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I enjoy all of your posts Chuck but this one is especially welcomed. I am an external consultant and sometimes a less than favorable message must be delivered. Sometimes, to a larger group where it is received in many shades of positive through negative depending on their personal stake.

Thanks, Ian. I'm glad that my thoughts have hit a nerve. I would have thought though, that an external consultant would be less concerned about delivering unwanted news. Granted, there is still that awkward moment (or more), but at least your career is less likely to be on the line. Of course, they could always decline your future services, I suppose .

Consultants are hired to be fired. Could not count the number of frustrated HR clients who brought me in over the years to bluntly address some critical issue senior management refused to solve despite the insiders' polite warnings. Sometimes it takes a mercenary from outside to "take the bullet" or "throw yourself on the grenade" for regular employees who lack a backup job opportunity. The independent contractor is retained to tell the honest truth, especially important when it is unpopular. Being a troubleshooter is like being a firefighter.

I think it's also important to explain that there were other options. "We considered solution A, B, and C, but we saw B as the most effective (or least-disruptive) solution." It makes it clear to your audience that this decision wasn't made capriciously.

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