How Herding Cats Allows Consultants To Get Things Done

herding cats
Herding cats: Getting things done

I’ve worked with clients who had their own project methodologies. In most cases it was a binder or two somewhere on a bookshelf. It might have even been distributed in binders on everyone’s desk.

Unfortunately, that was often where it ended. It has been my experience that many clients don’t follow methodologies even when they have them. At least it is not followed consistently. One person may follow a few aspects of it and another person may use other features. Meanwhile, the general population of project leads all do things their own way. Their approaches are gathered from a collection of practices and habits from previous jobs.
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6 Ways Consultants Can Impact Organizational Change

Organizational Change
Improving Organizational Change

Ask any random business people what first comes to mind when they think of the word “consultant.” Some will tell you that they steal your watch to tell you the time. You might hear that they train their people on one client in order to charge higher rates at the next client. But some may utter a single word and most people will know what they are talking about: shelfware.

What is shelfware?

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How I Learned that Burning Bridges is A Career Limiting Move

burning bridges
Why you shouldn’t be burning bridges

When I was in high school, I had a job at a restaurant. At one point, being a mature 16-year old, I wanted to quit. I didn’t just want to quit. I wanted to tell the boss off and storm out of the place.

I was talking to my dad about it. He told me that I shouldn’t be burning bridges like that.

“Dad, I’m not going to set anything on fire.” I responded.
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6 Reasons Client Employees Hate Consultants

hate consultants
Why client employees hate consultants

When a consultant shows up at a new client, it’s always a good idea to have one’s guard up. It’s very possible that he or she is entering hostile territory. It’s nothing personal. Okay, maybe it’s a little personal. You did decide to become a consultant after all.

I used to wonder why clients distrusted us consultants so much. Over the years I learned that it was a combination of past experience, confusion, and a little over-generalization. One of the major causes is, like any category of people, there are always some people in a group that give everyone a bad name.
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5 Things I Hate About Consulting

hate about consulting
What I hate about consulting: Enemy status

Since I wrote the first edition of Consulting 101 in 2010, an updated 2nd Edition this year, over 200 consulting-related blogs, and recording over fifty podcasts on Consulting and Professional Services Radio, I have done a lot to profess my love for the consulting profession.

As in any profession however, there are a few things that I hate about consulting.
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How the Client Senses the Consultant Spy

consultant spy
The consultant spy

In the book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the 5th book of the insanely popular series by J. K. Rowling, a new teacher is introduced. Professor Umbridge becomes a formidable antagonist in the story.

She is appointed by Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, initially as a teacher of Defense against the Dark Arts. She later becomes Headmaster of Hogwarts. During her tenure, she was known to hold a clipboard as she observed the students’ behavior, taking notes, but not revealing any of her thoughts.
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How Conflicting Objectives Cause Office Politics

conflicting objectives
Conflicting objectives leads to office politics

On the morning of January 5th, Tom Parks, director of application development, filed into the company auditorium with the rest of his co-workers to hear the president give his “state of the company” speech. It was a routine Tom knew well. The president gave this presentation annually during the first week of the year. He spoke at length about Morrison Manufacturing’s performance over the past year. He thanked all of the employees for their hard work and talked about how bright the future looked. This opened the door for him to present his audience with the company’s top objectives for the coming year.

The president proudly announced that in the year ahead, Morrison Manufacturing will:
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Consulting Downside: Separation Anxiety

consulting downside
A consulting downside

When I began interviewing with companies during my senior year of college, it was important for me to find a company that had a good culture. I had an outgoing personality and liked to have fun. I wanted a corporate culture that closely matched my personality.

Consulting upside

I interviewed with consulting firms and other business organizations. I was lucky to find a consulting firm for my first job that had the culture I was looking for. After a few weeks of orientation, I came back to the office for a couple more weeks, waiting for an assignment. I had some time to develop some relationships with people in our office. Some of them were in the office full-time (overhead), while some of the people were consultants like me waiting to get their next assignment.
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Is That an Employee or Consultant?

employee or consultant
Is that an employee or consultant?

When I started my career in consulting, I was part of a consulting team. We went to the client and worked as a blended team where there were approximately half of us as consultants and half as client employees.

It wasn’t long until I realized that some of the folks that I considered client employees were actually consultants, either independent contractors or employed with other firms. I didn’t know if a person was an employee or consultant.
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101 Tips for Success in Consulting