Consultants! Always borrowing your watch to tell you the time!’ Clients! Always making ridiculous demands and wanting everything yesterday!’
The WiM London Managing Effective Consultancy Relationships event took place on 11 October 2012 at the BCS in Covent Garden. The event was jointly hosted by WiM, the Institute of Consultancy and BCS. Our speaker for the evening was Phoebe Dunn, Director, Square Peg International and Institute of Consulting’s ‘Consultant of the Year’ 2011.
Linky Trott, Partner at Edwin Coe LLP began the evening with a talk about the legal aspects of consultancy relationships. She discussed the difference between an employee, a worker and someone who is self-employed. Given that most people assume that Consultants are self-employed individuals there are circumstances in which they can also be workers and she highlighted when that might arise.
Phoebe Dunn then discussed the cliché of the fraught client-consultant relationship being seen as common-place: both sides set on exploiting the other amid barely concealed resentments. Whilst the reality is rarely as bad as the cliché stereotypes can still influence behaviour on both sides.
She explored some of the nuances in client-consultant relationships that make them so much more complex – and potentially valuable - than the cliché. From due diligence and contracting to managing an assignment and establishing long-term partnerships, she discussed all stages of the consulting-relationship life-cycle and some of the assumptions that underpin them.
The consultant relationship is a two-way thing: both the client and the consultant have a responsibility to make it as effective as possible.
Phoebe then led an interactive session referring to case studies and participants’ own experiences to identify practical ways for both sides to make the most of the relationship. There was discussion on best practice ideas, hints and tips for making the most of the client-consultant relationship.
Following the closing comments delegates and WiM London team members enjoyed the opportunity to network and establish new contacts.