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#586: How Would a Consultant Advise the Consultant?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, June 13, 2011
Updated: Monday, June 13, 2011
When working with other consultants for the same client, different perspectives and histories (and strong wills) can sometimes bring the discussion or problem resolution to a screeching halt. We all want to do right by the client, but how can these differences be resolved when each of us is "right" in some sense?

Clients often hire consultants for our independence and objectivity. However, independent means independent from the client, not necessarily from other consultants. Our job is still to provide our best analysis and recommendations for the client's welfare. That our recommendations may differ from those of other consultants working for the same client does mean we have an additional burden to resolve these differences before they get to the client. The worst thing we can do is to present our differences to a client and ask the client to sort them out.

One solution is, having listened to all perspectives from the various consulting teams, to ask us what would a new consultant recommend to all of the current consultants? We all know our individual consulting positions, but if we asked an independent "third-party" consultant to address our differences, how would he or she make that decision? Would it be through consensus building, forced triage, or some other method? Consider what process that person would use to cut through the self-interested positions (yes, even consultants have their own biases).

Tip: Make it a point to study group decision making processes, even if it is not your principal consulting practice. Helping a client come to agreement on an issue is no less of a value added than it is to facilitate a group of consultants to reach agreement on a client’s behalf.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  advice  consulting colleagues  decision making  recommendations 

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Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2011
What do you mean by "forced triage"? This is an important topic, of which you have only addressed a very small part. Still, it's useful that you raised the issue. Consultnats making up a team, just like employees of a consulting firm on the teram should never argue among themselves in front of the client. Unfortunately, it happens often- in both the pre-awaerd and post-award phases of the project.
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