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#604: How Do You Fit Into Your Client's "Story"?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, July 07, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 07, 2011
I provide process consulting services and work across a lot of industries. I've never considered human resources or cultural issues a part of my work but I am wondering if I should expand my perspective out of my process service area to make sure I am working in the best overall interest of my client.

One thing every organization needs is a "story." The story encompasses values, history, vision, mission, and people. It defines who the organization is, what it stands for, where it is headed, what it will and will not do, and how it makes decisions. It tells prospective employees, partners and customers whether or not they should have a relationship. If you know the story, you know the organization.

The problem is that many organizations lack a story altogether. They have values listed on their website, which don't line up with their mission, and employees speak about an entirely different culture. It is hard to start, grow, or sell a business without a story to go along with it. Having a lot of different images or stories will compromise attracting and motivating employees, securing funding, creating partnerships and aligning strategies for growth. .

So, what is your role in all this? First, the story is a compelling part of whether and how a consultant considers working with a client. Second, if the client has no concise, coherent and compelling story, it will be hard for you to decide where and how exactly to focus your work. Improved process efficiency that tears apart a culture or violates the (even if not well articulated) story is counterproductive. In your case, you need to understand the story to do your best work. Third, if there is no story, then you have an opportunity to help them create one.

Tip: By the way, you are no different than your client. You also need a story for your consulting practice that grabs prospective clients and partners more than your lists of clients, services and USP. Doug Stephenson has some good tips for creating your story.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  client service  communication  customer understanding  goodwill  reputation 

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