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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #48: September, 2007

how a buyer can best support your project

The next time a buyer who is in a clear leadership position asks how he or she can best support your project and act as an exemplar for subordinates, you can supply these suggestions:

  1. Hold people accountable for their roles in making the project successful. Build it into their evaluations.
  2. Ask people, informally, how the project is progressing on a regular basis.
  3. Personally lead meeting on project progress, problems, and achievements. 
  4. Create an award for "the best idea that didn't work" in order to support the behaviors desired and not just "victories." 
  5. Rigorously exemplify the new behaviors, actions, and or accountabilities. Create zero tolerance for "exceptions" among your staff. 
  6. Actively involve employees in the generation of ongoing supportive ideas through "hot lines," electronic suggestion boxes, and focus groups. Allow them to fine-tune as the project unfolds. 
  7. Prepare for inevitable surprises and setbacks. Demonstrate calm and lead people back to the desired route. 
  8. Share the credit and personally absorb any blame. 
  9. Understand that consultants have responsibilities but no authority. The buck stops with the leader. Some hard decisions are inevitable. 
  10. Create closure. Tell people when installation, implementation, and/or execution are over, and that we're all moving on to the next phase or next challenge.
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