You and your consulting firm are pretty spiffy. But does your firm employ the one, best consulting approach? Let’s find out.
You savor the evidence that your consulting firm produces excellent work. Glowing testimonials and multiple, word-of-mouth referrals provide ample evidence that your consulting firm consistently pleases your clients.
Yet, other consulting firms proceed quite differently from yours, and they, too, receive rave reviews from clients and word-of-mouth referrals.
That’s because the act of consulting is like making a souffle. The best producers follow at least a rough recipe, it’s harder to get right than you’d think, and there are myriad flavors, most of which result in client delight. (Though chocolate undisputedly tops the list.)
So, you already know the obvious answer to the lead-in question: your consulting firm does not employ the one, best consulting approach because there isn’t one best approach.
But wait. If you bite a bit deeper into this topic you’ll find a valuable, umami-rich reward.
One lesson 2020 sledgehammered into those of us residing in the USA is that there are people—a lot of people—who do not think what you think; who hold divergent and incompatible needs, desires, beliefs and values.*
You could simply accept that other people and other consulting firms are different from you, and blithely prance away or angrily shake your fist at the other side’s backward thinking.
Or, you could question your own beliefs and seek to understand other viewpoints.
As a consulting firm leader, choose the latter approach.
For your consulting firm to constantly up its game, you have to consider where your approach may be sub-optimal.
To win more clients, enhance your clients’ experience and enjoy higher fees, you have to dig into why other smart people might eschew the cherished concepts and practices your consulting firm tightly embrace.
At least once during every consulting engagement, formally face “The Challenge.”
- Create a challenger squad: at least one colleague who can help you tear apart your consulting work.
- Assign your challenger squad a mission: find at least one error in your consulting firm’s thinking. (Or the thinking of your project team.)
- Have the squad deeply question your project assumptions, your approach, your answers and the recommendations you plan to make to your client.
- Rather than justifying and defending your current ideas and work, your charge is to fully understand why your challenger squad thinks differently.
- Once you fully understand opposing points of view, then improve your work.
Pre-schedule The Challenge into your work plan. Literally build it into your project calendar.
Braving The Challenge on every project will prepare you to gracefully navigate different viewpoints. More importantly, you’ll regularly (if painfully) find opportunities to upgrade your consulting firm’s beliefs, ways of thinking, approaches and results.
Two next steps:
Schedule The Challenge into each of your firm’s current consulting projects.
Join a virtual challenge squad right now:
Post one assumption or approach you see other consultants make that’s often wrong.
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.