Shirley J. Caruso, Ed.D.
Consultants should be very upfront about their wants. All consultant wants are logical. Consultants shouldn’t dismiss a want as too small or too big. As consultants, we may not always receive all of our wants from our clients, but we may reach a comfortable negotiation on our wants and divide them into two categories: essential and desirable. It’s okay for consultants to “want” because the more things clients want (and receive) the more likely the project is to be successful. A consultant’s mentality should change from I am here to serve the client and my client’s wants are what matter to It’s my duty to ask for what I want to help the project succeed.
Access to the key people who have a part in the problem a consultant is being asked to solve and enough time to professionally complete the project are two wants that are crucial to the success of a consulting project. Having access to key people will help the consultant uncover the root of the problem and provide the consultant with a team that has a decisive part of implementing the solution.
Engaging this team is essential to the project’s success. Those who helped create the problem are the best people to help fix it. Without their support of the project, it is unlikely that implementation will succeed. Providing the best solution to a problem takes time. If any of the phases are skipped or poorly performed, the project stands a good chance of failing. Consultants who want a certain amount of time and clients who are not willing to offer that amount of time constitute an incompatible relationship. Time is a necessary want that should not be negotiated. A project that has an unrealistic time constraint is a project from which a consultant should walk away.