from client to consultant – a really candid perspective

While most of my colleagues completely agree with the following, the general feedback is “you shouldn’t say that in public . . . “

One of the truly brilliant people in the building industry today said that he was a lousy consultant.”     

Ridiculous.  He recently made a client-developer $30+ million (literally) in asset value…so far.

This started me thinking about what I’ve learned in the past couple years moving from employee to consultant.  If you are from the “Client-side” of the industry, you are probably used to approaching work with more of an Employee Philosophy over a consultant perspective.  

What’s important in an “Employee Philosophy”

  • Doing what is right for the asset /company to the best of your ability
  • Understanding  the detail & nuance
  • Long-term ramifications
  • Being as efficient as possible  
  • Honestly sharing the positives and negatives of a project

If you tend to follow this “Employee Philosophy” as a consultant – you probably are “a lousy consultant”. 

  • You don’t push to expand a scope of work beyond what’s needed.
  • You don’t “wow” clients with buzzwords that simply excite – and actually mean very little.
  • You don’t  tell clients what they want to hear – but rather share with them reality.
  • You don’t accept work that you can’t deliver exceptionally well.
  • You find the right answer – not the personally profitable answer.
  • You authentically care about the success of the client’s business.

There are lots of “lousy consultants” out there specializing in everything from landscape architecture to asset management to law to…marketing development.  Some are doing really well with clients that will go nowhere else as  they simply value integrity and performance.  

However, many companies tend to prefer “exciting consultants” that when you scratch beneath the surface  the real depth of knowledge,  character and value isn’t quite there, albeit entertaining. (This is unfortunately so prevalent, there is a coined name for this phenomenon, which I won’t share here.)

BOTTOM-LINE:  If you want trustworthy, innovative  work partners ,  you would be well served to find talented experts, who may also just happen to be  “lousy consultants” .



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