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#571: Be Clear Whose Value Is In Your "Value Added"

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, May 23, 2011
Updated: Monday, May 23, 2011
Everyone assumes that consultants will provide "value added" in everything we do, but there is not always agreement between client and consultant, or even within the client leadership team of what that "value added" should be? Is it the client's or the consultant's responsibility to sort this out?

In many cases, it is precisely the difficulty in defining the value add needed by the client that caused a manager to reach out for independent and objective consultation. Part of our job as consultants is to provide a framework with which to think about how clients can articulate and acquire that increased value. What can go wrong is if we forget whose value we are articulating.

Some of the unwitting faults of consultant-created value propositions include self-centeredness (focused on the solutions consultants like to bring to bear), same-old, same-old (using the same solutions that worked with other clients, including this client's competitors), and "there's no there, there" in which the value added is necessary but insufficient to significantly change the client's position. Work with the client to be sure that you are designing an intervention with real, sustainable and compelling value that resonates with the client and the client organization.

Tip: Read Why You Need Three Different Types of Value Proposition by Julie Schwartz in BetterManagement.com for an interesting look at how to articulate your value (this is for an IT environment, but is still a good way to stretch your thinking).

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  client service  consultant role  consulting process  customer understanding  goodwill  sustainability 

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