I am a relatively new consultant, with about twenty years of executive experience. Since each project is different, how do I go about starting the consulting process with a new client without customizing each project?
It pays to have a core process that you use to drive your clients toward a solution. Assuming your consulting practice focuses on a particular area of performance improvement, you probably start each engagement with some diagnostic effort. Although the path resulting from your initial diagnosis will vary by client and circumstances, you are likely to start that process with some consistency, especially as you improve your approach.
Peter Drucker would always have five questions to start off a management conversation. These usually resulted in management having to retreat a bit to figure out, then agree within their ranks, what the answers were:
- What is your organization’s mission? Why do you exist in the first place? What are you trying to accomplish for your customers?
- Who are your customers? Describe the person you wish to satisfy with your actions.
- What does your customer value? What is it that you do especially well that you are uniquely suited to provide to your customers? How can you exceed the standards set by your competition?
- What results are you trying to accomplish? How do you measure success?
- What is your plan? How do you go about satisfying your customers and getting the results that are most important?
Dedicate yourself to at least having your engagement kickoff process streamlined and perfected.© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA