The Straw Man Is Your Friend

“Straw Man,” not to be confused with the poor, brainless scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, is a different kind of tool we consultants use. A straw man is an early draft of an idea or a target “to be” that is specifically designed for people to poke holes in. Legend has it the term…

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Talking Shop: The Things We Say

Part of the fun of being a consultant is using our own, special vocabulary. (And recognizing that sometimes, to other people, we sound ridiculous.) But more importantly, when done well, jargon can add to your credibility and perceived competence. Some of our consultant-speak is technical terminology, while some of it is just buzzwords. And the…

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The Mystique of a Consultant

A person that always exceeds expectations is always admired, right? Maybe not…when you’re a consultant. A good first impression is key for a strong, lasting relationship. Therefore, it can be tempting to give away a little extra time and effort for a new client, even if it isn’t in the contract and won’t show up…

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Avoiding Groupthink: How a Consultant is a Professional "Frenemy"

Sometimes a project goes just perfectly. People like you and trust you, they laugh at all your jokes, and they accept your ideas. Development is moving ahead on schedule, and, best of all, you genuinely believe you’ve thought through every variable and allowed for every contingency. And then six months later, when the project has…

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5 Things You Should Always Document

In 1170, four knights under Henry II murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket in cold blood. Unfortunately, their client didn’t document the order, and Henry pleaded ignorance while the knights were exiled. The lesson here for medieval assassins and modern consultants: “If it’s not written down, it didn’t happen.” Even if you’re used to having trust and…

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"Day One" How to Create a Great First Impression

The first day with a new project or consulting engagement can be nerve racking. It is the time when you are least in your element, not to mention it is also when your new colleagues are scrutinizing you the most. Research suggests that even while their rational minds forgive you for first-day snafus, in their…

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