Updated: Nov 14, 2022
To help your client grow and succeed, your task as a consultant is first to understand what the clients' actual needs are.
You should always be as objective as possible, remember, you are here to help them even if what you have to say might not always be easy to hear.
All consulting begins with conversations with the client, to get yourself familiarized with the business and how the managers and stakeholders view it.
The first step is to understand the current business, what market they are in, who their clients are, how the organization is structured, etc.
The second is to understand what challenges, pains, or bottlenecks the client might already be aware of, and what are their goals – for example, innovating processes, utilizing new technologies, becoming more outsource focused, lowering costs, or entering new markets.
Your most important task is to to be able to judge and understand if what they say they need is really what will help them achieve their goals.
For this, you must understand their NEEDS.
This is not the same as what they WANTS.
A good advisor needs to dig in and understand the actual NEED of the client, which is more of a high-level macro view, and should align with their long-term goals.
For example, the client might say they have a QA problem and needs to hire more people to the team to solve that.
But if you dig in and understand why this is happening, hiring more people will just be a short-term solution that they might WANT, while their actual NEED is to lower the QA fail rate.
Once you understand the actual need, hiring more people will not really solve the problem , and just waste more time and money.
The high failure rate might actually be caused by a faulty QA process and procedures, and the solution might be to improve the processes first. before scaling the team.
Additionally, instead of hiring more internal team members, a better solution might be to outsource to external teams, have the client integrate a new online management system, which in the long term lower overall costs, and could be scaled rapidly and more efficiently.
Remember, your job is to help the client maximize growth and sustain market leadership.
This is possible only by understanding the organizations' real NEEDS and then devising an action plan and execution to make it happen.