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Consulting Best Practices

Pushing Past Ego to Sell Your Professional Services

A few rotten apples can spoil the pie for everyone. In the case of consulting, it has developed a reputation for arrogance and annoying know-it-alls. In a post for the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Mark Haas describes how you can avoid coming off that way yourself. Basically, it comes down to being able to just stick to the facts. Tell prospective clients about the specific (terrific) results you generated for previous clients, and then …

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Learn to Have Strong Opinions, Loosely Held

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.” Gently Tight The post defines the two aspects of that statement in these terms: Strong opinions. Management consultants are in …

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The Problem of Consultant Roll-off

In a post at Consulting 101, Lew Sauder discusses the temporal challenges that come with a consultant being rolled off of a project. How abrupt is too abrupt to terminate a consultant, and how far in advance is too impractical? Some consultants get shown the door on a convenient Friday afternoon, meaning that the rest of the staff will come back from the weekend to find the consultant (and his or her knowledge) has vanished …

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Getting to Agreement

Disagreement is a healthy part of business. Opposing viewpoints need to collide in order to create the most fully realized perspectives. However, eventually, people need to come to an agreement. Lew Sauder discusses how to get there in a post at Consulting 101. In the first place, clarify that all parties agree on what the actual problem is that they are trying to solve. It is no wonder if people disagree if they were never …

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Little Tips for Traveling Light

The more you bring with you in travel, the more you have to carry and the more you have to remember not to leave behind. Peter Gasca shares a few tips for lighter travel. For instance, select your garments carefully, considering factors like if something is easily cleaned should a mishap occur. Likewise, remember that something as simple as changing ties or blouses can create a whole new outfit from day to day. Do not …

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Don’t Overplay Your Leverage

There are those who live by the attitude that, if they have power, then they can use it however they would like. But there are repercussions to throwing around your weight without considering how it affects the people with whom you work, and it come could back to bite you. Lew Sauder discusses the danger of overplaying leverage in a post for Consulting 101. He says that there are two kinds of power—official and unofficial—and …

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How to Make Time for Real Work amid Endless Meetings

Managers and employees invested in “collaborative activities” can spend upward of 80 percent of their time in meetings, on the phone, or answering emails. Faced with numbers like that, how do you find any time leftover to actually do work? In an article for Fast Company, Laura Vanderkam shares some tips to make the best of the little time you have. Timeout Firstly, do not get overly optimistic—in spite of your best intentions, things will …

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The Value of ‘It Depends’

In business, and especially in consulting, the most honest answer to most questions is, “It depends”: Should we invest in this direction? Should we pivot strategy? It depends! As Lew Sauder explains in a post at Consulting 101, every big decision is “big” because it involves dozens or maybe hundreds of variables. The challenge of consultants is to weed out opinion from fact and present as many variables for client consideration as possible. Only when …

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Operate Your Presentation like a Pro

In an article for Consultant News, Toastmasters International’s Paul Carroll outlines some basic tips to give a presentation that is actually worth remembering. A good presentation begins with understanding your audience, which means you should study up on them beforehand. From there, develop a clear message that will be of interest to them. Be as concise as you can while still conveying all the essential details; you might be surprised how much information you can …

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What Is Hypothesis-Based Consulting?

A hypothesis is an educated guess on what you expect to have when given certain conditions. Hypothesis-based consulting then is the process of applying hypotheses to a business problem and systematically ruling out or revising them as more information is gathered. It is similar to detective work, except it could be that instead of one culprit to a problem that there are many. Data collection should however be aimed at confirming or disproving hypotheses. The …

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