Tag Archives: Etiquette

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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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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Client Focus: Telling Him He Has No Clothes

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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 him a set of clothes which can only be seen by competent people.

When the emperor and his underlings can’t see the non-existent suit of clothes, they pretend that they can, to avoid exposing their own presumed incompetence.

A young boy, who isn’t clear on the concept, sees the emperor parading around naked and cries out, “He’s not wearing any clothes.”

It’s a common parallel in the business world. If the boss says something incorrect – or even stupid – in a meeting, few, if any, will point out the faux pas in public. Many will not even point it out to him or her in private.
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Team Room Headphones and Productivity

teamroom
Headphones in the teamroom

In many consulting environments, we work in a team room huddled up working together. There are many reasons for this.  From a practical sense, the client often doesn’t have cubicle or office space to house the entire team. They find a conference room or a single unused office, set up a large table and that room is now the team’s war room. Continue reading Team Room Headphones and Productivity

Reluctant Clients: Gaining Buy In

client buyin
Gaining client buying

“We’re from corporate and we’re here to help.”

It’s the common joke for anyone who works for a living; for anyone who feels they know their job and doesn’t need high paid executives, who wouldn’t know a customer if it bit him in the behind.

In general, we don’t like outsiders coming in and telling us our business. The same applies when the ultimate outsider comes in and tells you how to run your business: The consultant.

Consulting services are purchased by the very executives at corporate that are despised by the worker bees. Consultants come in and disrupt everything.
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Does That Guy Really Bother You?

bother you
Does that guy really bother you?

As a consultant, you get a unique array of seating arrangements.  It’s rare for a client to give their consultants a corner office with a view.  About the only corner office you’ll get is the cubicle in a high traffic area.

In most cases, a consultant is seated in a project room with a number of people; fellow consultants, competing consultants and client employees.  I’ve sat in team rooms with a few as four people, to large ones with as many as fifteen.

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Airing the Consulting Firm’s Dirty Laundry

Dirty Laundry
The Consulting Firm’s Dirty Laundry

I was once at a client where I had developed an excellent relationship with one of their employees. We got to the point where we began going to lunch on a regular basis and would occasionally stop for a drink after work. It’s usually a good development when your client relationship gets to that.

The client’s dirty laundry

Our relationship began to evolve from talking just about business and the project we had in common, to talking about our families and hobbies.  Eventually, we got to the point one night over drinks where he began talking about office politics and, even worse, office gossip.
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Protecting Client Confidentiality

Client Confidentiality
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 strict confidentiality rules.

Consultants are not held to such standards by law.  But any consultant with any level of professional ethics makes sure to keep his or her client’s information safe.  Most consultants don’t give out client information on purpose.  It’s usually done through carelessness and negligence.  What are some of the ways it occurs?

Multitasking

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