10 Questions to More Successful Consulting Engagements

There are 10 questions to more Successful Consulting Engagements that consultants may consider to ensure that their engagement with customers is effective. The key questions to consider include:

  • Who is the client?
  • How motivated are the client and organization to change?
  • What outcome is desired?
  • What would you like a consultant to do?
  • Who will be involved in the project?
  • What is the timeline?

Let us look at each question in a deeper Perspective.

  1. Who is the Client?

Tells us:

  • How much data we have gathered about the problem.
  • How clear the problem is to the organization.
  • Whether we’re solving symptoms or problems.
  • How many problems there may be.
  • Whether the problem is technical, personal, or both. (hint: it’s both!)
  1. Where Did the Problem Come From, and How Is It Being Managed?

Tells us:

  • How long the problem has existed and who is involved.
  • How much “duct tape” is involved.
  • What additional problems may have been caused by the previous “fixes.”
  • How much frustration or desperation there may be.
  • What solutions can be avoided because they’ve already been tried.
  1. What Is the History and Context?

Tells us:

  • More about the problem’s complexity.
  • What the organizational culture is like: degree of pain in general, how engaged employees are, past successes, or areas of frustration.
  1. What Are the Consequences If the Problem Is Not Fixed?

Tells us:

  • How important the problem may be to leaders and employees.
  • How ready the organization may be to change.
  1. Who Is the Client?

Tells us:

  • How many people are involved in the engagement?
  • What perspective the client may have on the problem.
  • Leadership’s relationship to the problem and to the engagement.
  • Who are the intermediate clients, day-to-day clients, end clients, peripheral clients….
  1. How Motivated Are the Client and Organization to Change?

Tells us:

  • Whether the problem exists only for the client or for others as well.
  • The likelihood of being able to tackle underlying problems.
  1. What Outcome Is Desired?

Tells us:

  • What success looks like.
  • Whether we have a clear sense of the purpose of the project.
  • Whether we have a realistic sense of the project.
  1. What Would You Like a Consultant to Do?

Tells us:

  • What role the consultant will take, and whether that role is appropriate.
  • How much involvement the client will take versus the consultant.
  1. Who Will Be Involved in the Project?

Tells us:

  • The complexity of the project in terms of number of people, kinds of people (one organization, multiple organizations).
  1. What is Your Timeline?

Tells us:

  • Whether the timeline is realistic for the outcomes desired.
  • What interim milestones need to be considered?
  • Whether the timeline is negotiable.

Based on: Anderson, Organizational Development, Fifth Edition. © SAGE Publications, 2020.

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