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On the other hand, nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it. Chuck offers valid reasons consultants are disposable hirelings, paid to say what would get a regular employee fired. Outside mercenaries are retained to speak the unthinkable for a flat fee, after which it becomes more difficult to ignore the recommendations that were purchased.

That presumes you use an honorable consultant, of course. They are usually the ones who argue against practices that would funnel money to themselves while not serving the best interests of their clients. As in government, proposing is not the same as disposing. Different roles have different limits.

You've said it Chuck. Thanks. In the end, the client has to have the intestinal fortitude to propose and defend change to management and/or the Board (with the consultant's support), and then work through the more challenging processes of implementing change.
Management can ask 'funny' questions and act 'funny' when it comes to approving (major) change. But Boards, can be even MORE 'funny.' Boards often have you running all over the map with their questions. If you are lucky, Board questions can have the consultant and client doing the old two-step Potomac Dance: two steps forward, one step backwards. Classic questions from Boards include: Has this worked anywhere? Do you know any companies that are successfully doing what you are proposing? Interpretation: We understand your logic and data, etc., but we really do NOT want to be (among) the first to try it, [even though our mission, vision, claim to fame, advertising, .... make constant reference to 'leading' or 'leadership' or 'innovation' or ‘thinking outside the box’ or 'delivering new solutions' or …. to words suggesting that we are really very progressive.

Thanks once again.

I guess one of the keys is to listen to customer and early on in a project assess change readiness. Sometimes creating the case for change and a shared vision can take a long time. I would also add that if the customer is blind to these elements or chooses to ignore them it's a warning sign. I think management and boards also want convincing and that may mean commiting to a pilot program first to prove out a concept.

There is a joke here about turning horses that have died from thirst into glue.


My father-in-law, a cattle rancher, laughed when I quoted the old "you can lead a horse to water" thing. I asked why it was funny and he told me that if a horse didn't want to go, you could not lead it. The first goal was to make sure you didn't get a horse that was too dumb to understand that water was important.

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