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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Four Ways to Deliver Bad News Like Jerry Seinfeld

Comedians and consultants actually have a lot in common, and not just that they both hate airports. A consultant has to see things as they are, even if it means delivering news a client doesn’t want to hear. Jerry Seinfeld’s job is to make it funny while ours is to keep our projects and clients…

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Lessons In Avoiding Non-Apologies

2013 was another year of tragedy and triumph and, as usual, we all witnessed loads of colossal public gaffes. Just like every other year. And for every Paula Dean, Lance Armstrong and other famous celebrity mishap, there was often an equally embarrassing mea culpa. Many mistakes can’t be laughed off or explained away, so a…

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Sweat the Small Stuff…Sometimes

I once had an extended, heated argument with a client over adding 20 accounts to their 2,000+ value chart of accounts. I spent some of both my credibility and the client’s goodwill during the discussion, and to what end? We both ended up frustrated, and for a while our relationship was strained. There was no…

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Three Ways to Cope With Work Overload

Or, “How I learned to stop worrying and love the fact that I’m busy.” Sometimes it’s hard to help your clients keep things together without falling apart yourself. The more value you add, the more in demand you are, and the harder it is to get a handle on a workload that never seems to…

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