When Consulting Engagements are Likely to Succeed or Fail

Consulting engagement is a necessary first step towards successful consultancy because it establishes first contact and relationship between the consultant and the client. How the consultant and the client will relate going forward will largely depend on the ability of the two parties to engage in a clear and honest manner.

However, engagements may sometimes fail for one reason or another. Here is a list of circumstances under which a consulting engagement exercise may fail, leading to poor quality of consulting services.

Engagements are more likely to fail when there is:

  • Lack of client involvement.
  • Unclear or unrealistic outcomes desired.
  • Defining a project by the consultant’s skill or offering rather than the organization’s objectives.
  • Lack of consultant–client partnership.
  • Lack of motivation.
  • Lack of time.
  • Unwillingness to tackle the tough “real” issues.

Consulting firms or individuals may overcome these consulting pitfalls by taking appropriate steps to prepare for consulting engagement. It is necessary to develop a good consulting engagement strategy to ensure that consulting meetings are successful. So how do you determine whether the consulting exercise was successful?

Engagements are more likely to succeed when:

  • Everyone involved has agreed on the purpose and objectives for the project.
  • The organization is ready for change.
  • Consultant and client explore and agree on mutual needs.
  • We deal with the real problem.

If the consulting engagement was a failure, the contract needs to be adjusted or terminated. If it was a success, a working relationship is established and the project goes on to the implementation stage for the benefit of both parties.

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