Consultants Give Clients a Kick in the Seat of the Pants

Kick in the Seat of the Pants
Giving Clients a Kick in the Seat of the Pants

There are many types of consultants.

Some consultants strictly give advice.  They may perform a study of the client’s internal processes, review their financials and submit a report detailing the changes the client should make to improve.

Some consultants provide additional staff that a client needs to augment their staffing needs for a temporary period of time.

Still other consultants serve the client by managing a major project for them.  They may also provide advice and additional staffing that the client may need, but their main focus is on managing the project for the client.

As a consulting project manager, this last type is the one in which I’ve been most involved.  Clients generally keep a staff sufficient to maintain their existing systems.  But when a major effort is planned, they need to bring in an additional team to plan and execute it.

While they bring in the project specialists, their current staff is busy with their every day work. But, the consulting team can’t do that all by themselves.  They need input from the various groups within the client.  They usually need the business and IT teams – at a minimum – to be available to provide input.

Many companies make the mistake of trying to save money by doing a project themselves.  When the client teams are busy with their own responsibilities, it’s easy to put the new project on the back burner.

For more information, see Client Relations for Consultants

A kick in the seat of the pants

Have you ever had a project around the house that you decide to save money and do it yourself?  For example, let’s say you decide to finish the basement.  You’re handy enough to frame up the walls, put up drywall and install a false ceiling, right?  And why should you hire someone to do something as easy as painting?

But once you get deep into the project, you realize how much work is involved and how many responsibilities you already have.  The project takes much longer than you anticipated.  Additionally, framing a wall to be square and taping and mudding the drywall turn out to be a little more involved than your handiwork can handle.

Eventually, you lose interest and motivation and leave the project half-done.

See my related post: How Herding Cats Allows Consultants To Get Things Done

Getting it done

If you had hired a professional – and responsible – contractor to do the work, they would certainly have required your input throughout the project for various questions.  Though you were busy, you would have made it priority because the longer you delayed, the more the project would cost and the longer it would take.

Hiring an outside consulting firm ensures that they will have the time and know-how to get the project done on time.  They also provide discipline to the client to give them a kick in the seat of the pants to provide the necessary feedback to help the consulting team complete the project.

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms. 

Related Posts
Estimating Your Work Like Ferris Bueller
I live in the Chicago area and I love the city of Chicago.  As an extension, I love the movies based in Chicago.  From The Blues Brothers to The Untouchables ...
READ MORE
Client Focus: Telling Him He Has No Clothes
  As you may know, the folk tale The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen is the story of two dishonest weavers who convince an emperor that they can make ...
READ MORE
7 Things to Do When a Project Ends
There comes a time in every consulting project when the project ends for a consultant, normally known as “rolling off”. Consultants are, by nature, temporary workers.  The end of the gig ...
READ MORE
Some Consulting What Ifs
What if Consultants… Focused on client issues rather than margin and billable hours Acted as if they were guests at a client site – not subservient, but not condescending Said no to the ...
READ MORE
Protecting Client Confidentiality
Doctors are required to protect confidential patient medical information by law with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Lawyers are held to an attorney-client privilege holding them to ...
READ MORE
Make Yourself Indispensable
Unless you’re an undertaker, repeat business should always be your goal.  Whether you are an independent consultant or serving on a large project from a large firm, your main goal ...
READ MORE
How to Deal with Emotional Clients
I’ve usually been able to manage my emotions in business settings.  Everyone makes mistakes and I’ve always had a tolerance for that. But every once in a while, you get a ...
READ MORE
Old School Consulting
Some of the concepts I promote in my book and blogs could be seen by many as an old school approach to consulting. Suggestions such as showing up to meetings on ...
READ MORE
Michael Jordan and the Consultant’s Public Image
I loved watching Michael Jordan play for The Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.  In those days, everybody seemed to want to “Be like Mike”.  I remember thinking about how isolated ...
READ MORE
Why Would You Need a Consultant?
I’ve known people in the business world that don’t believe in using consultants.  These people believe that consultants are over-priced hacks who “borrow your watch to tell you the time”.  ...
READ MORE
Estimating Your Work Like Ferris Bueller
Client Focus: Telling Him He Has No Clothes
7 Things to Do When a Project Ends
Some Consulting What Ifs
Protecting Client Confidentiality
Make Yourself Indispensable
How to Deal with Emotional Clients
Old School Consulting
Michael Jordan and the Consultant’s Public Image
Why Would You Need a Consultant?