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Don't hire a consultant ... and then tell them what to do

There is a growing sense of confidence among many consultants that I know.  Not only are clients gradually becoming more confident to retain their services, but also the decision-making process within client firms, which had almost ground to a halt during the downturn, is beginning to speed up too.

 This is good news all round.  Clients will benefit from the advice offered by consultants; and consultans will benefit from increased levels of activity.

But a word of caution - and one that comes from bitter experience.  Many professional firms, and indeed individuals in all walks of life, too often spend a great deal of time and resource identifying and selecting an appropriate consultant - but then tell them what to do, how to do it, and what the results should be.  

And if they don't like what the consultant is telling them, they will say that the advice is wrong, and will therefore either ignore it - or find another consultant who will tell them what they want to hear.

Weak consultants heave a huge sigh of relief when a client tells them what the answer is, even before the project has begun.  Strong consultants will enquire, challenge and fight their corner.  They will succeed or fail by the quality of their advice, not by massaging the short-term egos of their clients.

Hire a 'yes man' at your peril.