The 10 Rules of Successful Consulting

Last Updated Jun 25, 2008 2:15 PM EDT

  • consultant.JPGThe Find: A veteran consultant offers his top ten tips on how consultants can best serve their clients (even in spite of clients' occasional irrationality).
  • The Source: The blog of software developer and occasional consultant, Chad Myers.
The Takeaway: Techie Chad Myers uses his blog to offer some advice on how consultants can best-serve their customers gained through his experience at a large government institution. Though his background is in IT, Myers' insights could apply to consultants across the business spectrum. Among his top ten rules are:
  1. Don't expect the customer to be rational. If the customer didn't have problems, they wouldn't have needed to hire you.
  2. ABS -- Always Be Solving (problems). It's better to solve a problem 80 percent correct and revise the 20 percent than wait for a 100 percent plan.
  3. If you don't know how to solve a problem learn or hire someone who does.
  4. Deflect glory to your manager -- that's a big reason why they hired you.
  5. Never complain. Managers have enough of that, that's why they need you. You're their machete in the jungle of red tape. Try to affect positive change, or leave.
  6. Be a "yes man" in meetings and then do what's right behind the scenes. Avoid confrontation in a meeting that might embarrass your customer. Defer arguments and confrontations until later.
  7. If you're asked to compromise principles, find a way to avoid it or quit. Remember: Integrity is your main asset
Find the complete set of rules and other bits of wisdom (example: "Never assume that management actually wants your project to succeed") on Myers' blog.

The Question: Any tips for successful consulting that Myers missed?

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.