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 »

#709: Play Nicely With Your Client's Other Consultants

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, December 1, 2011
Updated: Thursday, December 1, 2011
During some of my engagements there are other consultants working for the same client. Occasionally, one of these firms or an individual consultant will bad mouth my firm or withhold information that is helpful to our work. Should I tell the client about this or will they see this as whining?

Let me share something a client once told me about a similar situation. The client said that, in her experience, consultants often seem to think that they are somehow floating through the company without anyone really knowing what they are doing. In reality, she said she is keenly aware of how consultants interact with each other. The quality of this interaction and mutual support was one of her most important bases of evaluation of the consultant. If a consultant is sandbagging or bad mouthing another consultant, she knows about it and usually will take action to correct it. If she didn't know about it, she wanted to know about any unprofessional behavior that was hurting client services

Your responsibility is to deliver the best value to your client possible. If you are not coordinating with other consultants working for the same client, you are not delivering the best value you can. Your client hired a group of consultants to solve specific problems or capture opportunities. Your service is better if you understand their tasks, which, since your firm was not selected for the work, probably is in an area you may not fully understand.

Tip: Take the initiative to introduce yourself to other consultants working for the same client. Ask your client if there are other consultants working on related problems and if he or she would make the introductions. Independently, suggest to (or ask) your client how you should work together and how or if you should bring concerns you observe to his or her attention. Emphasize that your ethics (this is a specific provision of paragraph 11 of the IMC USA Code of Ethics) require you to report negligent or dangerous behavior or malfeasance to the appropriate authority in your client's organization. Your client will respect you for your professionalism and the value of your services will increase.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA.

Tags:  client relations  consultant role  consulting colleagues  ethics 

Share |
Permalink | Comments (3)
 

Comments on this post...

Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Monday, December 5, 2011
I agree with everything you say, except the following: "Independently, suggest to (or ask) your client ... and how or if you should bring concerns you observe to his or her attention. Emphasize that your ethics (this is a specific provision of paragraph 11 of the IMC USA Code of Ethics) require you to report negligent or dangerous behavior or malfeasance to the appropriate authority in your client's organization. Your client will respect you for your professionalism and the value of your services will increase."

I think it make sense to ask the clinet how you should work together. But your other suggestion raises some potenetial negatives about the other consultants and mentioning the Code of Ethics and reports of dangerous behavior raises issues that most likely will never arise. It makes you sound holier than thou. If something negative occurs, you can decide whether and how to report it. Look at it this way, Mark. Suppose you and I were working for the client on two separate projects and as two separate firms. Do you really mean at the outset you are going to mnetion to the clinet that you are obligated to report negligent or dangerous behavior I might enage in? Come on. It would be non-sensical, and you'd be inviting a lawsuit.
Permalink to this Comment }

Mark Haas CMC FIMC says...
Posted Monday, December 5, 2011
I appreciate your perspective on this Mike. It is a contentious issue for many of the professions for which this is a part of their code of ethics, especially for those like professional engineers and social workers, for whom this reporting of dangerous behavior is a condition of public licensure - it is not an option nor is it at the discretion of the observer of dangerous or illegal activities since failure to report is itself a breach of their obligation to the public (on behalf of whom their license is issued).

This topic was a point of discussion at the recent Ethics and Compliance Officers Association Annual conference and most (not all) ethics officers and corporate executives were unaware of the IMC requirement (Paragraph 11) but were enthusiastic that consultants, who have access to potentially critical evidence of malfeasance, should be in a position to report it. A few were disheartened, though, that this applied only to IMC members and CMCs and not to all consultants.

We'll see what kind of discussion of the ethical responsibilities of consultants is when House of Lies airs next month.
Permalink to this Comment }

Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I think you should have delat with the ethical issues in a separate post. I assume that consultants (or maybe it's limited right now to CMCs) are required to report certain ethical violations not just those committed by other consultants, but even by client personnel, and personnel from your own firm. The issue of whether, when, where and how to report suhc ethical violations is complex and should not be mixed in the topic of how to work with other consultants. Both topics are complex enough to have separate posts.
Permalink to this Comment }

Community Search
Sign In


Forgot your password?

Haven't joined yet?

IMC USA Calendar

12/7/2016
The Consultant's Workshop : Agility - Essential for Today's Consultancy - Dec 7, 2016

12/8/2016
IMC SoCal 12/8 Holiday Party

12/13/2016
IMC NCR: 2016 Annual Holiday Party

Message from the Chair
Angela Dingle CMC2016 IMC USA Distinguished Service Award Recipient
Loraine A. Huchler CMC FIMC2016 IMC Fellow Award Recipient
Gayle Carson CMC CSP FIMC2016 IMC Fellow Award Recipient