As a CEO, I used to dread engaging consultants. It seemed like their primary agenda was to extend the engagement so they would get paid more, not to help me solve my problem. I promised myself I would not do that if I ever became a consultant. To me, good consulting engagements begin at the end. The first thing I and a prospective client should determine is this:
How will we know if we are successful?
Without knowing this, expectations can get misaligned and that is a primary source of dissatisfaction. Until that question is answered, neither I nor the prospective client can tell if and how I can be helpful. This is true for time-limited, project-based engagements and retainer-based ones as well. Defining “success” can determine the end of the project or, in the case of a retainer arrangement, the achievement of ongoing goals.
My national and international consulting engagements
typically fall into the following categories:
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (BHIT)
These engagements address things like analyzing and modifying clinical workflows in EHRs and other clinical processes or helping BHIT startups with real world assessment of product functionality and go-to-market strategies.
LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
Clients wanting services in this domain usually request either an objective voice
regarding senior and middle management capabilities and decision making or an external source for mentorship of middle and senior leaders.
BOARD GOVERNANCE AND STRATEGIC PLANNING
These engagements often focus on some aspect of the board-chief executive
relationship and/or helping boards become more functional. I also facilitate strategic planning sessions with boards.