Fortunately between these extremes is a lot of fertile ground for great clients and great and productive relationships and outcomes.
In pondering this spectrum I played about with reasons clients either love or hate, or both love and hate, consultants.
The feckless will either sing your praises because the one piece of advice they listened to, which any average fifth grade student could provide, transformed their business, or they’ll say you’re rubbish after applying 10% of what you suggested, and then badly, and can’t understand why they spent all that money on your services for no return.
Then there’s the superhero who in an almost narcissistic manner sets out to prove their considerable intellect and your failings, and when complete proclaims to their employees and anyone else who’ll listen that consultants are a waste of time and they know all they need to know to run their business (into the ground!).
Of course these are exaggerated simplifications, though I’ll be interested to see if anyone sets out to dispute them.
But there is as a third scenario, and this is the serious message of this blog.
You love them or hate them, or both, because:
- there are no magic bullets,
- the solutions are not rocket science (and if they are, unless you’re going to the moon they won’t work), and
- the only thing that is changing significantly in the products and services landscape are the customers.
The rules of how to create what you have to offer them, hasn’t changed for eons. What you really need is action.
Further, 99% of the problems would be resolved by attending to one thing. Your people.
What do people need to be motivated, rewarded, valued, inspired, committed, and positively on fire? There’s no secret; Blanchard, Oncken, Covey, Peters, Senge told us all years ago.
There are contemporary refinements, but even if everyone just did the basics well, productivity would skyrocket.
And that is both painful to accept and promising for everyone.