Managing the Consultant:
Careful Not to Doom the Project
|By David M. Brudney, ISHC, September 2006
So there I was, hands gripping the armrests, anxiously awaiting that certain pain and near panic associated with one of my favorite pastimes: experiencing root canal.
Enter a very youthful-looking Newport Beach, CA Endodontist, John R. Buoncristiani. He sat on the stool next to me, flashed a great smile and shook my hand. I told him I had socks older than he.
Undeterred, Dr. B. proceeded to put my gums to sleep, place a rubber pad over my mouth with a small hole allowing the tooth in question to be exposed, fitted me with sun glasses to soften the very bright lights overhead and then placed a huge microscope peering down on my tooth and began his delicate procedure.
Typically, this is the moment that I pray for some out-of-body experience in order to extricate me from my situation, but this time I was able to simply put myself in Dr. B.’s hands and just try and “let go.”
The confidence Dr. B. had earned with me
Very important to point out here - - and a valuable lesson for all of us who make our livings advising clients - - is that the main reason for why I took that “leap of faith”, for why I stopped trying to manage the process and put myself in the hands of Dr. B., was the confidence he had earned with me.
What builds confidence in using any professional?
First, I (the patient/client) had done my homework. Dr. B. was highly recommended by my dentist of 28 years. His overall professionalism, presentation, voice and his genuine concern for my comfort was the best I’ve ever encountered. And his able assistant, Dianna Pedroza, was the perfect “first step” and complement to Dr. B. Dianna took me into the “horror chamber” and proceeded to explain carefully the entire procedure to follow, encouraging questions throughout, and then explained the professional fees and payment schedule in a manner that would be the envy of all my consulting colleagues.
One of the hazards of consulting is that you find yourself all too often trying to manage any project you see, whether the project has anything to do whatsoever with hotels. Here I found myself in the dentist’s chair, asking far too many questions, over analyzing, projecting, doing everything except simply trying to be a good patient.
And so it worked. As difficult a task as it was, I took that leap of faith and put myself in the good hands of Dr. B.
Reminded me of clients over-managing consultants
The whole experience reminded me of how difficult and unnecessary it is for consultants to get clients to avoid “over- managing” the consultant after the consultant has been hired to complete an important consulting assignment.
Far too many consulting engagements today fail to meet client expectations because the client did not allow the consultant the necessary freedom to do his/her job successfully.
I’m not saying clients should have no “control” over the consultant during the engagement. Clients should always have control, but here are a few helpful guidelines:
What Clients should avoid
The consultant candidate may very well make the same positive impression as the good Dr. B. and give the client the necessary confidence to retain, but if the client is not comfortable during or after the initial face-to-face consultant interview, if that consultant was not able to earn the client’s confidence by the time a letter of agreement is executed, then the client should not hire that consultant. Simple as that. Keep looking. The best ones are out there.
Find the one that’s right for you, be very clear on client expectations and all deliverables and be very sure to honor all terms, conditions and payment due dates. Stay abreast of project progress via regularly scheduled client/consultant downloading sessions. Don’t over-manage, don’t second-guess, retain that early confidence the consultant already earned and allow the consultant to do his/her thing. And be sure and keep an open mind every step of the way.
Oh, that dreaded root canal? Thank you, Dr. B., your work was
so good it was “almost” a pleasure.
What’s next? Sales Lesson #2 Self-assessment. Don’t leave home without it. It’s a follow up to the August article, “You Cannot Microwave Experience: New Generation of Sales Professionals Lesson #1” and will appear in October.
© copyright 2006
|Also See||You Cannot Microwave Experience: New Generation of Hotel Sales Professionals - Lesson 1 / David Brudney / August 2006|
|New Breed of Hotel Sales Associates Lacking Curiosity? Maybe it’s Not a Generational Thing / David Brudney ISHC / July 2006|
|Generation X Hotel Sales Associates: All Important Curiosity Factor Missing? / David Brudney / June 2006|
|Physical Therapy Sessions: A Good Reminder for Professional Selling Fundamentals / David M. Brudney / April 2006|
|Hotel Marketing Starts Locally; Never Forget Your Neighbors / David M. Brudney / March 2006|
|Notes from the ALIS Conference / David Brudney / February 2006|
|General Managers Workshop: Managing Today's Hotel Sales Teams / July 2005|
|Owners & Asset Managers: Need Expert Advice, Referral? Ask A Trusted Consultant / David M. Brudney, ISHC / May 2005|
|Larry May: The Passing Of Another Hotel Soldier / David Brudney ISHC / April 2005|
|Hotel Owners: Better, Worse or About the Same? / David Brudney ISHC / December 2004|
|Let’s Put Bush and Kerry Through the RFP Process / October 2004|
|Bev Kordsmeier, Hyatt Sales’ First Lady / April 2004|
|Message to Hotel Sales Associates: “It’s Not You!”/ January 2004|
|What Innkeepers Want Every Christmas? Fill Those Empty Rooms / December 2003|
|Uncertain Times Call for Return to Backyard Basics / April 2003|
|Time to “Group Up”? Maybe, Maybe Not / May 2002|
|America’s Front Desk Fights Back! / January 2002|
|Front Desk Fails To Catch America’s Hospitality Spirit / David Brudney ISHC / November 2001|
|A Very Good Time For That Sales Audit / David Brudney ISHC / Sept 2001|
|More Theater, Less Zombies / David Brudney ISHC / Dec 2000|
|It’s The Experience, Stupid! / David Brudney ISHC / Nov 2000|
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