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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #42: March, 2007

advance this profession as an individual

How do you advance this profession as an individual member of it?

  1. Never overlook ethical lapses. If your client or a colleague is engaged in inappropriate behavior, call them on it. Report colleagues to trade associations if they are members, such as SAC, IMC, SHRM, etc.
  2. Protect everyone's intellectual property. Let others know if people are using proprietary assets which are not in the public domain. When someone informed me a woman had used my material in her handouts without permission, further investigation showed that she had copied several of my web site pages and used them as her own.
  3. Focus on improving our image with prospects and clients. Branding is essential if we are to demonstrate that investments in top consultants create strong ROI. Our individual and collective materials and collateral should reflect that.
  4. Engage in self-development. This is like oxygen for a solo practitioner. There aren't all that many options available. Find developmental activities that create life-long learning and improvement.
  5. Think from the outside-in. That is, don't focus so much on methodology improvements (there is little new under the sun), but rather on more dramatic results for clients by utilizing methodology in ways that suit the environment, technology, economy, and society.
  6. Don't act like a vendor, act like a partner. Do not bill by the hour, compromise on fees, agree to approaches you know are inferior, or behave like a subordinate.
  7. Avoid faddism. Leave the buzzwords, hokey approaches, and academic approach du jour to the training and human resource departments. No organization has ever improved progress toward strategic goals through "right brain/left brain thinking" or "stewardship."
  8. Eschew the invalid. Most test instruments are not valid, are supported only by propaganda, and are intended merely as additional revenue streams for consultants. They cheat your client and hurt your repute. You don't need them. If you need what they promise, then find validated instruments and people licensed to administer them.
  9. Remember that character trumps celebrity. Appearing on Oprah is great visibility, but all it usually does is sell a few more books. Buyers more often say, "Get me that consultant who did such a great job for us a year ago…."
  10. Engage in it. I continue to make free appearances at consulting chapter meetings all over the country. I want to contribute what I can but also learn what I can, and be in the midst of the profession. Just because you're solo doesn't mean you have to be a hermit.
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