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#3: Completed Staff Work (for Consultants)

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, March 11, 2009
With new clients, it is sometimes hard to know how specific to make recommendations without seeming too presumptuous. I want to add value but not overreach. What's the balance?

Considering that your client engaged you to provide recommendations, it is hard to imagine that they are reluctant for you to hold back. Given that your ethics would preclude recommending anything for which you do not have a solid basis, you should feel free to develop as robust a set of recommendations as you have time for.

Napoleon Bonaparte was known for some innovative and prodigious management skills. One of Napoleon's requirements for his advisors was what is called "completed staff work." He did not want his staff to come to him and say, "Napoleon, the men are hungry, we are low on supplies and the enemy is approaching. What do you want me to do?" He demanded, instead, that his staff do their job and come to him, saying "Napoleon, the men are hungry, we are low on supplies and the enemy is approaching. We have three options. My recommendations is . . .".

Tip: Speaking of Napoleon, you might be interested in a good book about Napoleon's management style that is particularly relevant for management. Napoleon on Project Management: Timeless Lessons in Planning, Execution, and Leadership will resonate with you on areas of project management and leadership that can lead to success as well as a description of characteristics that led to some historical failures (we probably learn more from our bad days than from our good ones).

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  client service  consultant role  project management  recommendations 

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