How much actual value does your consulting provider place on the values they publicly espouse on their web site and in their promotional literature? Are those value statements there as window dressing or do you feel they really believe in them – to the point that they actually live and breath them?
During the course of interviews for my upcoming book and in many conversations with clients (not always mutually exclusive activities) I’m constantly reminded how much weight actual clients give to the values demonstrated by the consultants with which they work. Those conversations get really interesting when the clients have perceived the values demonstrated by individual consultants were not at all in sync with the values espoused by the particular consulting firm that has supplied the consultant. Generally, clients don’t like this disparity – especially if the project or engagement has not gone as well as the client originally expected.
David Maister, a highly regarded consultant to professional services firms, has just posted a free audio seminar on his blog, Passion, People and Principles that addresses this same issue. It’s directed to professional services firms. It’s well worth a listen, even if you’re just a client of consulting or professional services firms.
Maybe discussing values is something you want to add to your standard list of items to be discussed with perspective consultants. The results of that discussion could help you answer the most important question you have to answer as a purchaser of consulting or professional services, “Just what kind of people do I want to be dealing with?”