Print Page  |  Contact Us  |  Your Cart  |  Sign In  |  Join IMC USA
Daily Tips for Consultants
Blog Home All Blogs
Search all posts for:   

 

View all (805) posts »
 

#559: Beware of the Duct Tape Consultant

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, May 05, 2011
Updated: Thursday, May 05, 2011
As consultants we advise our clients to develop streamlined, repeatable processes where possible. As consultants, we pride ourselves on providing customized solutions for each of our client needs. Isn't this a bit hypocritical?

Well, that's a loaded question, but you do have a point worth exploring. First, recommending streamlining of a process makes sense if it provides the outputs and outcomes a client wants for their process or service at the appropriate efficiency and cost. There is nothing wrong with developing efficient, repeatable processes if this is what is needed.

Alternatively, customized solutions are appropriate where there is a highly variable environment, a high degree of freedom in the solution, and limited rules governing the conditions under which you can develop the solution. There is a continuum between a totally customized solution (assuming the client judges it worthy of time and budget) and a cut and paste solution resurrected from one of your prior clients. Every consultant owes every client the respect of thoroughly evaluating needs and presenting alternative approaches to solve the problem at hand.

What clients don't deserve is a "duct tape" solution. Duct tape is strong, flexible, durable, and can be applied in endless ways to "solve" almost any problem. There are consultants who have a few limited tools that meet these characteristics and propose to use them for almost every problem. Like duct tape, the reason they don't solve the problem at hand is because you didn't use enough of it. If a client isn't satisfied, there are always more assessments, more interviews, more process models, more PowerPoint, more pilot studies, more benchmarking, etc. The solution is rarely satisfying in the end.

Tip: Consultants should have processes they can reuse but they need to be grounded in business and management theory and proven to work in various cultures and business conditions. Don't get a reputation of being a "duct tape" consultant who doesn't have the range of tools and experience to provide competent and appropriate solutions.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client service  consulting process  consulting skills  consulting tools  engagement management  performance improvement  professionalism  reputation  your consulting practice 

Share |
Permalink | Comments (0)
 
Community Search
Sign In


Forgot your password?

Haven't joined yet?

IMC USA Calendar

10/5/2016
The Consultant's Workshop : Ethics in a Chaotic, Challenging World - Oct 5, 2016

10/7/2016
IMC SoCal Breakfast Meeting

10/13/2016
IMC Orange County Business Forum Breakfast

10/20/2016
IMC NCR Happy Hour (at the 2016 IMC USA Consulting Conference)

10/21/2016 » 10/24/2016
2016 IMC USA Conference

Message from the Chair
Don Matheson CMCChair and CEO, IMC USA
Gregory BrooksExecutive Director, IMC USA