Whatever your political leanings, you don’t want your consulting firm to lean into a bad reputation. The guardrails below will help.
Great consultants come in all political stripes, from those who like nuts in their brownies to those who believe only nut-free brownies represent their values to those who don’t like brownies at all.*
You and other consulting firm leaders may disagree on personal, political views or professional consulting approaches. However, you and your fellow readers all agree on at least one thing:
You never want your consulting firm’s reputation or integrity to be deservingly questioned
Consulting projects occasionally go sideways. A consultant or client makes a mistake along the way, or client expectations aren’t met, or one client receives another client’s box of chocolate. (Sorry, Tom.)
It happens. Fortunately, a consulting misstep can be forgiven by your clients.
But what about transgressions that can’t be forgiven? What are those consulting sins?
You, as a consulting firm leader and experienced consultant, naturally remain a safe distance from the blazing line between right and wrong. However, someone on your team with less clarity than you or whose hunger to succeed overpowers their moral compass could put your consulting firm’s good name at risk.
Therefore, you’ll benefit from explicitly noting the behavior that’s totally unacceptable for your consulting firm.
The overall rule:
Your consulting firm should never act contrary to the best interests of your client
Below are some examples of misdeeds that fall beyond the bounds of pardonable errors.
9 Impeachable Consulting Firm Offenses
Delivering advice or recommendations that you know is incorrect to your consulting firm’s clients.
Accepting a project your consulting firm is grossly unqualified to tackle.
Misleading a client about what actions or steps they should take because it would benefit your consulting firm.
Spreading gossip or rumors about your consulting firm’s clients—the organizations or individuals.
Revealing confidential information that belongs to your client.
Taking “kickbacks” or personal rewards in return for presenting a certain recommendation that is best for an individual, but not the organization that hired you.
Earning referral fees without disclosing that fact to your client.
Recommending and/or employing an approach or process on a consulting project that has already proven to be faulty with multiple, past clients.
Behaving or speaking in any way that is racist, misogynistic, or derogatory toward other people.
You’ve probably seen an infraction or two in your time. Help other readers avoid unconscionable mistakes by adding to the list.
Are there other, unforgivable consulting firm offenses?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.