Process Consultation--How To Tell If A Client Is Suitable For This Business Consulting Model
The Process-Consultation and Doctor-Patient models are two major distinctions in business consulting methods. A business consultant should definitely consider which model is most suitable for each and every client he or she deals with.
Simply put, Process-Consultation business consulting assumes that the client is specialized in the particular industry issue being addressed while the consultant offers more general business advice applicable to any industry.
The Process-Consultation model tends to be appropriate fairly often because a client is usually more knowledgeable about his or her industry than the consultant. However, a client still needs to meet certain criteria before being able to take full advantage of Process-Consultation consulting.
The following are a few of these criteria:
The client independently recognizes the potential for improvement.
Clients who independently recognize that there is something amiss at their company that needs to be improved generally have the most potential for success.
The Process-Consultation model is ideal for clients who may not be experts on business strategizing but at least can recognize when a business is experiencing inefficiencies or setbacks.
The client shows a willingness to contribute solution suggestions.
Clients are more likely to accept and implement consultant suggestions when they are engaged in the discussion regarding potential solutions.
The client understands the need to find a unique answer to the problem at hand.
The best business solutions are original. Success in business is about uncovering the possibilities that your competitors aren't picking up on, so problems are typically best solved with unique solutions that aren't simply copied from others.
The client is willing to allow the consultant on-site observation.
Most problems depend upon complete transparency between the consultant and the client for successful resolution. Convincing a client that on-site observation is necessary is sometimes difficult, but it always helps consultants to gain valuable insights into the company's operations.
The client is open to feedback.
Improvement is difficult to achieve for those who aren't open to criticism. Consultants need to be able to criticize clients openly without fear of offending or hurting feelings.
The client communicates well.
Communication is a vitally important factor in both business and personal relationships. If a client doesn't communicate well and doesn't understand the importance of communication, providing consultation will be difficult.
For a business that's receiving consultation given via the Process-Consultation model, being a good communicator means accepting the fact that the consultant is an authority on business strategy. While the business owner may be the authority on his or her unique industry, the business owner needs to acknowledge the distinction between industry knowledge and general business acumen, and be ready for a different approach to business consulting.