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Five Supremely Practical Ways Gratitude Benefits Your Consulting Firm

At this time of year, one word is bandied about with unusual frequency. It turns out that word can help you win more consulting business.

Each Friday I pause to consider everything I have to be grateful for. Family, friends, an incredibly high-functioning team that is a blast to work with, whip-smart readers like you, my wife’s chocolate chip cookies that somehow have no sugar but taste amazing. 

Some wise folks do this exercise every day. Others limit their gratitude to a day here or there such as Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) or when they exchange gifts.

Gratitude is terrific. Warm and snuggly as a cashmere afghan. But how does that one word help your consulting firm?

Five Ways Gratitude Benefits Your Consulting Firm

Strengthens Your Relationships

We consultants are in a human business. People sharing ideas, experience, advice and insights with other people. Your consulting firm’s success rests in large measure on your facility with creating strong relationships.

Acknowledging another person strengthens your bond with them. It says, “You’ve made a positive difference in my life.” That message is the ultimate cement between two people.

Mutual appreciation nourishes mutual trust, and trust is the bedrock on which client/consulting firm partnerships are built.

Transforms Your Relationships

My team often leads training sessions for rainmakers at boutique consulting firms. At the end of these sessions, when the accolades and acknowledgements would normally flow to one of my teammates or me, we suggest the participants thank their colleagues around the room (or Zoom screen) instead.

There’s invariably five heartbeats of utter stillness before folks start offering appreciation to each other with a light chuckle. Why the awkward silence and laughter?

Because giving thanks makes you vulnerable. It conveys you are human and indebted and “inferior” enough to another person that you were able to gain from them. That’s a boatload of vulnerability. But when you drop your guard, you create space for the other person to open up too.

Why is that important? Because reaching out to a consultant to ask for help is an extremely vulnerable act for a prospect. It’s an admission that they need help.

When you are vulnerable with your prospects and clients, you increase the likelihood that they will share their needs (and business) with you.

Makes Networking Painless

Reaching out to your contact list is a necessary, but sometimes excruciating, aspect of your consulting firm’s business development. If you don’t have anything to say, picking up the phone holds less appeal than holding back shoppers from the Black Friday door busters at a Best-Buy.

But when you’re connecting to offer a Thank You, it’s easy. And fun.

No one has ever complained about being appreciated.

Builds Your Confidence

Gratitude and positive outcomes are inextricably linked. You’re thankful for a consulting project because it bolsters your bank account and reduces financial stress. You’re thankful for advice because it helps you succeed.

When you express thanks you are acknowledging something positive in your life. Every Thank You to a colleague or client or mentor is quietly exclaiming, “My consulting business has benefited!” Take a moment to soak up all those business benefits. What does that do for your confidence level?

Plus, when you honor your consulting clients’ and colleagues’ contribution to your business well-being, they frequently will remind you of how you’ve helped them.

Ironically, offering thanks to others will put you in better touch with how you create value in the world.

Creates a Success Habit

Research shows that gratitude sparks happiness and happiness precedes success.

Every day you tap into your gratitude is a day that accelerates your progress.

As I update this annual gratitude article, I have much to be thankful for.

High on the list is the input, support and friendship of consultants around the world. Many I’ve never met, many are new relationships and many have become clients. All, including you, have added value in my life.

Thank you for reading my articles and books. Thank you for making a difference to me, to my amazing team, and to so many others.

  1. Fred
    November 25, 2015 at 12:55 pm Reply

    Even little shows of gratitude work. I once got a nice client because I was the only bidder to send a personal, handwritten thank you note after the first meeting.

    • Christian
      November 24, 2021 at 8:35 am Reply

      Thanks for sharing the importance of being human with people. People want to do business with people. Being grateful brings out the pleasantness in your self and others. Its also just a nice thing to focus on. So, be well and be grateful.

      • David A. Fields
        November 24, 2021 at 8:55 am Reply

        Consulting is a very human business. Even in technical consulting and even in the Zoom era, we are working with people– people with feelings, ambitions, worries, etc. Connecting on the personal, human front is essential.

        Thank you for adding your thoughts, Christian. I’m especially appreciative of readers like you who post your ideas and reactions.

  2. David A. Fields
    November 25, 2015 at 3:15 pm Reply

    Excellent point, Fred: gratitude doesn’t have to be over the top. A simple gesture can go a long way. Your example is terrific. Thanks for sharing it, Fred.

  3. Lisa Hamaker
    November 29, 2015 at 4:09 pm Reply

    I am thankful for your wise, witty and concise advice David–today as much as when we worked 18 hours days on that project over Thanksgiving lo those many years ago.

    I am also grateful that my mom can use a computer. Most days we send one another an email with few gratitudes. It has helped us thru challenging times and to learn things about one another that we would possibly not have made space for otherwise, and helped me stay grounded in the important things in life. Plus, I will have them to read long after she is gone. I have 663 messages from her so far.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    • David A. Fields
      November 30, 2015 at 9:28 pm Reply

      Lisa, thank you so much for the kind words! Wow, what a heartwarming story about your mom.

      Modern technology has done wonders to bring scattered families back together. Video-chats with kids at college or elderly parents, or both. Email exchanges don’t have the grace or eloquence of letters our great-grandparents wrote, but their ease and quickness makes them so much more like a live conversation.

      Thank you for your hard work, for staying in touch and for proving to the world that consultants who subcontract for me survive the experience… and even thrive! (And give my best to your mom.)

      • Dr. Julia Taylor
        November 27, 2019 at 11:12 pm Reply

        Great advice.

        • David A. Fields
          November 28, 2019 at 9:00 am

          As with all advice, wouldn’t it have been wonderful if we had listened to it decades ago… and isn’t it wonderful that we’re listening now instead of next year or another decade? Thanks for the feedback, Julia!

  4. Ara A. Jeknavorian
    November 23, 2016 at 8:54 am Reply


    Excellent advice on the use of the priceless word, “Thank You.” While this expression would seem to flow naturally when expressing appreciation for something that goes well in your favor, I would stress that “thank you” has even greater impact as a response when the outcome of some proposal or endeavor is not favorable. For example, you submitted a proposal for a project, and it did not materialize. I would still “thank” the owner of the project for taking the time and making the effort to consider my plan. Or, some advice or corrective action is offered for a particular problem, and it is not found suitable. I would thank the customer for the opportunity to provide input. Of course, the universal companion word that goes with “thank you” is PLEASE, which one cannot overuse in much of our communications. Happy Thanksgiving to all your readers.

    • David A. Fields
      November 23, 2016 at 10:50 am Reply

      Truly outstanding advice, Ara. A bit of “glass half full” thinking goes a long way and helps you realize how much you have to be grateful for in any situation.

      When consultants I’m working with don’t win a project (yeah, occasionally that happens), I encourage them to recognize the feel good they had an opportunity and capture the learning for future prospects. As you point out, every time we stumble is a chance to learn, grow, and become stronger… all of which are cause for thankfulness.

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment, Ara.

  5. Christina Dyer
    November 23, 2016 at 10:43 am Reply

    I am thankful for your witty, entertaining and always sage wisdom David. Thank you for your generosity of spirit!

    • David A. Fields
      November 23, 2016 at 10:52 am Reply

      Christina, generosity has a tendency to build on itself. (Like mold, I suppose, but nicer.) It’s a pleasure for me to share when members of my community like you are so giving in return. Thank you for the warm feedback.

    • Franziska R.
      December 3, 2019 at 3:49 pm Reply

      Ditto. Thanks, Christina (and others), for putting into words what a delight David’s helpful advice is. And thanks again to David, the source of that wisdom and entertainment!

      • David A. Fields
        December 3, 2019 at 10:08 pm Reply

        Y’all are going to make the stick figures blush. There’s little better than being part of a group that genuinely appreciates and supports each other. That’s what we’ve built here, and I’m deeply grateful to you, Franziska, and others who have contributed so generously.

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