Consulting Best Practices

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 a good representation of the variables has been considered should decisions be made. Hence, before an exploration of the facts occurs, the best answer to give to a yes/no question is, “It depends.” Of course, you should also buffer this answer when you give it; otherwise, you will just sound evasive. It is important to articulate that you have the interests of the business in mind, and you intend to arrive at a better answer promptly.

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