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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #43: April, 2007

SAC Conference, summary

Observations from the first SAC Conference, March 23, New York City. Here are some summary points from our discussions, networking, presentations by Doug Durand and Chad Barr:

  • A consultant has the obligation to blow the whistle on unethical behavior, first to the buyer, then to the CEO, and finally to the government if no internal action is undertaken.
     
  • Passivity is the same as endorsement for unethical behavior.
     
  • The legal system will usually result in attempts to undermine and disparage the whistle-blower rather than pursue the truth.
     
  • You become a party to the unethical conduct if you know of it but merely continue to operate in the client as if all is normal.
     
  • Too many web sites do not provide for immediate credibility in terms of value for the buyer, testimonials, and written materials supporting expertise.
     
  • You have to peruse your own web site regularly, or there will be broken links, poor navigation, outdated examples, and the inadvertent poor constructs that a web master may have created.
     
  • Streaming video and audio are excellent additions to any web site, especially when they include client testimonials.
     
  • Sites such as TED.com can connect you, via podcast, to outstanding thought leaders and innovative ideas. They are free.
     
  • Finding the other person's self-interest is key to changing their behavior.
     
  • Beliefs inform behavior through attitudes, so self-interest is vital to influencing beliefs.
     
  • Two-thirds of the way through a project or assignment, a consultant should be prepared to pursue a dozen or more paths to create repeat and/or referral business, including client vendors, customers, subsidiaries, trade associations, parent, etc.
     
  • Retainers are excellent devices, easiest created with existing clients after successful project work. They should be for a minimum of three months at a minimum of $7,500 to $10,000 per month, paid at the beginning of the period, and renewable prior to the end of the period. Retainers are for access to your "smarts," and not for project work. They compensate the consultant for an advisory, "sounding board" type of role.
 
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