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10 Simple Lessons for Your Consulting Firm

Remember all those little lessons and morals one of your parents or instructors would tell you?

Clever maxims such as, “Honesty is the best policy,” and “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” and “No, an empty shoebox is not an acceptable diorama of The Invisible Man.”

One of the classic structures for a pithy saying is, “If you’re ________, you’re not __________.” (Or, the reverse, “If you’re not __________, you’re __________.”)

My team and I quickly compiled a long list of “you’re/you’re not” dictums that felt particularly relevant to consulting.

A selection of our new adages are listed below.*

After you read through the list, please add your own “You’re/your’re…” wisdom in the comments section.

10 Simple Lessons for Your Consulting Firm

Stay Right-Side Up

If you’re highlighting you, you’re not attending to them.

Always Be Calling

If you’re matching your consulting firm’s outreach activity to your current capacity, you’re guaranteeing feast-or-famine cycles.

Mate for Life

If you’re focused on short term relationships, you’re not creating long-term value.

Find the Flaw

If you’re not challenging your assumptions, you’re on the path to become irrelevant.

Have Fun!

If you’re not enjoying your days, you’re missing the point of being a consulting firm leader.

Think Long Term

If you’re totally focused on current opportunities, you’re not securing your future.

Insert Coin, Enjoy Results

If you’re not creating systems, you’re capping your ability to deliver.

Face the Music

If you’re ignoring uncomfortable feedback, you’re not viewing your consulting firm realistically.

Try Anyway

If you’re never making mistakes, you’re not stretching your consulting firm.

What else?

What “If you’re…” lesson do you suggest?

I look forward to reading your additions to the list.


16 Comments
  1. Jay Arthur
    February 23, 2022 at 8:07 am Reply

    If you’re not simplifying, streamlining and optimizing the key aspects of your business (Agile Process Innovation), you’re becoming more sluggish and error prone.

    • David A. Fields
      February 23, 2022 at 8:25 am Reply

      Good one, Jay. Bonus points for a simple lesson on simplification! Thanks for kicking off the conversation today.

  2. Eric Bakey
    February 23, 2022 at 8:15 am Reply

    Great article (as usual) — but your “IF YOU’RE NOT COMMENTING…” got me to 🙂

    Lessons I’ve learned which are in line with your 10-Tips:
    * Thinking, “what would I need to do if I only got paid after my client got XYZ results” — then reverse engineering all the steps you’d need to take. Then identifying the RIGHT clients to approach with something like this whole consulting thang.

    * Makes the “ABC’s” of outreach easier — while eliminating the cold email backlash as well as the feast-famine hampster wheel

    * I’d rather have 4-quarters to 100-pennies: both are worth a buck, and if invested right can return much more than cash… but I prefer lifetime relationships (as well as long-term assets vs short-term income)

    • David A. Fields
      February 23, 2022 at 8:30 am Reply

      Three excellent lessons, Eric. I love the idea of starting with the clients’ desired results then working backwards to the steps your consulting firm needs to complete to drive those outcomes. That is an excellent application of Right-Side Up Thinking, and will benefit many other readers.

      (Also, thanks for playing along with the “If you’re not commmenting” call to action. Your contribution is very much appreciated.)

  3. Fred A Pieplow
    February 23, 2022 at 9:21 am Reply

    If you’re not learning, you are falling behind.
    If you’re not 15 minutes early, you are late. (Thanks for that one Mom)

    • David A. Fields
      February 23, 2022 at 11:01 am Reply

      Double thanks to your mom, Fred! (Of course, some of us are perpetually late, so her lesson didn’t stick.)

      Two great additions to the list. Outstanding, Fred.

  4. michael
    February 23, 2022 at 9:49 am Reply

    If you are not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

    • David A. Fields
      February 23, 2022 at 11:02 am Reply

      Dang, that is so true! You’ve contributed an absolute pearl, Michael. Thank you.

  5. Josh Q
    February 24, 2022 at 3:43 pm Reply

    If you’re not using a framework, you’re not consulting? 😉

    • David A. Fields
      February 24, 2022 at 6:54 pm Reply

      Funny, Josh! Maybe, “If you haven’t presented a 2×2 matrix, your consulting deck isn’t complete.”

      Love the tongue-in-cheek addition, Josh.

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