I have noticed a big difference among consultants. It is not so much the varied technical skills or level of confidence but different senses of how quickly to move on a project.
This sense of urgency you mention does make a difference in how effective you can
be as a consultant. Certainly, a consultant who presses ahead and gets the job done quickly will be viewed favorably by a client. The sooner a solution is presented and implemented, the sooner a company can improve its effectiveness in the area in which the client consults. A consultant bringing a sense of urgency will move faster through diagnosis, solution and implementation and encourage the client staff to do the same.
However, remember that speed is not everything. Don't move so fast to a solution that the client is left behind. Many of us have solved the problem (or at least so we thought) on the first day and were anxious to implement the solution. But, unless a client wants a turnkey solution instead of advice on how they can address the issue, you do more harm than good by rushing. Tip:
Once you have the lay of the land in an engagement, discuss with your client what functions, processes and people are likely to be the "rate limiting step" of your consulting process. It might be information management, or staff scheduling, or approvals. Agree with your client which ones are worth waiting for and which ones hinder rapid results. With this mutual understanding, and recognizing that some elements of your client's operation may not be able to move as fast as everyone wants, you can press ahead as fast as you have explicitly agreed with your client.© 2008 Institute of Management Consultants USA