Why Do Consultants Fail to Deliver Successful Results to Their Clients? This article offers ten reasons that should be obvious but are all too often overlooked. Whether you are a consultant or an employer, read on.

1. Not Understanding the Business.
A lethal and all too common mistake consultants make is that they don’t understand their client’s business. It’s not enough to know about the business or industry, or to offer up boilerplate solutions. It’s imperative to know the history, mission, goals, competitors and stakeholders related to the organization.

2. One Size Fits All?
When it comes to processes, people, communications, strategies and solutions–one size does not fit all. Let best practices be your guide, but always put your intuition and expertise to work in defining each component, and their impact on the complete solution, along the way.

3. They Don’t Listen.
You can’t have a “know it all” attitude and expect to discover and understand critical pain points that will allow you to provide relevant analysis. By not listening, or by ignoring what your client says, you will miss key factors stunting your ability to make the best and most profitable recommendations.

4. Improper Connections.
Failing to recognize the value in identifying and connecting with the right players is like playing cards with a partial deck. For example, consultants too often misread the inner workings of an organization by catering only to the top level. The failure is in not realizing the significance of those who are most responsible for the frontline work. If you miscalculate here, it will throw off your entire solutions algorithm.

5. Tunnel vision.
Adjust your lens. It is critical to see the whole picture–that includes processes and people. Once you have identified all relevant components and dynamics, you will be able to start outlining how things fit together and begin to work toward formulating successful solutions.

6. Lack of Value.
No one will care about your list of accomplishments, your perfectly crafted proposals, or how articulate and persuasive you are if all you have to offer is a repackaging of what they already knew. It’s all about adding value and offering real solutions for their pain.

7. Bad Fit.
Like any successful relationship, it takes two… and not just any two. There needs to be a complementary fit in order to achieve agreed upon outcomes. Not all consultants are cross-functional. If an organization requires someone with an understanding of cutting edge technology implementation in the public space–they probably don’t want someone who has a perfect track record in the private non-profit healthcare services arena–but absolutely no technical prowess.

8. Poor Communication.
This can be a real deal killer. Your communication needs to be clear and relevant. You need to be an expert listener and be able to have open useful dialogue. Be prompt with responses, reports and feedback to all of the appropriate players. And, you need to be able to articulate the pain, goals and solutions.

9. Sloppiness.
This should be a given but unfortunately it is not. You need to respect the client by coming prepared to meetings, being organized, communicating clearly, showing up on time, interacting in a respectful and prompt manner and making sure to deliver on your promises. If you don’t pay attention to details, it will show.

10. Lack of Integrity.
Credibility, trust and respect are important in all healthy relationships. By ignoring the importance and impact of integrity, you risk failure. You can’t be dishonest, manipulative, deceitful, abusive or negligent and expect to be rewarded. There is only one keeper of your reputation–you!

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