sufficient information, you should have full confidence in your work. Call it arrogance if you wish, but even with qualifications, this is your best work and you need to stand behind it.Tip:
Maister's book, The Trusted Advisor
is still a classic regarding the importance of trust and confidence in client relationships. © 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA