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Preface

Preface

Conventional wisdom suggests that an author should focus on the needs of the reader. I confess I took the decision to be selfish. I wanted to write a book I would use as a personal guide, memory-jogger and communication tool. However, my belief (and the argument in this book) is that the principles of consulting are sufficiently generic to ensure that what I find of use will also be of interest to colleagues in other companies and industries. The underlying principles are:

  • Consulting is fundamentally about change, about helping another person, team or organization make the transformation from one state to another. This might be a physical, cognitive, emotional, structural, technological or organizational change. Unless something changes, then why should any reward be forthcoming from the client?

  • Any consulting project will benefit from the application of a change model that makes sense to the client as well as the consultant.

  • Consulting is consulting. Scale, context and outcomes may differ, but the basic steps are common to all assignments.

  • Since content and context drive a consulting project, no two will be the same. So any consulting framework can only act as an indicative rather than a directive model.

  • Successful consulting is about making a difference for the client and consumer - the goal is to deliver the contracted change, not a successful consultancy project.

These guiding principles are used to underpin the Seven Cs, from meeting the client to closing the contract and saying goodbye. However, they are not offered as sacrosanct principles that must be employed in all situations. Such a rigid approach ultimately leads to the desire to implement wholesale replicated change programmes, which in turn lead to only limited success. That approach is often behind the cynicism about the consulting industry. The aim of this book is to offer an outline framework within which each consultant can understand the context of a situation and then develop a solution that is appropriate (Lissack, 1999).

I hope that you accept my ideas in the spirit in which they are offered. Although the intention is always to offer ways and means, not must and should, this is difficult when certain ideals and beliefs are felt with passion. So although parts of the book might appear to be directive in nature, if the reader ever feels that the style or content is offering the "right solution", then it should be consigned to the waste bin.

To prepare yourself for the world that is coming, you must understand why it will be different from what most experts tell you.

(Rees-Mogg and Davidson, 1997)

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