5 things consultants should NEVER do 🙅♂️
Work better by avoiding these pitfalls
Last week we looked into what consultants actually do. But have you ever wondered what they should not do?
In his book Consulting For Dummies, Bob Nelson mentioned five things (among others!) a consultant should never do:
“Although there’s nothing wrong with being self-confident, arrogance has no place in consulting relationship.”
Confidence is one of the crucial traits to have as a consultant. However, when uncontrolled, it could come off as outright arrogance that turns clients away.
There are no set rules as to what counts as confidence or arrogance. Someone’s confidence can be easily mistaken for arrogance, and vice versa—people see it differently. So, are you arrogant or just confident?
“As a consultant, you have to be ready, willing, and able to be completely forthright.”
Do you like being the bearer of bad news? Yeah, neither do we.
However, as a consultant, you’re hired to assess the situation and give recommendations honestly—which inevitably entails giving bad news to clients. Sugarcoating your observations and downplaying the problems won’t do them any good!
Create problems where none exist
“Consultants are often under a great deal of pressure to build a strong base of long-term clients. Unfortunately, the pressure often translates into creating problems where none exist.”
For example, an IT consultant might advise their client to change their hardware to generate more business, when it actually works just fine. Or, a financial consultant might recommend a new plan to generate more cash-flow, when the current one is fine.
Bite off more than you can chew
Despite their expertise, there comes a time when a consultant is out of their depth.
Being experienced in one area doesn’t mean a consultant is equally expert in any other areas, and a wise consultant knows when to throw in the towel. It’s part of the job.
When presented with this situation, a consultant can either turn down the job or collaborate with other consultants.
Overcommit and underdeliver
It’s not uncommon for consultants—especially the independent ones—to take on several projects at the same time. It should be noted that consulting profession takes a lot of time and work, and similar to the previous point, it’s important for consultants to know how much they can chew.
Turning down a promising business is difficult, but committing yourself to a project you can’t fully devote your time and attention to is equally risky.
Try to see if the client can adjust the schedule of the project. That way, you can have time to catch up on your work before jumping to the new one.
Knowing common pitfalls could help you perform better at work. Contrary to the title, these pitfalls don’t only apply to consulting profession, but also to other professions as well.
Thanks for being here, and we’ll see you next week 👋