Consultants get hired because they have inimitable experience and skill sets. They are expected to bring the answers. But to be really great at what they do, consultants must also be open-minded about considering new answers or revising their existing practices. A post at Consultants Mind describes the importance of having “strong opinions, loosely held.”
The post defines the two aspects of that statement in these terms:
Strong opinions. Management consultants are in the business of having opinions and making things happen. Clients don’t pay us to give flip-floppy recommendations (long pro/con lists with a lot of “well on the other hand”). Who wants to pay $250-600 per hour for lukewarm advice. We are consultants – not pundits, project managers, or staff-for-hire. Consider yourself a consultant? Then, come up with potential solutions, not equivocation. …
Loosely held. It’s a paradox because (YES), you believe in what you are saying, but (YES) you are open-minded and can be convinced otherwise. [Entrepreneur Marc Andreessen] explains why he loves hanging out with hedge fund managers – namely, because they are open-minded, and willing to change their mind.
That is the long and short of it right there, but the author also touches upon various ways that you can express those two aspects. For instance, verbalize your assumptions to others as a means of testing their validity. Do this with people in various different roles at your client. Additionally, you should try to seek out contrary views to your own as a way to prevent confirmation bias.
For additional thoughts, you can view the original post here: http://www.consultantsmind.com/2017/09/06/strong-opinions-loosely-held/