Why are consultants unable to deliver satisfactory results to their clients? This article offers ten reasons that should be obvious but are too often overlooked. If you are a consultant or an employer, read on.
1. Not understanding the business.
A deadly and all-too-common mistake that consultants make is that they don’t understand their clients’ business. It is not enough to know about business or industry, or to offer standard solutions. It is imperative to know the history, mission, objectives, competitors and stakeholders related to the organization.
2. One size fits all?
When it comes to processes, people, communications, strategies and solutions, one size does not adjust everything. Let the best practices be your guide, but always put your intuition and experience to work defining each component and its impact on the complete solution, along the way.
3. They don’t listen.
You cannot have a “know it all” attitude and hope to discover and understand the critical points that will allow you to provide relevant analysis. If you don’t listen to or ignore what your customer is saying, you will miss key factors that will stunt your ability to make the best and most profitable recommendations.
4. Inappropriate connections.
Failing to recognize the value of identifying and connecting with the right players is like playing cards with a partial deck. For example, consultants too often misunderstand the inner workings of an organization by serving only the top tier. The failure is in not realizing the importance of those who are most responsible for the front line work. If you miscalculate here, you will lose your entire algorithm of solutions.
5. Vision tunnel.
Adjust your lens. It is essential to see the whole picture, which includes the processes. Y people. Once you’ve identified all the relevant components and dynamics, you can begin to describe how things fit together and begin working to formulate successful solutions.
6. Lack of courage.
No one will care about your list of accomplishments, your perfectly crafted proposals, or how articulate and persuasive you are if all you have to offer is a repackaging of what they already knew. It’s about adding value and offering real solutions to your pain.
7. Bad fit.
Like any successful relationship, it takes two … and not just none two. There needs to be a complementary adjustment to achieve the agreed results. Not all consultants are cross-functional. If an organization requires someone who understands how to implement cutting-edge technology in the public space, they probably don’t want someone who has a perfect track record in the private, non-profit healthcare field, but absolutely no technical prowess.
8. Bad communication.
This can be a real killer. Your communication must be clear and relevant. You must be an expert listener and be able to have a useful and open dialogue. Be timely with responses, reports, and comments to everyone of the appropriate players. And you need to be able to articulate pain, goals, and solutions.
This should be a fact, but unfortunately it is not. You must respect the customer by coming to meetings prepared, being organized, communicating clearly, arriving on time, interacting respectfully and quickly, and making sure you keep your promises. If you don’t pay attention to the details, it will show.
10. Lack of integrity.
Credibility, trust, and respect are important in all healthy relationships. By ignoring the importance and impact of integrity, you risk failure. You cannot be dishonest, manipulative, deceptive, abusive, or negligent and expect to be rewarded. There is only one guardian of your reputation: you!