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Monday, March 1, 2010

Clients Don't Want Advice, They Want Results

In doing some research this weekend (the not so glamorous life of an MBA student) I came across an interesting bit of information about strategic consulting:
Recent trends have shown clients to be tired of strategy in itself.  They have become increasingly sophisticated consumers of strategy consulting services, and are looking for results that can be implemented quickly.  Clients have become more results-driven with the result being a greater desire for compensation to consultants being tied to these results.
The above is from the Business and Company Resource Center, a proprietary database that I can't paste a link to (check out your local library for access).  It's a short excerpt from a much broader industry analysis, but I think it makes two notable points:
  •  Clients want to be able to implement changes quickly.  They have a problem, and they want to hire someone to fix it ASAP.
  • Clients are more inclined to hire a consulting firm whose compensation is based on achievement of predetermined goals. 
Both of these points can be good for clients.  They force the client and consultant to determine what their objectives are up front, and they ensure that incentives are aligned accordingly.

However, both of these points have their drawbacks.  Being held to a rigid time-line and agenda limit a consulting firm's ability to advise.  Consultants that are paid to complete a specific task will complete it, even if it is not in the client's best interest.
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