July 5, 2021

You should never apologise for being a consultant! I know, consultants can have a bad reputation – the press where I live has its heyday when pointing out how much the government is paying consultants. But, hold on to your guns. Do not apologise!


A waste of time and money


People not close to the industry or from totally different walks of life wonder why clients would need consultants:


“Consultants and other business advisors are just a waste of time and money! Why are clients hiring them and paying these steep fees?”


That’s what I heard from one of my neighbours the other week. Great neighbourhood, isn’t it?


After all, clients, usually companies or branches of government, should know best how to fix their own problems, right? They’re at it daily. Come on, with that many people involved they surely can figure it out themselves!


Bringing in a consultant can’t be more than a fig leaf for inept executives or boards…


Why they’re wrong


I heard this for years, I got used to it. My answer:


“Do you ever go and see a doctor? Why?”


It lets people stop in their tracks instantly.


“By the same logic, fixing your back pain should be easy. I mean, you have been living in your body all your life, you must know what works and what doesn’t? So what do you need the doctor for?”


They start to digest because it begins to dawn on them:


A doctor will start with a careful clinical and history examination. Then they form a hypothesis, advise on a plan and so on. They base this on their experience, expertise and knowledge… It’s not that different to what a management consultant does.


Good management consultants bring fresh perspectives. They develop strategy and solutions specific to that client. It needs experience, expertise and knowledge to do this.


So, never apologise for being a management consultant. Instead explain. It doesn’t matter what others say.


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