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Nature of the Consulting Relationship

Honesty & Integrity
Throughout the relationship, you must be consistently frank and forthcoming about the challenges that face your organization. Though it may be difficult, you must put aside any embarrassment or fears-and tell us the entire story. We must reflect accurately what we observe and experience, seeking always to meet the project's goals and make the organization stronger. We consider ourselves an "honest broker" when it comes to providing services and offering advice. We believe that you hire us to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.

Over time, your staff and board will probably agree to undertake a number of tasks related to our intervention. Some tasks may be routine, such as attending meetings. Others, such as conducting research or writing reports, might prove demanding and time-consuming. Please do not make these commitments unless you can keep them. Above all else, the consulting relationship is a collaboration. Both parties must remain accountable.

The arrival of a consultant often sparks fear, suspicion, and rumors-particularly if your organization is suffering through a period of acute turmoil or uncertainty. Determine early on how much and what kind of information regarding our work needs to be shared with key staff and board members.

Learning From the Experience
In some instances, we may be able to teach new skills to the staff and board that they will use again in the future. If you can incorporate our best insights and techniques into your future organizational practice, it is likely you will be able to handle problems on your own the next time around. We are not interested in working with you on the same problems or challenges over and over again. That would be a poor use of your resources and of our time. Let's work to institutionalize the change we agree upon; and then identify new challenges to address when we work together again.

Willingness to Change
Our work will usually conclude with a set of recommendations for some variety of organizational change. Whatever its magnitude, only you can finally decide whether the prescription for change is justifiable and appropriate for your organization-and whether you can then summon the energy, flexibility, and courage to take the necessary next steps.

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Choose the Right Consultant
As with most evaluative tasks, your ability to gauge the consultant's skills will be informed by your own degree of organizational self-knowledge.

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