Consultant´s responsibility

publication date 09.11.2008

Responsibility of advisor must be strong

It might seem the consultant bears responsibility for nothing, just talking to the client. What a beautiful business it would be  -  costs next to nothing, just a lap-top computer, a phone, the Internet and a car. The responsibility in the consulting business is, in fact, defined as a very thin line between what the client has not disclosed or has concealed and what the consultant has omitted. 

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It might seem the consultant bears responsibility for nothing, just talking to the client. What a beautiful business it would be  -  costs next to nothing, just a lap-top computer, a phone, the Internet and a car. The responsibility in the consulting business is, in fact, defined as a very thin line between what the client has not disclosed or has concealed, and what the consultant has omitted. It clearly follows, from this sentence alone, that a relation between the client and the consultant is like any other. It requires strong trust, otherwise the consultant might not get to the core of the problem immediately, but later, which can induce losses to the client or put off resolving of their problems.

Even though trust and responsibility are mere words, they should be supported by proofs on both sides. It has become quite common to supply the following:

  • the minutes of every negotiation
  • list/completion certificate of the materials provided
  • secrecy clause
  • written proposals from the client´s side and approval signature 
  • establishment of the communication level
  • access to databases and information systems
  • assessment report

Word of argument

A system of communication between the consultant and the client in which you cannot effect corrections retroactively is unusual on the market as well. Both parties, thus, being fully aware of consequences, input information into the system, and history of their cooperation is preserved as it happens. Such a system is available, for instance, on the OwnWay.cz. It is evident form the specification that trust and responsibility have practical implications in consultancy. Obviously, there are situations (the company´s consolidation, a job with a degree of confidentiality, personnel changes, etc.) in which it can happen that no minutes are taken, at least until a certain stage of realization. However, no unknown and unscreened consultant, one without any contract on top of that, may be admitted here. Doing that might equal gambling with the company. 

Everything in writing

A prudent consultant will support all their proposals with written documents. Any consultant who is not interested in this disclaims partly their responsibility for what they say. Anyone well practised in communication knows how easy it is to put a spin on a statement and alter its true meaning. However, discussing what you once have in black and white makes no sense at all. There must be a real practical effort behind every proposal submitted by the consultant. The consultant actually changes the way people approach particular situations, decisions; it is a long-distance run. It is sometimes impossible to put your finger on an immediate result, which is one reason more for keeping proper proofs of cooperation and the consultant´s proposals. 

Jiří Střelec

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„If nobody knows the quality of your work, not acually doing the work will be just as good.“ more >>

Jiří Střelec Jiří Střelec

Doing quality work for the customer should come as a matter of course. However, even quality work must be properly presented. If the customer is not informed about the quality or, better still, confident of it, then we did not do quality work.