Which, from the perspective of the client, is more important? As with many questions concerning the field of consulting the answer is, “it depends.”
In her regular column in the current – and unfortunately last -- edition of C2M, Fiona Czerniawska ties the question to the
explicit implicit and explicit promises the client receives.
The bottom line here – at least from my reading of the column – is that when an engagement does not go very well or a consultant behaves poorly – or worse, badly -- the client quickly shifts the blame from the individual consultant(s) involved to the consulting firm.
On the other hand, when an engagement goes particularly well, Czerniawska states that her evidence indicates that it is the individual consultant(s) who are credited, not the firm.
This is consistent with the results of our research to date. Clients have repeatedly told us that they consider the single most important determinant of the success of as consulting engagement is the caliber and competence of the individual consultant participating in the engagement.